List of Major League Baseball retired numbers
Major League Baseball and its participating clubs have retired various uniform numbers over the course of time, ensuring that those numbers will always be associated with particular players or managers of note. The use of numbers on uniforms to better identify one player from another, and hence to boost sales of scorecards, was tried briefly by the Cleveland Indians of 1916, and the St. Louis Cardinals of 1923. The first team to permanently adopt the practice was the New York Yankees of 1929. By 1932, all sixteen major league clubs were issuing numbers, and by 1937, the leagues passed rules requiring it.
The Yankees' original approach was to simply assign the numbers 1 through 8 to the regular starting lineup in their normal batting order. Hence, Babe Ruth wore number 3 and Lou Gehrig number 4. The first major leaguer whose number was retired was Gehrig, in July 1939, following his retirement due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which became known popularly as Lou Gehrig's disease.
Since then, over 150 other people have had their numbers retired, some with more than one team. This includes managers and coaches, as Major League Baseball is the only one of the major North American professional leagues in which the coaching staff wear the same uniforms as players. Three numbers have been retired in honor of people not directly involved on the playing field - all three for team executives. Some of the game's early stars, such as Ty Cobb and Christy Mathewson, retired before numbers came into usage. Teams often celebrate their retired numbers and other honored people by hanging banners with the numbers and names. Early stars, as well as honored non-players, will often have numberless banners hanging along with the retired numbers. Because fewer and fewer players stay with one team long enough to warrant their number being retired, some players believe that getting their number retired is a greater honor than going into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Ron Santo, upon his number 10 being retired on the last day of the 2003 regular season, enthusiastically told the Wrigley Field crowd as his #10 flag was hoisted, "This is my Hall of Fame!" However, Santo would be inducted into the Hall of Fame in July 2012, nearly two years after his death, after being voted in by the Veterans Committee.
List of retired numbers 
|Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Number||Player or other figure||Team||Date|
|1||Pee Wee Reese||Dodgers||July 1, 1984|
|1||Bobby Doerr||Red Sox||May 21, 1988|
|1||Ozzie Smith||Cardinals||September 26, 1996|
|1||Richie Ashburn||Phillies||August 24, 1979|
|1||Billy Martin||Yankees||August 10, 1986|
|2||Red Schoendienst||Cardinals||May 11, 1996|
|2||Nellie Fox||White Sox||May 1, 1976|
|2||Tommy Lasorda||Dodgers||August 15, 1997|
|2||Charlie Gehringer||Tigers||June 12, 1983|
|3||Babe Ruth||Yankees||June 13, 1948|
|3||Earl Averill||Indians||June 8, 1975|
|3||Harmon Killebrew||Twins||May 4, 1974|
|3||Dale Murphy||Braves||June 13, 1994|
|3||Harold Baines||White Sox||August 20, 1989|
|4||Luke Appling||White Sox||June 7, 1975|
|4||Earl Weaver||Orioles||September 19, 1982|
|4||Duke Snider||Dodgers||July 6, 1980|
|4||Ralph Kiner||Pirates||September 19, 1987|
|4||Lou Gehrig||Yankees||July 4, 1939|
|4||Paul Molitor||Brewers||June 11, 1999|
