Saturday, February 5, 2011

Countdown to Opening Day, by the Numbers, #4


We arrive at the number four on our countdown to opening day, by looking back at the best and most memorable players, teams, terms, and happenings in baseball and the #4.

It is impossible to talk about #4 and not mention the original #4, the Yankees Lou Gehrig.

Why Gehrig?

When the Yankees were putting numbers on the players uniforms for the 1st time, they decided to go by the order in the batting lineup.

And because of that decision, the Yankees created the two most famous uniform #s in big league history, #3, Babe Ruth, and #4, Lou Gehrig.

Why did the Yankees win so many games?

#3 and #4 in the lineup, that's why

Lou Gehrig's #4 is the 1st uniform number to ever be retired, by any team, in any sport.

Ball 4 gets you to 1st base with a walk, and is also "Ball Four," the tell all book about life as a New York Yankee.

#4 is the slick fielding Aurelio Rodriguez and the hard charging Bobby Higginson of the Detroit Tigers.

#4 is the home run, the four bagger, and #4 is a Grand Slam HR, the "grand salami."

#4 is The Duke, Duke Snider and his 407 HRS in Brooklyn and L.A.

#4 is the legendary Orioles manager Earl Weaver getting thrown out of 97 big league games.

Four is also the number of pitchers who won 20+ games for Weaver and the O's in 1971, Jim Palmer, Pat Dobson, Mike Cuellar, and Dave McNally.

Four is the "Core Four" of the Yankees, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, and Mariano Rivera, who won five World Series as teammates in the Bronx.

Four is 4 dingers, 4 long balls, 4 HRS in a game, done fifteen times in big league history...and yes, once by #4, Lou Gehrig.

#4 is Joe Cronin of the Red Sox, and the ChiSox Luke Appling, wearing #4 as he homered in an Old Timers game, at age 75.

#4 is Hall of Famer Paul Molitor, and his five hits in Game 1 of the 1982 World Series.

#4 the power of Ralph Kiner of the Pirates, Rusty Staub as a Met, and Charlie, "Paw Paw" Maxwell, who delighted Tigers fans by seemingly always hitting HRS on Sundays.      

#4 is Jackie Jensen, Jim Hegan, Shane Halter, and Bobby Allison.

Four is the 4-seam fastball, and 4 free tosses for an intentional walk to the batter.

Larvell Blanks, Tony Phillips, Hal McRae, Tommy Hutton, and Chris Spier all wore the number 4.

The #4 is "Nails," Lenny Dykstra, and Ernie Lombardi, and his "snooze" at home plate.

Four is how many names are attached to "The Corner" in Detroit, Michigan and Trumbull, Bennett Park, Navin Field, Briggs Stadium, and Tiger Stadium, from 19895-1999.

So, did I forget someone?

Let me know what #4 means to you.

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