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  • March 30th, 2010

    Book Review:
    Red Sox by the Numbers: A Complete Team History of the Boston Red Sox by Uniform Number

    Posted by Christine E. at 11:16 am in Book Reviews,Red Sox Comments (3)

    by Bill Nowlin and Matthew Silverman.

    Since 1931 The Boston Red Sox have worn numbers on the back of their jerseys–and the players names were added to road jerseys only in 1990. But did you ever wonder HOW players get their numbers?

    We hear the occasional stories about how certain players want a certain number, like David Wells always wanting to wear #3, for his Idol, Babe Ruth. Or a player wants the number he has had since he played Little League, even going so far as to offer to buy “their” number from a fellow player who is currently wearing said number.

    But what about the nitty gritty? Like how many other players beside Nomar wore #5? (30) Or how many players besides Dustin Pedroia have been #15? (53) Or how about the 1st time #83 was EVER worn by a Red Sox player was 2007, when Eric Gagne wore it?

    Then Red Sox by the Numbers is the book for you.

    Skyhorse Publishing sent me a copy last week, and am I glad they did: As soon as I started reading it, I was completely hooked. I am a complete trivia freak, and this is the ultimate Red Sox trivia book–what could be better?

    How ’bout some of these gems:

    Remember Al Papai? He was a reliever for the Sox in 1950–and wore the same number as someone you may have heard of: David Ortiz, AKA, Big Papi….

    And how about Cinco Ocho? Jonathan Papelbon actually ASKED for a 50’s number, and wears #58 proudly, comparing himself to a linebacker (Apparently, linebackers were numbers in the 50’s)

    And, in case you were wondering, there is a complete listing in the back of everyone who was a member of the Boston Red Sox who wore a number–and when…

    And how ’bout the fact that while Hall of Famer Jim Rice’s #14 was retired in 2009, no one had worn the number since Jim did from 1974-1989 as a player, and 1995-2000 as a coach…

    And what about the fact that the numbers are centered on the back of every Red Sox Jersey “10 seconds at 375 degrees”, and are sewn on (in Boston anyway) by a little old lady name Valentina Federico, and have been for over 40 years…

    There is even an interview with Joe Cochran, The Red Sox Clubhouse Equipment Manager, who talks about how the whole uniform and numbers things works for the Sox…very interesting stuff on a topic you normally don’t hear about.

    Written by authors Bill Nowlin (also VP of SABR) and Matthew Silverman, Red Sox by the Numbers is impeccably researched, entertaining, and filled with TONS of information to satisfy even the most ardent stat head. I cannot even imagine the time spent in compiling all of the material for this book. But I do know that this book will have a prominent place on the Boston Red Thoughts Bookshelf for years to come.

    The book was released March 1 and you can get it at Amazon. If you love neat stats, trivia, and the Red Sox, then Red Sox by the Numbers is definitely for you.

    Check it out!

    3 Responses to “Book Review:
    Red Sox by the Numbers: A Complete Team History of the Boston Red Sox by Uniform Number”

    1. Bill Nowlin says:

      I’m very glad you enjoyed our book. It was a lot of fun to research and organize. We already see several new numbers for this year’s team. Hopefully, our book will serve as a guide to better understand those numbers in context.

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