The Top Current MLB Player Wearing Each Number from 1 to 50

Doug MeadCorrespondent IFebruary 4, 2013

The Top Current MLB Player Wearing Each Number from 1 to 50

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    MLB players often have favorite numbers they like to wear when they begin play in the big leagues. Oftentimes, it's just a number assigned to them by their team that they become associated with.

    Whatever the case, almost every famous player from the day jersey numbers became fashionable is recognized by his number.

    Throughout sports, we value and treasure our favorite stars, and their names are often synonymous with their numbers. No. 4, Bobby Orr—that certainly helped because it rhymed—is still today revered throughout Boston and the NHL.

    Here is a current list of the best MLB players that adorn jersey numbers 1 through 50.

No. 1: Corey Hart

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    The Milwaukee Brewers gave jersey No. 1 to Corey Hart the day he first stepped onto the field back in May 2004. It's fair to say he's done an excellent job of representing that number.

    Hart underwent knee surgery two weeks ago and is hoping to be back on the field by the end of April.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 1

    Brian Roberts: Could have topped this list had injuries not taken away the vast majority of the past three seasons.

    Jarrod Dyson: Way too early to tell if Dyson can bring honor to the number for the Kansas City Royals.

No. 2: Derek Jeter

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    This was hands down one of the easiest picks on this board.

    Derek Jeter will eventually have his jersey number retired by the Yankees, joining the ranks of Billy Martin (No. 1), Babe Ruth (No. 3), Lou Gehrig (No. 4), Joe DiMaggio (No. 5) and Mickey Mantle (No. 7.).

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 2

    Troy Tulowitzki: Tulo will eventually replace Jeter on this list. But as long as the Captain is still banging, Tulowitzki will have to wait.

No. 3: Evan Longoria

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    The Tampa Bay Rays suffered through 10 consecutive losing seasons before the arrival of third baseman Evan Longoria.

    Since his debut in 2008, the Rays haven't experienced losing baseball since.

    The importance of Longoria in the everyday lineup was more than evident last year—the Rays were 43-45 with Longoria injured and 20 games above .500 when he played.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 3

    Michael Cuddyer: Hard to imagine Cuddyer overtaking Longoria anytime soon, as he's only worn the jersey number for one season in Colorado.

No. 4: Yadier Molina

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    St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina is the second-longest tenure player on the team, trailing just behind starting pitcher Chris Carpenter.

    When all is said and done, he will likely go down as one of the greatest catchers in franchise history as well.

    Molina just captured his fifth consecutive Gold Glove Award and set career highs in home runs and RBI. He continues to set the standard among catchers for defensive excellence and has become an unquestioned leader for the Cardinals.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 4

    Brandon Phillips: Phillips has worn his jersey with pride and excellence for the Cincinnati Reds since his trade from the Cleveland Indians in 2006.

    Alex Gordon: Gordon, too, is making a name for himself with his No. 4 for the Kansas City Royals.

No. 5: Albert Pujols

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    First baseman Albert Pujols faltered a bit offensively last year in his first season with the Los Angeles Angels. But by the time his career is over, his No. 5 jersey could well be retired by two teams.

    Pujols helped deliver two World Series championships during his 11 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals. He'll attempt to do at least the same with the Angels. If he reaches that goal and continues producing, his No. 5 will never be worn again by another Angel or Cardinal.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 5

    David Wright: With Wright's new eight-year contract, he could well see his career end with the team that awarded him jersey No. 5 back in 2004.

    Freddie Freeman: Freeman is off to a great start in Atlanta, but two years is a small sample size compared to what Pujols has produced thus far.

No. 6: Ryan Howard

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    With a Rookie of the Year Award, an MVP Award and 300 home runs during his nine-year career, Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard has established himself as one of the premier left-handed sluggers in the majors.

    Howard will attempt to carry his Phillies back to the playoffs in 2013 after missing out for the first time in five years.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 6

    Starling Marte: He's only worn the jersey number for just 47 games, so Pittsburgh Pirates hot prospect Starling Marte has a ways to go before be becomes instantly recognizable as No. 6.