|4||Mel Ott||Giants||July 17, 1948|
|4||Joe Cronin||Red Sox||May 29, 1984|
|5||Brooks Robinson||Orioles||April 14, 1978|
|5||Carl Barger[Notes 1]||Marlins||April 5, 1993|
|5||Lou Boudreau||Indians||July 9, 1970|
|5||George Brett||Royals||May 14, 1994|
|5||Johnny Bench||Reds||August 11, 1984|
|5||Hank Greenberg||Tigers||June 12, 1983|
|5||Joe DiMaggio||Yankees||April 18, 1952|
|5||Jeff Bagwell||Astros||August 26, 2007|
|6||Johnny Pesky||Red Sox||September 28, 2008|
|6||Steve Garvey||Padres||April 16, 1988|
|6||Stan Musial||Cardinals||September 29, 1963|
|6||Al Kaline||Tigers||August 17, 1980|
|6||Tony Oliva||Twins||July 14, 1991|
|6||Bobby Cox||Braves||August 12, 2011|
|7||Mickey Mantle||Yankees||June 8, 1969|
|7||Craig Biggio||Astros||August 17, 2008|
|8||Willie Stargell||Pirates||September 6, 1982|
|8||Joe Morgan||Reds||June 6, 1998|
|8||Yogi Berra||Yankees||July 22, 1972|
|8||Bill Dickey||Yankees||July 22, 1972|
|8||Gary Carter[Notes 2]||Expos||July 31, 1993|
|8||Cal Ripken, Jr.||Orioles||September 9, 2001|
|8||Carl Yastrzemski||Red Sox||August 6, 1989|
|9||Ted Williams||Red Sox||May 29, 1984|
|9||Reggie Jackson||Athletics||May 22, 2004|
|9||Minnie Miñoso||White Sox||May 8, 1983|
|9||Enos Slaughter||Cardinals||September 6, 1996|
|9||Bill Mazeroski||Pirates||August 7, 1987|
|9||Roger Maris||Yankees||July 21, 1984|
|10||Sparky Anderson||Reds||May 28, 2005|
|10||Dick Howser||Royals||July 3, 1987|
|10||Phil Rizzuto||Yankees||August 4, 1985|
|10||Andre Dawson[Notes 2]||Expos||July 6, 1997|
|10||Rusty Staub[Notes 2]||Expos||May 15, 1993|
|10||Ron Santo||Cubs||September 28, 2003|
|10||Tony La Russa||Cardinals||May 11, 2012|
|10||Tom Kelly||Twins||September 8, 2012|
|11||Jim Fregosi||Angels||August 1, 1998|
|11||Luis Aparicio[Notes 3]||White Sox||August 14, 1984|
|11||Paul Waner||Pirates||July 21, 2007|
|11||Sparky Anderson||Tigers||June 26, 2011|
|11||Barry Larkin||Reds||August 25, 2012|
|12||Wade Boggs||Rays||April 7, 2000|
|12||Roberto Alomar||Blue Jays||July 31, 2011|
|13||Dave Concepción||Reds||August 25, 2007|
|14||Ernie Banks||Cubs||August 22, 1982|
|14||Kent Hrbek||Twins||August 13, 1995|
|14||Larry Doby||Indians||July 3, 1994|
|14||Ken Boyer||Cardinals||May 20, 1984|
|14||Gil Hodges||Mets||June 9, 1973|
|14||Jim Bunning||Phillies||April 16, 2001|
|14||Jim Rice||Red Sox||July 28, 2009|
|15||Thurman Munson||Yankees||August 3, 1979|
|16||Ted Lyons||White Sox||July 25, 1987|
|16||Whitey Ford||Yankees||August 3, 1974|
|16||Hal Newhouser||Tigers||July 27, 1997|
|17||Dizzy Dean||Cardinals||September 22, 1974|
|18||Ted Kluszewski||Reds||July 18, 1998|
|18||Mel Harder||Indians||July 28, 1990|
|19||Bob Feller||Indians||December 28, 1956|
|19||Billy Pierce||White Sox||July 25, 1987|
|19||Jim Gilliam||Dodgers||October 10, 1978|
|19||Tony Gwynn||Padres||September 4, 2004|
|19||Robin Yount||Brewers||May 29, 1994|
|20||Luis Gonzalez||Diamondbacks||August 7, 2010|
|20||Monte Irvin||Giants||June 26, 2010|
|20||Lou Brock||Cardinals||September 9, 1979|
|20||Frank Robinson||Orioles||March 10, 1972|
|20||Frank Robinson||Reds||May 22, 1998|
|20||Pie Traynor||Pirates||April 18, 1972|
|20||Mike Schmidt||Phillies||May 26, 1990|
|20||Don Sutton||Dodgers||August 14, 1998|
|20||Frank White||Royals||May 2, 1995|
|21||Bob Lemon||Indians||June 20, 1998|
|21||Warren Spahn||Braves||December 11, 1965|
|21||Roberto Clemente||Pirates||April 6, 1973|
|22||Jim Palmer||Orioles||September 1, 1985|
