Last week, we heard that No. 26 was so important to the Washington Redskins' Clinton Portis that he promised to pay $40,000 to a teammate to give it up. Portis certainly isn't the only athlete playing the numbers.
Some math from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
In 1929, the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians made numbers a regular part of their uniforms. Numbers matched spots in the batting order, so Babe Ruth got 3 and Lou Gehrig 4.
The Philadelphia Athletics were the last team to go to numbers, holding out until 1937.
Soccer numbers used to be dictated by a player's position, starting with the goalie wearing 1. That's why Pele and Diego Maradona, both center forwards, wore 10.
Two NHL players wore numbers that reflected their Eastern Bloc histories: Alexander Mogilny No. 89 to commemorate the year he defected from the Soviet Union and Jaromir Jagr No. 68 because his grandfather died during the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.
Former Ravens quarterback Chris Redman wore No. 7 because he was born on 7/7/77.
Rams receiver Torry Holt wore 9 in high school in honor of Michael Jordan's number during the 1988 Olympics. Finding 9 unavailable in college, Holt squared it and took 81.