Ricky Lee asked in SportsBaseball · 1 decade ago

Who was the first team to wear numbers?

What Year? Why?

6 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    1916...the Cleveland Indians WERE the first team to identify players using numbers. The numbers were worn on their left sleeve. This only lasted a couple of weeks before the idea was dropped.

    1923...the Cardinals attempted to do the same thing but also dropped the idea due to critism after a couple of weeks.

    1929...the Cleveland Indians began wearing large numbers on their back

    THEN...the Yankees would follow later the same year, making them the 3RD team to wear numbers as a part of their jersey. Another side note for you, the 1960 White Sox were the first to put names on the backs of jerseys.

  • 1 decade ago

    Baseball Retired Numbers

    Uniform numbers were first worn permanently by the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians in 1929, so that fans in the stands could tell who was who on the field. The inital uniform numbers corresponded to the player's place in the lineup; Babe Ruth wore #3 because he batted third, etc. By the mid-1930's, all teams had numbers on the back of their players' uniforms.

    For a definitive listing of who wore what number throughout major league history, check out Baseball By the Numbers, by Mark Stang and Linda Harkness.

    The Baseball Hall of Fame website has an excellent feature on their website entitled Dressed to the Nines, a history of the baseball uniform. It's really well-done and includes a uniform database. The Hall of Fame has scanned the drawings from Mark Okkonen's unfortunately out-of-print Baseball Uniforms of the 20th Century. The result is a complete, searchable database of the uniforms worn by every team in every year of their existence. Fantastic.

    Here are a few key dates in the evolution of uniform numbers:

    1907: The Reading Red Roses are the first team to experiment with uniform numbers.

    1916: The Cleveland Indians are the first major league team to experiment with uniform numbers. On June 26, they wear numbers on the left sleeve. The project lasts only a few weeks.

    1917: Indians try again, this time with the numbers on the right sleeve. Again, they abandon them after a brief trial.

    1923: The St. Louis Cardinals try numbers on the sleeves. It is short-lived.

    1929: The Yankees and Indians wear numbers on the backs of their jerseys.

    1932: NL president John Heydler issues an edict on June 22 that all NL teams should number their players "With each club to inaugurate the system as soon as possible."

    1937: The Philadelphia A's become the last team to add numbers to their home uniforms. The team, and the rest of the AL, had added numbers to their road shirts in 1931.

    Source(s): Internet, I was a Buisness partner with Earl Combs Who retired from the yankees and now he is in the hall of fame. When he made a speech The majority was about his baseball career.
  • 1 decade ago

    New York Yankees

    They were the first team to make numbers a permanent part of their uniform.

    From what I've read it was to be able to tell who the players were. The starters, at least as far as I know, wore the numbers of their batting order.

    Yankees for whatever reason decided to not put names on their jerseys when other teams starting doing it and then I guess it became a tradition. Tradition might be the first reason too.

  • The Yankees. I don't know what year but I know they started to wear numbers so that people knew the batting order.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    the ny yankees in i believe 1927. they wore them so the fans could tell what place in the order the players were, hence Babe Ruth #3 (3rd in the order) Lou Gehrig #4 (4th in the order) and so on and so forth

    Source(s): the book "The Big Bam"
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago


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