|23||Ryne Sandberg||Cubs||August 28, 2005|
|23||Don Mattingly||Yankees||August 31, 1997|
|23||Willie Horton||Tigers||July 15, 2000|
|24||Whitey Herzog||Cardinals||July 31, 2010|
|24||Tony Perez||Reds||May 27, 2000|
|24||Willie Mays||Giants||May 12, 1972|
|24||Walter Alston||Dodgers||June 5, 1977|
|24||Jimmy Wynn||Astros||June 25, 2005|
|24||Rickey Henderson||Athletics||August 1, 2009|
|25||José Cruz||Astros||October 3, 1992|
|26||Billy Williams||Cubs||August 13, 1987|
|26||Gene Autry[Notes 4]||Angels||August 3, 1982|
|26||Johnny Oates||Rangers||August 5, 2005|
|27||Carlton Fisk||Red Sox||September 4, 2000|
|27||Catfish Hunter||Athletics||June 9, 1991|
|27||Juan Marichal||Giants||July 10, 1983|
|28||Bert Blyleven||Twins||July 16, 2011|
|29||Rod Carew||Angels||August 6, 1991|
|29||Rod Carew||Twins||July 19, 1987|
|29||John Smoltz||Braves||June 8, 2012|
|30||Orlando Cepeda||Giants||July 11, 1999|
|30||Nolan Ryan||Angels||June 16, 1992|
|30||Tim Raines[Notes 2]||Expos||June 19, 2004|
|31||Dave Winfield||Padres||April 14, 2001|
|31||Greg Maddux||Cubs||May 3, 2009|
|31||Greg Maddux||Braves||July 17, 2009|
|31||Ferguson Jenkins||Cubs||May 3, 2009|
|32||Steve Carlton||Phillies||July 29, 1989|
|32||Sandy Koufax||Dodgers||June 4, 1972|
|32||Elston Howard||Yankees||July 21, 1984|
|32||Jim Umbricht||Astros||April 12, 1965|
|33||Mike Scott||Astros||October 3, 1992|
|33||Eddie Murray||Orioles||June 7, 1998|
|33||Honus Wagner||Pirates||February 16, 1952|
|34||Rollie Fingers||Brewers||August 9, 1992|
|34||Rollie Fingers||Athletics||July 5, 1993|
|34||Nolan Ryan||Rangers||September 15, 1996|
|34||Nolan Ryan||Astros||September 29, 1996|
|34||Kirby Puckett||Twins||May 25, 1997|
|35||Randy Jones||Padres||May 9, 1997|
|35||Phil Niekro||Braves||August 6, 1984|
|35||Frank Thomas||White Sox||August 29, 2010|
|36||Gaylord Perry||Giants||July 23, 2005|
|36||Robin Roberts||Phillies||March 21, 1962|
|37||Casey Stengel||Yankees||August 8, 1970|
|37||Casey Stengel||Mets||September 2, 1965|
|39||Roy Campanella||Dodgers||June 4, 1972|
|40||Don Wilson||Astros||April 13, 1975|
|40||Danny Murtaugh||Pirates||April 7, 1977|
|41||Eddie Mathews||Braves||July 26, 1969|
|41||Tom Seaver||Mets||June 24, 1988|
|42||Jackie Robinson||Dodgers||June 4, 1972|
|42||Jackie Robinson||All MLB||April 15, 1997|
|42||Bruce Sutter||Cardinals||September 17, 2006|
|43||Dennis Eckersley||Athletics||August 13, 2005|
|44||Hank Aaron||Braves||April 15, 1977|
|44||Hank Aaron||Brewers||October 3, 1976|
|44||Reggie Jackson||Yankees||August 14, 1993|
|44||Willie McCovey||Giants||September 21, 1980|
|45||Bob Gibson||Cardinals||September 1, 1975|
|47||Tom Glavine||Braves||August 6, 2010|
|49||Larry Dierker||Astros||May 19, 2002|
|49||Ron Guidry||Yankees||August 23, 2003|
|50||Jimmie Reese||Angels||August 2, 1995|
|51||Trevor Hoffman||Padres||August 21, 2011|
|53||Don Drysdale||Dodgers||July 1, 1984|
|72||Carlton Fisk||White Sox||September 14, 1997|
|85||August Busch, Jr.[Notes 5]||Cardinals||April 13, 1984|
- Placed into circulation in 2012 when the Marlins moved to their new park and decided to honor Barger instead with a plaque at the stadium. The first player to receive the number was Logan Morrison. Barger was the team's first president, but died in December 1992, four months before the team's first game. The Marlins chose to retire #5 because it was the number worn by Barger's favorite player, Joe DiMaggio.
