Is David Ortiz the greatest No. 34 ever?
- The player had to wear 34 for a while and had to be great when they wore 34. Randy Johnson, for example, doesn’t count. Johnson changed his number to 34 for one game during the 1993 season to pay tribute to Nolan Ryan following Ryan’s career-ending elbow injury. It's obviously too early for Auston Matthews.
- There are some really big-names on this list, so guys like Thurman Thomas, Felix Hernandez and even Paul Pierce just miss the list.
We all know that O’Neal is best-known for his illustrious Celtics stint, where he wore No. 36. Head over to his basketball-reference page, however, and you’ll find that he actually had other stops in his NBA career. He wore No. 34 in his eight-year tenure with the Lakers, where he won three of his four NBA titles.
Though he wore No. 30 for basically the first half of his career, Ryan wore No. 34 from 1980 until his retirement in 1993. He somehow never won a Cy Young in either number.
Never an MVP, but he could lead the league in batting average, hits or RBI in any given season. Puckett had a 10-year stretch that saw him bat under .300 just twice. His averages in those seasons? .298 and .296.
Jackson also qualifies for a “worst No. 16, 8 and 22” list, because that guy kind of stunk at baseball, but it’s OK because he never wore No. 34 in baseball. Oddly enough, Jackson’s career-ending injury in the NFL was on a run of… 34 yards.
Winning Cy Young and MVP in the same season is difficult enough, but not many can say they did it as a reliever. Fingers was the first to do it, with Willie Hernandez and Dennis Eckersley accomplishing the feat years later.
Hakeem the Dream wore No. 34 for his entire NBA career, though he did wear No. 15 for the Dream Team III after becoming an American citizen. He won gold wearing No. 15, but he captured two NBA titles, a regular season MVP, two Finals MVPs and 12 All-Star nods in No. 34. Not bad.
Payton was better than Emmitt Smith. It will always be weird that he isn’t the league’s all-time leading rusher anymore.
Though he’s apparently more of a hockey fan these days, Barkley was an 11-time All-Star in the NBA, where he wore No. 34 in both Philly and Phoenix. Also, “Prince of Pizza” remains one of the best nicknames ever.
As dominant as a running back could be out of the gate, Campbell led the league in rushing yards in each of his first three seasons, including a 1,934-yard campaign in 1980. He wore No. 35 in his final season and a half as a member of the Saints, but he’ll always be known as No. 34 on the Oilers.
Dude averaged 35 home runs over a 13-season span. Also had a clutch hit or two.