No. 7: Joe Mauer

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    The Minnesota Twins gave Joe Mauer jersey No. 7 when he made his debut in April 2004. Since that time, he has established himself as one of the best-hitting catchers in baseball history.

    The holder of three batting titles, three Gold Glove awards and an MVP Award, Mauer's overall body of work thus far is what most players would kill for over an entire career.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 7

    Matt Holliday: Holliday was more closely associated with jersey No. 5 during his time with the Colorado Rockies and Oakland A's. However, he's delivered the goods thus far in three-plus seasons for the Cardinals with his No. 7.

    Chase Headley: Headley broke out in a major way last season, finally showing the promise that led the Padres to select him with their second-round pick in the 2005 draft. Whether or not he remains in San Diego and continues bashing with the No. 7 jersey remains to be seen.

No. 8: Ryan Braun

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    Since his debut in 2007, Ryan Braun has done nothing but shine, winning a Rookie of the Year Award, five consecutive Silver Slugger awards and the 2011 NL MVP Award.

    Braun is signed with the Milwaukee Brewers through the 2020 and could well set many franchise records during that time. He could easily see his No. 8 jersey retired after all is said and done.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 8

    Mike Moustakas: Moustakas is another of the young rising stars in the Kansas City Royals organization. Whether or not he sticks around long enough in KC to wear his jersey number with distinction remains to be seen.

No. 9: J.P. Arencibia

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    For now, jersey No. 9 is not well-represented in the majors.

    Toronto Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia currently stands out as the top performer wearing that particular number. Arencibia has shown considerable power at a position not blessed with great production, but the .222 career average thus far won't help in making him a household name.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 9

    David DeJesus: With the exception of his lone season with the Oakland A's, DeJesus has worn jersey No. 9 throughout his career. He's not likely to see his number retired at this point.

    D.J. LeMahieu: LeMahieu got off to a promising start with the Rockies last season. But at just 24 years of age, it's way to early to tell if he'll honor the jersey number.

No. 10: Michael Young

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    Infielder Michael Young is the Texas Rangers' all-time leader in hits (2,230), runs scored (1,085), doubles (415) and triples (55). He also leads in games played (1,823) and at-bats (7,399).

    Young will be toiling for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2013, but it's a safe bet that no one will ever again wear jersey No. 10 in Texas.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 10

    Adam Jones: Jones has become the face of the franchise for the Baltimore Orioles and could well wear the No. 10 with pride for the proud franchise for years to come.

No. 11: Jimmy Rollins

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    The man they call J-Roll in Philadelphia could very well see his jersey No. 11 retired when his career is over.

    Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins has won an MVP and four Gold Glove awards during his 13 years in Philly, helping the franchise capture its second-ever World Series title in 2008.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 11

    Ryan Zimmerman: Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is arguably the face of the franchise for the Washington Nationals. And he could well end his career there after signing a six-year contract prior to the beginning of last season.

No. 12: Alfonso Soriano

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    Another lower number that is not currently well-represented in the majors, Chicago Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano stands out as the best.

    Soriano has worn No. 12 for four different teams since 2002. While he's slugged 372 home runs during his career, it's unlikely his jersey number will be retired when his playing days are over.

No. 13: Starlin Castro

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    Considering that Alex Rodriguez has declined offensively each year since 2008, we'll give the nod to Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro here.

    Castro is establishing himself as one of the premier shortstops in the majors, and he's now locked in with a seven-year contract that keeps him in Chicago until at least the 2020 season.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 13

    Alex Rodriguez: A-Rod has only worn No. 13 with the Yankees, and with his current issues regarding continued use of PEDs, it's a safe bet that his No. 13 won't be appearing in Monument Park anytime soon.

    Asdrubal Cabrera: Cabrera has worn No. 13 for the Cleveland Indians since his debut in 2007. Whether or not he continues wearing that jersey for the foreseeable future in Cleveland remains to be seen.

No. 14: Paul Konerko

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    Chicago White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko could well end up surpassing Frank Thomas for the most home runs and RBI in franchise history in the not-so-distant future.

