What do you think of when you see or hear the number 44? I know the first thing that comes to my mind is Henry Aaron. I think of Willie McCovey and Reggie Jackson, and for some reason, Danny Darwin. I think of Pete Maravich, Danny Ainge, Jerry West, and George Gervin. I think of Chuck Foreman, Robert Newhouse, and as a Cowboy fan growing up, the dreaded John Riggins. I think of Stephane Richer, Nick Boynton, and Glen Murray. I think of the great Syracuse running backs who wore number 44, Floyd Little, Ernie Davis, and Jim Brown. Although I don’t belong on any of these lists; I think of my 44th birthday later this week.
I know Henry Aaron played primarily before my time, and of all the 44’s he is the one I would want to sit and watch play every day. Pete Maravich, Jerry West and Jim Brown would be on the list too, but Aaron is one of my athletic idols. Maravich is definitely one of my all-time favorites as well, but when it comes to 44, I think of Henry Aaron first. I have watched footage of him over and over again, anything I can get my hands on. What a player! The home runs are what everyone knows him for but he also had 3,771 hits. That’s the third most all-time! Have you seen footage of Hammerin’ Hank hitting a laser right by the pitcher, who barely reacts before the ball lands in the outfield? As someone who loves hitting, and everything about hitting a ball well; I can only imagine how many times Aaron squared up the ball on his bat over the course of his career. I would have loved to see it live, to hear it live and in person. Henry Aaron, number 44.
So, this week the number 44 gets a little bit more attention, at least in my mind. I think it’s a pretty good number. Some tremendous athletes have worn it over the years. I have listed some in this post and there are plenty others too. Thanks for reading through this. Who is your favorite 44?