Friday, December 8, 2023

my retired numbers collection - lucky number 7

this is the eighth post in a series that shares the cards i have in my retired number mini-collection. you can find the links to the previous posts down at the bottom of this post. if you're eager to learn more right now, you can check out the full list of retired numbers along with what this collection will entail over at my want list site.

without further ado, here are the four people for whom the number 7 has been retired:

7 mickey mantle (retired by the yankees in 1969) 2008 topps chrome
mickey mantle announced his retirement on march 1, 1969, and thankfully topps kept him in the set that year. they noted his retirement announcement on the back of the card, along with the fact that he retired with baseball's third highest home run total of all time. his other achievements include a triple crown in 1956, three mvp trophies, and seven world series titles. he was a yankee lifer, and the club retired his number a few months after his announcement, on june 8 to be exact, making mantle the last yankee to wear 7. he was inducted into the hall of fame in 1974 on the first ballot as you would expect from an icon such as mantle.

i like the fact that topps started including him in sets once they secured the rights. having number 7 missing from flagship sets was a bit weird. the 2008 topps chrome card i've used for this collection is a great card in my opinion. the angle of the photo suggests that the photographer was in the stands rather than a photographer's well. i may have to track down the refractor version of this card at some point.

7 craig biggio (retired by the astros in 2008) 2002 donruss originals
i really was a fan of this set when it was issued, perhaps in response to topps' heritage release the previous year. donruss, however, skipped 1981 altogether. anway, the 1984 design that they used for this card of craig biggio shows his number 7 pretty clearly and so it was the card that i chose. biggio's number was retired by the franchise on august 17, 2008. biggio had hung up his spikes at the end of the 2007 season with more than 3,000 hits and 400 stolen bases and so was the last astro to wear number 7.

biggio, who only suited up for the astros during his career, was voted in to the hall of fame in 2015, his third year on the ballot. i used to think that 3,000 hits or strikeouts was an automatic stamp, but that has been disproven time and time again. still, i am glad that biggio was enshrined as i followed his career fairly closely once he moved to second base.

7 ivan rodriguez (retired by the rangers in 2017) 1997 topps
the rangers retired number 7 for irod on august 12, 2017 following his induction in the hall of fame. he spent most of his career in texas over two separate tenures, and when he left the club each time, his number was put back in to rotation. as a result, delino deshields (the son of the delino deshields who was traded by the expos to the dodgers for pedro martinez - sigh) was the last ranger to wear number 7 on the field.

rodriguez had his best years in a ranger uniform, winning the 1999 mvp, although his best postseason success came as a tiger and a marlin. he appeared in the world series with both of those franchises, winning a ring in 2003 with florida. i chose the 1997 topps card for this collection because it is hard to find a card showing his number when he is wearing the catching gear.

7 joe mauer (retired by the twins in 2019) 2011 topps chrome
the speculation was rampant that 2018 was going to be mauer's last year, and when he donned the catching gear in the last game of the season, i think it became clear that he was intending to retire. he did formally announce his retirement during the offseason, and so the twins retired his number 7 on june 15, 2019 making him the last twin to wear the number. 

mauer was the first pick in the 2001 draft, and the st. paul native played his entire career for his hometown (well, the city next door, anyway) team. 2023 is his first year on the hall of fame ballot, and my guess is that he doesn't get the votes this year. i expect to see him enshrined in cooperstown within the next five years, however, as his peak was high with three batting titles and an mvp award to his name. 

[edit - mauer was elected to the hall of fame on his first ballot! i will update the stats below accordingly]

i am tracking a few things as we go, even though the information is already available elsewhere.

retired numbers by team (through the five posts so far):

yankees - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
giants - 3, 4
pirates - 1, 4
guardians - 3, 5
red sox - 1, 4, 6
phillies - 1
cardinals - 1, 2, 6
reds - 1, 5
braves - 3, 6
astros - 5, 7
orioles - 4, 5
dodgers - 1, 2, 4
twins - 3, 6, 7
white sox - 2, 3, 4
brewers - 1, 4
tigers - 1, 2, 3, 5, 6
royals - 5
padres - 6
rangers - 7
major league baseball
blue jays

retired number frequency:

1 - retired by 9 teams
2 - retired by 5 teams
3 - retired by 7 teams
4 - retired by 8 teams
5 - retired by 7 teams
6 - retired by 7 teams
7 - retired by 4 teams
unnumbered players - 12 players recognized by 4 teams

running total of unique hall of famers (including those without numbers): 52

running total of non-hall of famers: 7

1 comment:

  1. I knew who the first name would be, but didn't realize that the other three wore #7. Thinking about it now, I'm kind of surprised that there haven't been more.