    Konerko has represented the No. 14 for the White Sox with honor and distinction for 14 seasons. It's highly likely no one will ever wear that number again on the South Side.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 14

    David Price: Price's Cy Young Award-winning season last year vaulted him to the top of the heap in terms of pitching dominance.

No. 15: Dustin Pedroia

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    A Rookie of the Year Award, MVP Award, three All-Star selections and two Gold Glove awards have vaulted Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia to the top of the No. 15 list.

    Pedroia was originally given No. 64 by the Red Sox in 2006 during spring training. He has since given fans many thrills with his lower jersey number.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 15

    Tim Hudson: Hudson became a 20-game winner the first time he wore jersey No. 15 with the Oakland A's back in 2000. He'll capture win No. 200 at some point this coming season with the Atlanta Braves.

No. 16: Aramis Ramirez

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    Third baseman Aramis Ramirez has worn jersey No. 16 throughout his entire career with three different organizations—the Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers.

    He continues bashing for the Brewers after 15 seasons with no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 16

    Brian McCann: If McCann successfully returns from offseason shoulder surgery, he'll continue to dominate as one of the top-hitting catchers in the majors.

    Andre Ethier: Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier has carved out a nice seven-year career thus far—whether or not he continues wearing No. 16 for the Dodgers remains to be seen.

    Billy Butler: Butler is making his mark with the Kansas City Royals as one of the top designated hitters in all of baseball.

No. 17: Todd Helton

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    There should be no question in anyone's mind that when the career of Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton comes to an end, no one will ever again wear No. 17 in franchise history.

    Helton is the all-time franchise leader in hits (2,420), home runs (354), RBI (1,345), games played (2,123) and at-bats (7,565).

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 17

    Nelson Cruz: Texas Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz made some noise with his name mentioned in the report published by the Miami New Times last week. However, he has also made a name with his No. 17 jersey for the Rangers for the past seven seasons as well.

No. 18: Matt Cain

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    San Francisco Giants pitcher Matt Cain established himself as the ace of the staff last season, compiling a 16-5 record, a 2.79 ERA and the 22nd perfect game in MLB history.

    Cain also secured a five-year, $112.5 million contract that ensures he'll we be wearing No. 18 for the Giants until at least the 2018 season.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 18

    Hiroki Kuroda: While he's only been in MLB for five seasons, New York Yankees pitcher Hiroki Kuroda has represented No. 18 quite well for both the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees.

No. 19: Joey Votto

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    Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto already has an MVP Award to his credit, along with three straight seasons of leading the National League in on-base percentage.

    Votto's new 10-year contract ensures that he'll be wearing No. 19 for the Reds through at least the 2023 season.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 19

    Jose Bautista: Bautista has bashed 124 home runs in his last three seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays. Barring injury, he will make No. 19 memorable in Toronto.

    Marco Scutaro: Scutaro certainly made No. 19 memorable in San Francisco with his postseason heroics.

No. 20: Ian Desmond

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    Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond has burst onto the scene with his stellar play. Wearing jersey No. 20 for the first time last season, he was selected to the National League All-Star team and won his first-ever Silver Slugger Award.

    At just 27 years of age, Desmond is likely just coming into his prime and will likely represent the Nationals many times in future All-Star contests before his career is said and done.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 20

    Jonathan Lucroy: Lucroy certainly showed last season that he could become a force in the Milwaukee Brewers offense, hitting .320 with 12 HR and 58 RBI in just 96 games, along with a career-high .881 OPS.

No. 21: Allen Craig

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    St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Allen Craig stepped up in a major way in 2012, becoming a force in the middle of the lineup.

    Craig will be counted on to continue developing as a hitter and continue producing for a Cardinals offense that ranked second in runs scored in the National League last season

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 21

    Zack Greinke: Greinke will wear No. 21 for the first time in his career for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Whether or not he can continue dominating with his new number remains to be seen.

    Todd Frazier: Frazier will likely assume the third base position full-time this season for the Cincinnati Reds after his versatility led to a third-place finish in Rookie of the Year Award balloting last season.

No. 22: Clayton Kershaw

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    Los Angeles Dodgers southpaw pitcher Clayton Kershaw has already dominated the National League with his pitching exploits at the age of 24. He's also a worthy winner of the Roberto Clemente Award as well.

