MLB history: A look at the number 42 and the players who have worn it

The number 42 and the MLB players who wore this immortal number

Jackie Robinson At Bat
Jackie Robinson At Bat / Robert Riger/GettyImages

The number 42 was used by quite a few MLB players, most notably Jackie Robinson. Because of him and his accomplishments, it’s now retired throughout baseball.

But before I get into the other players who wore 42, I found a pretty interesting stat regarding Robinson I wanted to share: Did you know almost 10% of all his stolen bases were a steal of home? That's 19 of 197 steals. I find that pretty crazy!

OK … on with the article on the history of number 42 among MLB players

Many players who wore 42 in their career you have heard of. Mariano Rivera was the last to wear it. The best closer who ever lived retired in 2013. The earliest was a tie: Larry French and Ed Cihocki both wore it in 1932. Dave Henderson, the hero for the Red Sox in the 1986 ALCS, wore it for 14 years in the 1980s and 1990s. Rick Mahler, who pitched for the Braves, Reds and Expos, wore 42 for 12 seasons. Former Red Sox first baseman Mo Vaughn wore it for 12 seasons too. Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter did as well, until he became Mahler’s teammate in Atlanta and switched to 40. He got 42 back after Mahler was traded in 1988. Even Harvey Haddix wore it, the man who had the claim to fame of an amazing 12-inning perfect game that he lost in the 13th, for five seasons.

Are there any notable players who wore 42 for a short amount of time?

Here are a few you may not know wore 42, and two of them jump right at you. The first one: Mike Mussina. He wore 35 for all of his career except for his rookie year. Another one that was hard to believe for me: Alan Trammell. I cannot imagine Trammell wearing a number other than 3, but he did in 1977. Another surprise is former Mariners SS Omar Vizquel. One of the fastest guys I’ve ever seen put on a uniform wore it one year too … Ron LeFlore. Tony La Russa wore it for two years. A pair of pitchers who won ERA titles wore it for two years as well: John Denny (he won it in 1976) and Jason Schmidt (his title was in 2003). Pedro Martinez wore it for three years ... no, not that Pedro Martinez! This Martinez only started one game in his career.

Number 42 has a rich history both before and after the great Jackie Robinson, and a little trip down memory lane thanks shows that history.

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