(photo & content contributed by mancavepictures.com)
Jan 22, 1929 the #Yankees announce they will put numbers on the backs of their uniforms, becoming the first baseball team to engage in continuous use of them. The first numbers were based on positions in the batting order. This big fella (here in 1931) was the #3 hitter. The next batter, number 4 Gehrig, was the first to have his number retired.
If you've ever been to a ballgame or watch one on tv and seen players with numbers on the backs of the uniforms and assumed they've always been like that, you would be wrong. The concept of using numbers on uniforms was not considered until 1916 when the Cleveland Indians became the first team to ever use a number on their left sleeve on their home jersey. Number-backed that are more traditional today were didn't become a tradition until 1929 when the Yankees announced they would start using them. It would become a baseball trend that all teams would eventually become a part of until every team in baseball would adopt this new concept. And in time, number-backed uniforms would become synonymous with our favorite players and their identities like number 3 for Ruth and #7 for Mickey Mantle. So now when you watch a ballgame and look out onto the field and see the number-backed uniforms, you'll know how it all began....thank the Yankees for this!