    Dodgers fans will continue to root for No. 22 as he continues his assault on NL hitters.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 22

    Andrew McCutchen: McCutchen has become a star in his own right in Pittsburgh at the age of 26. After just four seasons, he has already endeared himself to a town that has revered the likes of Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell, both of whom have had their numbers retired.

    Jason Heyward: Heyward is another youngster representing No. 22 in a big way. After just three seasons, he's put himself in the conversation as one of the elite outfielders in the National League.

No. 23: Adrian Gonzalez

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    After a break with the Boston Red Sox, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is back wearing No. 23 again for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    Gonzalez wore the number with distinction during his days with the San Diego Padres. He'll again have the chance to have fans associate him with that number in a positive fashion.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 23

    Rickie Weeks: Weeks suffered through a down year after a successful 2011 campaign in which he became an All-Star for the first time. Weeks will be expected to return to form for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2013, the team he has worn No. 23 for nine seasons.

    David Freese: Freese will always be fondly remembered in St. Louis for his heroics in the 2011 World Series that led to a championship and an MVP Award. He'll work to continue reminding fans just exactly who wears No. 23 for the Cardinals.

No. 24: Miguel Cabrera

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    After the magical season that produced a Triple Crown and an MVP Award last season, Detroit Tigers fans aren't likely to forget who wears jersey No. 24.

    Miguel Cabrera switched to No. 24 after helping the Florida Marlins win a World Series title in 2003. No one in baseball who wears the same number has come anywhere close to matching his production since.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 24

    Robinson Cano: Cano definitely comes a close second to Cabrera. If Cano stays with the Yankees and continues producing the way he has in his first eight seasons, he could find his jersey number retired alongside other great Yankees superstars.

No. 25: Mark Teixeira

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    Jersey No. 25 is the third number worn by New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira during his career. He's represented the number fairly well during his time with Bronx Bombers.

    Teixeira isn't likely to see his number retired by the Yankees alongside legendary first baseman Lou Gehrig, but he'll try to continue doing as much damage as he can nonetheless.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 25

    Adam LaRoche: LaRoche first wore No. 25 as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Arizona Diamondbacks before proudly sporting it for the Washington Nationals.

No. 26: Chase Utley

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    Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley will continue wearing No. 26 for as long as his balky knees continue to hold out. His career could well end with a retirement of that jersey as well.

    Utley has represented No. 26 quite well for the Phillies, earning five All-Star selections and four Silver Slugger awards. If his knees allow, he'll retire as one of the better hitting second basemen in National League history.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 26

    Dan Uggla: With former manager Bobby Cox having jersey No. 6 retired in Atlanta, Uggla switched to No. 26 when he arrived in 2011. After two seasons, Uggla isn't likely to have that number retired anytime soon.

    Miguel Montero: If Montero can continue with the Arizona Diamondbacks and continue developing as a hitter, fans will fondly remember his jersey No. 26.

No. 27: Matt Kemp

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    For now, Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp is the best player in MLB wearing jersey No. 27.

    But only for now.

    Kemp will be coming back from an injury-filled 2012 campaign to continue his assault on National League pitchers this coming season.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 27

    Mike Trout: Trout is the reason Kemp is the title-holder just for now. Considering the start to his major league career, Trout could well become the best player to adorn No. 27 in short time.

    Giancarlo Stanton: Stanton is another youngster on the horizon who could well become one of the best players ever to wear No. 27 as well.

No. 28: Buster Posey

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    After three seasons, in which he's captured two World Series titles, a Rookie of the Year Award, a batting title and an MVP Award, there should be no question as to who the best player is currently wearing jersey No. 28.

    Buster Posey is already a household name in San Francisco—and most fans already associate his No. 28 with greatness.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 28

    Prince Fielder: Fielder runs a close second to Posey, already with four All-Star selections and three Silver Slugger awards to his credit.

    Jason Werth: Werth gets the award for the most bloated contract of anyone wearing No. 28.

No. 29: Adrian Beltre

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    Third baseman Adrian Beltre has worn jersey No. 29 for 14 of his 15 seasons in Major League Baseball. He has fast become one of the biggest bats at the hot corner as well as a defensive wizard.

