“What number do you want?” A youth coach will ask on the first day of the season. It’s common for players to respond with the number of their favorite player. That got us thinking:bwhat is Boston’s most iconic jersey number in professional sports?
Sometimes uniform numbers are assigned at random. Other times, a star player can demand “their number.” Boston is such a rich market in terms of sports legacy. And some numbers are closely associated with iconic players. In baseball for example, Ted Williams was a pioneer of the game. Even former NFL quarterback Drew Brees, who grew up in Texas before playing for the Chargers and Saints, referenced Ted Williams when asked why he wore #9.
Inside The Numbers
Boston has a plethora of Hall of Fame players in all sports. There’s certainly a great list of numbers to pick from in terms of those worthy of being labeled legendary. In compiling a list of just six selections, we specifically looked for numbers that were made historic in multiple professional sports. They were typically shared by great players. These athletes not only left a mark within their own franchise, but also across the sport in general. Each of these numbers is also directly tied to championships. The players who wore them often were part of teams that won it all.
Many of these numbers are now retired within their respective sports. Though new generations of professionals may not be able to select them, athletes across the world will continue to wear them proudly within their programs. These retired numbers are not shelved, as they can carry a deeper meaning here for those who aspire to be like the pros who made them famous.
Before we proceed with the list of Boston’s most iconic jersey number, we must give a nod to Bill Russell’s (and Johnny Pesky) #6. Carl Yastrzemski and Cam Neely’s #8, and Ray Bourque’s infamous #77.