By Bob Vanderberg
Here it is, at last, the list White Sox and Cubs fans have been waiting for: a by-the-numbers roster of the best Sox and Cubs players to wear the uniform-or rather, numbered uniform.
See, uniform numbers didn't come into vogue until the early 1930s. The Sox didn't have them until 1931; the Cubs began sporting them in 1932. So if you're looking for Joe Jackson or Eddie Collins or Cap Anson or Grover Cleveland Alexander or any of the greats from the franchises' early days, you won't find them.
Of course, if you're looking for Shawn Abner (Sox, No. 45) or Bill Nahorodny (15), or for Doug Strange (Cubs, No. 1) or Gary Scott (25), you're not going to find them either. These are the best, by number, as chosen by a national panel of, uh, distinguished experts. Maybe just make that simply "panel."
A couple of notes: In close balloting, longevity was often a decisive factor. And for numbers in the mid-50s and higher, no player was selected because so few have worn those numbers for any length of time - other than the Sox's Mark Buehrle (56) and Carlton Fisk (72), who naturally "made the cut."
Remember, this is players only: no coaches, no managers. Also, opposing views are welcome. Years listed are the player's years with the Sox/Cubs, not necessarily the years he wore that number (several wore multiple numbers).
Finally, thanks to these sources for helping to fill in quite a few blanks: the Sox, the Cubs, Baseball Almanac and "The All-time Chicago Cubs Uniform List," compiled by Kasey Ignarski.
Let's get started ...