    Beltre has been outstanding during his two seasons with the Texas Rangers, placing third in MVP Award balloting last season, along with winning his fourth Gold Glove Award.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 29

    Chris Carpenter: Carpenter will be fully healthy when returns for his 10th season with the St. Louis Cardinals. During his career in St. Louis, he has been instrumental in the team's two World Series titles and will continue to try and help his team win even more before he's finished.

    Ike Davis: Davis bashed 32 homers last year for the New York Mets, and he will work on helping to revive a franchise that's seen way too many lean years of late.

No. 30: Jason Motte

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    Jason Motte took the reins as closer for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011. Judging from his performance, he's not about to give up those reins anytime.

    After helping to stabilize a shaky bullpen in 2011 to help lead the Cardinals to a World Series title, Motte led the National League with 42 saves last year, posting a 2.75 ERA in 67 appearances.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 30

    David Robertson: Robertson will again be the primary setup man for the New York Yankees in 2013—a role in which he's excelled at for the past two seasons.

    Alejandro de Aza: De Aza will once again serve as the center fielder and leadoff hitter for the Chicago White Sox in 2013 after hitting .281 with nine homers and 50 RBI last season.

No. 31: Jon Lester

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    After a very disappointing 2012 season, Boston Red Sox southpaw pitcher Jon Lester will once again look to assert himself as one of the American League's dominant left-handed pitchers.

    Lester still sports a career .639 winning percentage, even with his 9-14 record last season.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 31

    Ian Kennedy: Kennedy will be in Arizona for his fourth season after winning 36 games the previous two years.

    Lance Lynn: After a stellar performance as a reliever in the 2011 postseason while wearing No. 62 for the St. Louis Cardinals, Lynn shined with his new role and new number for St. Louis last season.

No. 32: Josh Hamilton

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    Josh Hamilton will again wear jersey No. 32 in Anaheim after signing his five-year, $125 contract with the Los Angeles Angels.

    Hamilton terrorized opposing pitchers wearing that number for five seasons with the Texas Rangers, leading the team to two pennants while capturing a batting title and an MVP Award along the way.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 32

    Matt Wieters: Wieters switched to No. 32 after wearing No. 15 in his first season with the Baltimore Orioles. He'll work on getting fans to remember that number fondly.

    Jay Bruce: Bruce is working hard on number recognition as well with the Cincinnati Reds, collecting two All-Star appearances and a Silver Slugger Award during his brief five-year career.

    Ryan Vogelsong: After not winning a game in the majors for seven seasons, Vogelsong is earning big props with his No. 32 in San Francisco after 27 wins in the past two seasons.

No. 33: Cliff Lee

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    In looking at the peripheral numbers for Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee last season, it's easy to assume he may have had a down year.

    But aside from the win-loss record, Lee again delivered, posting a league-best BB/9 rate and SO/BB rate, along with a 3.16 ERA and 1.114 WHIP. 

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 33

    Nick Swisher: Swisher will again wear No. 33 with the Cleveland Indians after wearing the number for the vast majority of his career with the Oakland A's and New York Yankees.

    Justin Morneau: After two injury-filled campaigns, Morneau returned to hit 19 HR with 77 RBI last season. He captured the American League MVP Award in his first season wearing No. 33 for the Minnesota Twins in 2006.

No. 34: David Ortiz

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    By the time his career is over, it's entirely possible that Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz could see his No. 34 jersey retired.

    Ortiz has easily become one of the most revered players in franchise history, helping the team win two World Series titles during his 10-year stay.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 34

    Felix Hernandez: Hernandez has done a good job of making jersey No. 34 memorable in his own right, with a Cy Young Award and a perfect game to his credit.

    Roy Halladay: Halladay first made No. 32 memorable during his stay with the Toronto Blue Jays. He's now working on doing the same with No. 34 in Philly.

    Bryce Harper: Already with a Rookie of the Year Award to his credit, Bryce Harper is working to assure that fans always remember No. 34 in the nation's capital.