- The Montreal Expos retired numbers in honor of four players (Carter #8, Dawson #10, Staub #10, Raines #30). When the franchise relocated to Washington, D.C., after the 2004 season, the newly-christened Washington Nationals chose not to recognize any uniform number retired while in Montreal. On October 18, 2005, the NHL's Montreal Canadiens honored the departed team by raising an Expos commemorative banner listing the retired numbers to the rafters of Montreal's Bell Centre.
- Aparicio's number was temporarily unretired with his approval for Omar Vizquel. Vizquel played the 2010 and 2011 seasons with the White Sox.
- Team founder. The number represents the "26th man"—Major League Baseball rosters are limited to 25 players, except for games played on or after September 1, when rosters are expanded to 40.
- Served as president, chairman, or CEO of the Cardinals from the team's purchase by Anheuser-Busch in 1953 until his death in 1989. The number represents his age at the time the number was retired in 1984.
Retired in honor of multiple players 
The following numbers have been retired in honor of multiple players:
- Chicago Cubs, #31: retired in 2009 for Ferguson Jenkins and Greg Maddux
- Cincinnati Reds, #5: retired in 1940 for Willard Hershberger who had committed suicide during the season; returned to service in 1942; retired in 1984 for Johnny Bench
- Montreal Expos, #10: retired for Rusty Staub in 1993; ceremony to honor #10 for Andre Dawson was held in 1997
- New York Yankees, #8: retired in 1972 for Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra
- St. Louis Cardinals, #42: retired in 1997 by all teams in MLB for Jackie Robinson; ceremony to honor #42 for Bruce Sutter was held in 2006
Alternative methods of recognition 
Two teams, the Seattle Mariners and the Colorado Rockies, have never retired any jersey numbers (other than Robinson's #42 retired in all of MLB). Two additional teams, the Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals have no retired jersey numbers. The Marlins had previously retired #5 in honor of their first team president, the late Carl Barger, but un-retired it entering the 2012 season. The Nationals franchise had retired jerseys in honor of four players when known as the Montreal Expos, but un-retired them upon moving to Washington.
The Mariners have kept the following numbers out of circulation since the departure of a popular player who wore it: #11 (Edgar Martínez), #14 (Lou Piniella), #19 (Jay Buhner), #24 (Ken Griffey, Jr.). and #51 (initially for Randy Johnson, and later for Ichiro Suzuki). Similarly, no one has worn #33 for the Rockies since the departure of Larry Walker. It has been speculated that #17 (Todd Helton) will be the first number that the Rockies organization will retire.
