Dawgpound 1613 wrote:It is my understanding that numbers were originally added to identify the player. I think I read that the Yankees started the practice in the late 20s. I've also read that numbers were given to some players based on their spot in the line-up (thus Ruth #3 and Gehrig #4).
As such, I would agree that they were originally used for identification purposes.
Actually, the Indians experimented with numbers on the jerseys a decade before the Yanks adopted their in the late '20s, and other teams in the Majors, Negro Leagues and elsewhere probably did the same. Numbers preceded names on the back of jerseys by like 20 or 30 years, if memory serves. I assume it was all because of some primitive marketing notion.
And of course, the only team to still not have names on the jerseys is dem Bombers.