No. 35: Justin Verlander

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    With a Rookie of the Year Award, a Cy Young Award and an MVP Award to his credit, Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander is working hard to ensure that No. 35 will never be forgotten in Motown.

    If he helps to deliver a World Series title, Verlander will likely have no further trouble making fans remember his number for many years.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 35

    Cole Hamels: Nos. 33, 34 and 35 are certainly well-known in Philadelphia thanks to the tremendous pitching trio of Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay and Hamels.

No. 36: Jered Weaver

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    Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Jered Weaver collected his 100th major-league victory last season on the way to his first-ever 20-win campaign.

    With three consecutive top-five finishes in Cy Young Award balloting, Weaver is representing jersey No. 36 in fine fashion.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 36

    Mike Minor: After a very slow start, Atlanta Braves pitcher Mike Minor rebounded nicely last season, closing with a 6-4 record and 2.16 ERA in his final 14 starts.

No. 37: Stephen Strasburg

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    Much-heralded young flamethrower Stephen Strasburg has already garnered considerable name and jersey-number recognition during his brief career.

    Strasburg will be given free reign to throw this coming season after a team-imposed innings limit cut short his 2012 season.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 37

    Max Scherzer: Scherzer vaulted to No. 2 starter status with his outstanding 2012 campaign for the Detroit Tigers.

    Brandon Beachy: Beachy was leading the National League with a 2.00 ERA in 13 starts before blowing out his elbow in a mid-June start.

No. 38: Michael Morse

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    Jersey No. 38 isn't well-represented throughout MLB, either. However, Michael Morse has attempted to wear it with honor over the past two seasons.

    Morse will wear the same number again for the Seattle Mariners this season following his trade from the Washington Nationals.

    He clubbed 49 home runs while hitting .297 wearing No. 38 for the Nationals the past two seasons.

No. 39: Jonny Venters

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    Jonny Venters has made quite a name for himself as the setup specialist for the Atlanta Braves.

    He has compiled a nifty 2.23 ERA in his three seasons with the Braves, combining with closer Craig Kimbrel to become one of the most lethal back-end bullpen duos in the majors.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 39

    Jason Grilli: Grilli takes over as the closer for the Pirates following the departure of Joel Hanrahan. Grilli has posted a 2.76 ERA with an outstanding 12.5 K/9 rate in his two years in Pittsburgh.

No. 40: Madison Bumgarner

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    San Francisco Giants southpaw Madison Bumgarner is fast emerging as one of the premier southpaw starting pitchers in the game of baseball.

    He continues to make strides in his development at the tender age of 23, posting a 16-11 record and 3.37 ERA in 32 starts last season.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 40

    J.J. Putz: Putz just signed a contract extension which keeps him closing games for the Arizona Diamondbacks through at least the 2014 season. Putz has saved 77 games in his two years in the desert.

No. 41: Victor Martinez

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    Detroit Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez will make his return to the field after missing the entire 2012 season with a torn ACL.

    A healthy Martinez will be a big key in the Tigers' quest to return to the World Series.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 41

    Carlos Santana: Santana will look to continue making his mark with the Cleveland Indians entering his fourth season. He saw a drop-off in production last year, and his return to form will be a huge factor for the Tribe as they attempt to catch the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central Division.

    Jeremy Affeldt: Affeldt has shined in his bullpen role for the San Francisco Giants for the past four seasons. He'll get the opportunity to continue sparkling, courtesy of his new three-year, $18 million contract.

No. 42: Mariano Rivera

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    Considering that jersey No. 42 was retired by all of baseball in 1997 in honor of Jackie Robinson, New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera wins this by default.

    However, even if the great Robinson's number hadn't been retired, the Yankees would be doing so for Rivera regardless.

No. 43: R.A. Dickey

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    National League Cy Young Award-winning pitcher R.A. Dickey will be wearing his familiar jersey No. 43 when he suits up for his new team, the Toronto Blue Jays, in 2013.

    Dickey became the first knuckleballer in history to win the prestigious award, and he'll now be called upon the lead the Blue Jays to the postseason for the first time in 20 years.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 43

    Jim Johnson: Johnson saved a major league-leading 51 games for the Baltimore Orioles last season, helping them gain entry into the postseason for the first time in 15 years.