Some teams have not formally retired certain numbers, but nonetheless kept them out of circulation. For example, the Cincinnati Reds have only assigned Pete Rose's #14 to one other player after his retirement: his own son. #14 cannot be retired in honor of the older Rose due to his lifetime ban from baseball. The Los Angeles Dodgers' current policy is only to retire the numbers of longtime club members if they are inducted into the Hall of Fame; the lone exception was longtime Dodger player and coach Jim Gilliam, whose #19 was retired when he died of a cerebral hemorrhage during the Dodgers' 1978 postseason run. Nevertheless, the Dodgers have informally kept Fernando Valenzuela's #34 out of circulation since his retirement. The New York Mets have not assigned Mike Piazza's #31 since he left the team in 2005. On opening day of the 2012 season the Mets unveiled a memorial "Kid 8" logo to honor the late Gary Carter. Although no Met has worn the number 8 since Carter's election to the Hall of Fame, it is not retired.
Number retired by Major League Baseball 
Normally the individual clubs are responsible for retiring numbers. On April 15, 1997, Major League Baseball took the unusual move of retiring a number for all teams. On the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's breaking the major league color barrier, his number 42 was retired throughout the majors, at the order of Commissioner Bud Selig. This meant that no future player on any major league team could wear number 42, although players wearing #42 at the time were allowed to continue wearing it (only New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera remains active as of 2013). Starting in the 2007 season, the 60th anniversary of Robinson's Major League debut, players and coaches have all worn the number 42 as a tribute to Robinson on Jackie Robinson Day, April 15.
Similar honors 
Players who pre-date uniform numbers 
Four teams have honored players who played before the advent of uniform numbers by placing their names among those of players whose numbers have been retired:
- Philadelphia Phillies: Grover Cleveland Alexander, Chuck Klein; both are denoted with a stylized "P" at Citizens Bank Park (Klein had various numbers in the later years of his career, but never wore one consistently)
- Detroit Tigers: Ty Cobb, Mickey Cochrane, Sam Crawford, Harry Heilmann, Hughie Jennings, George Kell, Heinie Manush; Cobb's name is displayed on the left-field wall of Comerica Park along with the players whose numbers have been retired; the others have their names displayed on the right-field wall (Cochrane actually wore #3 for the Tigers, and Kell wore three different numbers, but the Tigers have not retired these numbers)
- San Francisco (New York) Giants: Christy Mathewson and John McGraw; both are denoted with "NY" and their names at AT&T Park
- St. Louis Cardinals: Rogers Hornsby, denoted with a "STL" and his name at Busch Stadium
- Bob Murphy and Ralph Kiner – New York Mets; The radio booth at both Shea Stadium and Citi Field are named for the beloved, late Murphy. The television booth at Citi Field is named for Kiner, who still occasionally does game broadcasts for Met home games
- Jack Buck – St. Louis Cardinals; honored with a drawing of a microphone on the wall with the retired numbers.
- Lon Simmons, Russ Hodges, and Jon Miller – San Francisco Giants; honored with stylized old-style radio microphone displayed in place of a number.
- Marty Brennaman, Waite Hoyt, and Joe Nuxhall – Cincinnati Reds; honored with microphones by the broadcast booth.
- Jerry Coleman – San Diego Padres; a "star on the wall" in reference to his trademark phrase "You can hang a star on that one!" The star is painted in gold on the front of the press box down the right field line, accompanied by Coleman's name in white.
- Harry Kalas and Richie Ashburn – Philadelphia Phillies; At Citizens Bank Park, the restaurant built into the base of the main scoreboard is named "Harry the K's" in Kalas's honor. After Kalas's death, the Phillies' TV-broadcast booth was renamed "The Harry Kalas Broadcast Booth". It is directly next to the radio-broadcast booth, which is named "The Richie 'Whitey' Ashburn Broadcast Booth".
- Ernie Harwell – Detroit Tigers; honored with his name alongside the retired players on the Left-Centerfield Brick wall in Comerica Park and a statue & portrait at the stadium's front entrance.
- Bob Uecker – "50 Years in Baseball" along with Uecker's name is next to the Brewers retired numbers at Miller Park.
- Tom Cheek – Toronto Blue Jays; honored with a banner on the Rogers Centre's "Level of Excellence" bearing his name and, in place of a jersey number, 4,306 – his streak of consecutive regular-season broadcasts.
