11/11/11: The 11 Greatest Athletes to Wear No. 11

Jeffrey SchmidtCorrespondent IIINovember 11, 2011

11/11/11: The 11 Greatest Athletes to Wear No. 11

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    Today marks the date 11/11/11. The 11th day of the 11th month of the 11th year is a once-per-century numerical occurrence, meaning that it is quite significant. It is only right that we mark this historic date with a ranking of the 11 greatest athletes to ever wear the No. 11. 

    The number has been graced by top players from each of the four major sports, including a number of Hall of Famers. 

    Here’s a look at the greatest athletes to ever wear the No. 11.

11. Phil Simms

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    Simms had his No. 11 retired by the Giants following his 14-year career in New York. 

    Simms is the Giants' all-time leading passer with over 33,000 yards, and also led the team to two Super Bowl victories (XXI, XXV). 

10. Larry Fitzgerald

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    Larry Fitzgerald is a five-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time All-Pro selection.

    The receiver has contributed four consecutive 1,000 yard seasons for the Cardinals and he ranks fourth all-time in league history in receiving yards per game for a career (76.0 yds/game). 

9. Luis Aparicio

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    Aparicio's MLB career spanned three decades, from 1956 through 1973.

    He was a 13-time All-Star, and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984. He was a World Series champion in 1966 and was a nine-time Gold Glove winner throughout his career. 

8. Paul Waner

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    Waner was a four-time All-Star selection who had his No. 11 retired by the Pittsburgh Pirates. 

    He accumulated over 3,000 hits during 20-year MLB career, and was selected to the Hall of Fame in 1952.  

7. Vernon “Lefty” Gomez

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    Gomez was a seven-time All-Star and a five-time World Series Champion with the New York Yankees.

    He was 20-game winner four times, led the league twice each in wins, winning percentage and ERA. 

    He was selected to the Hall of Fame in 1972 by the Veterans Committee. 

6. Sparky Anderson

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    Anderson was the first manager to win World Series in both leagues.

    He managed three teams to World Series championships and was elected to the baseball Hall of Fame in 2000. His No. 11 jersey was retired by the Tigers. The manager amassed 2,194 career wins which is the sixth most for a manager in Major League history.

5. Norm Van Brocklin

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    Van Brocklin was nicknamed "The Dutchman," and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971.

    Van Brocklin was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection and was a two-time NFL Champion (1951,1960). 

4. Bob McAdoo

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    McAdoo was a two-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers. He also won the leagues MVP award in 1975. 

    He was a five-time All-Star, as well as being a three-time scoring champ form 1974-1976. 

3. Isiah Thomas

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    Thomas was a two-time NBA champion and 11-time All-Star with the Detroit Pistons.

    He was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, after the NBA's 50th anniversary. 

    His No. 11 was retired by the Detroit Pistons. 

2. Elvin Hayes

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    Hayes is a member of the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team, and is also an inductee of the Basketball Hall of Fame.

    Hayes was a 12-time NBA All-Star for the Washington Bullets, and led them to their only NBA championship in 1978. Hayes was an iron man, as he never missed more than two games in any of his 16 seasons in the NBA.

1. Mark Messier

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    Messier had an historic 25-year NHL career. He was a six-time Stanley Cup champion (five with the Edmonton Oilers, one with the New York Rangers), and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007. 

    Messier is second on the all-time career lists for regular season points (1887), playoff points (295) and regular season games played (1756).