No. 44: Jake Peavy

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    Jake Peavy has worn jersey No. 44 during his entire 11-year career with both the San Diego Padres and Chicago White Sox.

    He will again sport No. 44 after signing a two-year, $29 million contract with the White Sox.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 44

    Anthony Rizzo: Rizzo turned heads last year in Chicago by hitting .285 with 15 HR and 48 RBI following his call-up from Triple-A in late June. He will be counted on heavily to be a big piece of the offense for the Chicago Cubs for years to come.

    Mark Trumbo: After finishing second in Rookie of the Year balloting in the American League in 2011, Trubmo delivered once again last year for the Los Angeles Angels, belting 32 HR with 95 RBI.

    Paul Goldschmidt: The Arizona Diamondbacks are hoping that Goldschmidt is their first baseman of the future after hitting .286 with 20 HR and 82 RBI last season.

No. 45: Derek Holland

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    Another number not well-represented in MLB, No. 45 has been worn by Texas Rangers pitcher Derek Holland since his debut in 2009.

    Holland will work to build on his 2012 season, in which he posted a 12-7 record and 4.67 ERA in 27 starts. 

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 45

    Jhoulys Chacin: Chacin will look to rebound from an injury-plagued 2012 season, in which he posted a 3-5 record and 4.43 ERA in 14 starts. Chacin spent three months on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. Still just 25 years of age, he signed a two-year, $6.5 million contract last week.

No. 46: Craig Kimbrel

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    While Andy Pettitte has worn No. 46 with great skill for a long time, there's no question that the best current holder of that jersey number is Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel.

    Kimbrel awed the baseball world by striking out over 50 percent of the batters he faced last season—the first time in history any pitcher recording more than 40 innings has achieved that feat.

    Kimbrel's numbers over the past two seasons are simply scintillating, and he likely hasn't even reached his prime yet at the age of 24.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 46

    Andy Pettitte: Pettitte will come back for a 15th season in pinstripes next season. The holder of many postseason pitching records, he could well see that number retired when his playing days are over.

No. 47: Gio Gonzalez

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    Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez garnered a lot of press during the past week. Unfortunately for him, it had nothing to do with wearing No. 47.

    Gonzalez was one of several major leagues named in a damning article published by the Miami New Times in which players were tied to PED use.

    Gonzalez finished third in National League Cy Young Award balloting last season after winning a major league-leading 21 games and posting a 2.89 ERA in 32 starts.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 47

    Johnny Cueto: Cueto posted a top-five Cy Young finish of his own after posting a 19-9 record and 2.78 ERA for the Cincinnati Reds. Cueto has already won 60 games in his five-year career at just the age of 26.

No. 48: Torii Hunter

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    After wearing jersey No. 48 for 16 seasons with both the Minnesota Twins and Los Angeles Angels, outfielder Torii Hunter will once again don his familiar number with the Detroit Tigers in 2013.

    Hunter signed a two-year, $26 million contract to help the Tigers get to the World Series. If he's successful, Tigers fans will have no problem remembering No. 48.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 48

    Pablo Sandoval: After winning the World Series MVP Award last year, it's a safe bet that Giants fans won't be forgetting No. 48 anytime soon.

No. 49: Chris Sale

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    After a pretty successful first full season working out of the bullpen for the Chicago White Sox in 2011, Chris Sale made a very impressive transition to the starting rotation last year.

    Sale posted a 17-8 record, a 3.05 ERA and 9.0 K/9 rate in 29 starts, finishing sixth in Cy Young Award balloting.

     

    Other Notable Wearers of Jersey No. 49

    Carlos Marmol: Marmol's time wearing No. 49 with the Chicago Cubs could be limited after the Cubs attempted to deal him to the Los Angeles Angels for pitcher Dan Haren in early November.

No. 50: Adam Wainwright

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    St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright made a successful return last year after missing the entire 2011 season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.

    Wainwright posted a 14-13 record and 3.94 ERA in 32 starts following his return. He was a top-three finisher in Cy Young Award balloting in his previous two seasons as well.

     

     

    Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.