- Harry Caray and Jack Brickhouse – Chicago Cubs: Caray is remembered inside and outside of Wrigley Field. A statue of him leading the crowd in "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" is near the bleacher entrance (originally at the corner of Addison Street and Sheffield Avenue), and a caricature of him adorns his former WGN-TV broadcast booth. Brickhouse's catch phrase, "Hey hey!" is memorialized in large red letters on each foul pole. (Brickhouse also has a statue on Michigan Avenue.)
- Dave Niehaus – Seattle Mariners; the press box at Safeco Field was renamed the "Dave Niehaus Media Center" on April 8, 2011 prior to the Mariners' home opener against the Cleveland Indians. In addition, a part of First Avenue NW outside the stadium was renamed Dave Niehaus Way, and the wall in deep right-center field also has a microphone with a Dave Niehaus graphic.
- Vin Scully – Los Angeles Dodgers; in 2001, the Dodgers honored Scully by naming the press box at Dodger Stadium the "Vin Scully Press Box".
- Arch McDonald and Bob Wolff - Washington Senators: MacDonald and Wolff's names are on the Washington Nationals' Ring of Honor at Nationals Park.
- Bill King – Oakland Athletics; The Athletics named their broadcast facilities the "Bill King Broadcast Booth" after King's death in 2005.
Owners and contributors 
- The initials of former San Diego Padres owner Ray Kroc are painted in gold on the front of the pressbox down the right field line, accompanied by his name in white.
- Charles Bronfman was inducted into the Expos Hall of Fame as its inaugural member in 1993, and a circular patch placed on the right field wall with his name, the number 83, which he used to wear during spring training, and the words "FONDATEUR / FOUNDER".
- On April 8, 2008, the final opening day at Shea Stadium, the New York Mets unveiled a "Shea" logo which was displayed on the left-field fence next to the team's other retired numbers. The stadium was named for William Shea, a prominent lawyer who was responsible for the return of National League baseball to New York.
- Walter A. Haas, Jr., honorary jersey retired (with stylized Old English "A" in place of a number) in 1995, located in right field. Owner of the Oakland Athletics from 1980 until 1995. Haas purchased the team from Charles O. Finley in 1980, saving the team from potentially moving out of the area.
- At the start of the 2007 season, the Kansas City Royals designated Seat #9 in Section 127, Row C at Kauffman Stadium as the "Buck O'Neil Legacy Seat" in honor of Negro Leagues legend and Royals scout Buck O'Neil. During each home game, the Royals honor a fan who exemplifies O'Neil's spirit of humanitarianism and community service by inviting that fan to sit in the Buck O'Neil Legacy Seat.
See also 
- Jauss, Bill (September 29, 2003). "Santo: Flag 'my Hall of Fame'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 19, 2010.
- baseball-almanac.com (2009). "Retired Uniform Numbers in the National League". baseball-almanac.com. Retrieved 2009-10-02.
- MLB Advanced Media (2009). "Franchise Retired Numbers". MLB Advanced Media. Retrieved 2009-10-02.
- MLB Advanced Media (2009). "Yankees Retired Numbers". MLB Advanced Media. Retrieved 2009-10-02.
- MLB Advanced Media (2009). "Cardinals Retired Numbers". MLB Advanced Media. Retrieved 2009-10-02.
- Saunders, Patrick (2011-07-02 10:29:41-06:00). "Retired numbers: Whose jersey, besides Elway's, is worthy?". The Denver Post. Retrieved 2011-07-04.
- "Big Unit beats Dodgers 2-1 in Manny’s LA debut". Yahoo.com. 08-02-2008. Retrieved 2008-08-02.
- Blair, Jeff (1993-08-15). "This used to be his playground; Bronfman was always a fan; Original owner steps into Expos Hall of Fame". Montreal Gazette (Montreal Gazette). pp. D.1.
Additional reading 
- Baseball Uniforms of the 20th Century, Marc Okkonen, 1991, Sterling Publishing.