Fans And Their Favorite Jersey Numbers

Don Drysdale wearing No. 53. Photo courtesy MLB

Don Drysdale wearing No. 53. Photo courtesy MLB

If you’ve ever been an athlete or if you’re an avid sports fan, you certainly have a favorite number. Mine always has been No. 53 – for Don Drysdale, the big right-hander for the Los Angeles Dodgers. I loved the number so much while pitching baseball, I even wore it in basketball. My daughter Becky continued the family tradition by wearing the same number when she played college hoops.

My good friend and super sports fan Jim Gaddis always tells me how much he and his son Kai and daughter Courtney love No. 42, a very significant number this week as we celebrate the history of Jackie Robinson’s first game in Major League Baseball.

In honor of that, and just for fun, I reached out to a few more of my sports-minded friends, and here are some of their favorite numbers and reasons why:

Jai Cunningham, KHON: No. 7 for Mickey Mantle. “I didn’t have his power or speed, but loved his game.”

Robert Kekaula, KITV: No. 53 for Darryl “Chocolate Thunder” Dawkins and Don “Big D” Drysdale. “My dad used to work for (Drysdale)

and he gave me my first car. I also love No. 34 for Charles Barkley, my all-time favorite athlete!”

Larry Beil, formerly KGMB, now at KGO San Francisco: No. 34 for Herschel Walker. “I loved watching him play for his combination of speed and power, and had a chance to meet him at the Pro Bowl years ago and became an even bigger fan.”

Keith Amemiya, formerly HHSAA: No. 18 for Shane Victorino. “We just got back from Fenway Park in Boston, where we got to hang out with Shane; we also got to sit atop the Green Monster. Back in the day, it was No. 24 for Willie Mays.”

Laura Beeman, Wahine Basketball: No. 24. “I chose it for no other reason than I liked the number 24. Very boring, I know!”

Bill Blanchette, former UH Baseball: No. 8 for Carl Yastrzemski. “I always tried to wear it. I wore No. 22 at UH because No. 8 was taken and I was a big Will Clark fan.”

Daryl Kapis, HPU Volleyball: No. 22 for Will Clark. “I named my firstborn after him.”

Carl Fraticelli, UH Baseball: No. 34 for Walter Payton. “The one and only ‘Sweetness.'”

Alika Smith, Kalaheo Basketball: No. 20. “When I was a sophomore, my older brother asked me to wear his number, so I wore it to honor him.”

Dave Vinton, OC-16: No. 16 for Joe Montana. “I wear it because it’s the station I work at and it’s also Joe Montana’s number. He was a class act – still is.”

Rob Demello, KHON: No. 23 for David Justice. “It’s not for who you think (Michael Jordan). I grew up watching Justice on TBS. He was and is my all-time favorite athlete.”

Joey Estrella, former UHHilo Baseball: No. 2 for Bobby Richardson, “but these days, for Derek Jeter.”

Garrett Yukumoto, HPU Baseball: No. 10 for Chipper Jones. “It’s also the number for Tony LaRussa, Lefty Grove and football’s Jim Zorn.”

Bill Villa, Chaminade athletic director: No. 10 for Walt Frazier.

Scott Robbs, ESPN1420: No. 26 for Gary Allen and No. 54 for Niko Noga.

Josh Pacheco, ESPN1420: No. 5 for Jason Kidd and No. 21 for Kevin Garnett.

Gib Arnold, UH Basketball: No. 22 for Danny Ainge. “At Punahou, I always wore No. 22 for my childhood hero (Ainge) when he played for my dad at BYU. My freshman year it was not available, so I wore No. 32 in honor of Magic Johnson, my favorite player. My sophomore year, I wore No. 23 in honor of my new favorite player, Michael Jordan.”

Darren Vorderbruegge, HPU Basketball: No. 21. “When I was in junior high, we got the hand-me-down uniforms, and there was a guy at ‘my’ high school named ‘Johnny,’ that’s all I remember, who was scrappy, a team player, and who could shoot it, and he wore that number. I look back now and find it funny I didn’t want the number of one of the top players – we had future

NBA stars Antoine Carr, Greg Dreiling and Darnell Valentine in our league- but I wanted No. 21 because I could see myself in that jersey some day.”

Different numbers for different reasons, but all great stories. What’s yours?