New England's Top Pro Athletes By The Numbers, Part 2

By. Jim Crooks This is Part 2 of a 5-part blog series: While many of the biggest legends in New England sports history wore the...

New England's Top Pro Athletes By The Numbers, Part 2

By. Jim Crooks

This is Part 2 of a 5-part blog series:
While many of the biggest legends in New England sports history wore the single digit numbers, there were also some huge names who wore jerseys in the 20’s and 30’s. Here they are...the best local sports stars who wore #’s 20 - 39:

#20 - Gino Capelletti - Patriots WR / K ïƒ Patriots all-time leading scorer for 35 years until Adam Vinatieri broke his record, and he also led or tied the NFL in scoring 5 times during his 11 years with the Pats. He has 2 of the top 5 scoring seasons in pro football history. He is among the top 10 all-time receivers in AFL history. His #20 is one of a handful retired by the Patriots; honorable mention to Kevin Youkilis of the Sox and Taylor Twellman of the Revs...Youk has been a top 5 MVP candidate the last couple of seasons and Twellman has finished in the top 3 in the MLS in goals 4 times and won the MVP in 2005

#21 - Roger Clemens - Red Sox RHP ïƒ allegations of steroids and those years in pinstripes definitely taint the legacy of "the Rocket", but it is hard to argue with 7 CY Young Awards, 352 wins, and 4672 strikeouts, 11 All Star appearances, and two 20 strikeout games.

#22 - "Easy Ed" McCauley - Celtics ïƒ one of the first Celtics superstars...6 time NBA all star and Hall-of-famer; of more recent vintage, Asante "Show me the Money" Samuel was a pretty solid DB for the Pats until jumping ship to the Eagles last season; Brad Park was a great blue-liner for the B’s, but he spent too many seasons wearing the sweaters of other teams; Also, Doug Flutie deserves a nod here for his legendary college football career at BC where he wore an unusual # for a QB...#22.

#23 - Frank Ramsey - Celtics ïƒ the "Kentucky Colonel" was the original "6th man" in the NBA and helped the Celtics to 7 World titles during his tenure with the team in the ’50’s and ’60’s; elected to the basketball Hall of Fame in 1981

#24 - Sam Jones - Celtics / Terry O’Reilly - Bruins / Manny Ramirez - Red Sox / Ty Law - Patriots ïƒ one of the most debatable numbers in New England sports history, as all 4 major teams could lay claim to #24. Sam Jones is a NBA Hall of Famer who won 10 NBA titles with the C’s, O’Reilly is a Bruins Hall of Famer and legendary tough guy with a scorer’s touch, and Ramirez and Law are both likely future Hall of Famers in their respective sports. Ramirez has been called one of the most feared right-handed hitters in baseball history and sports 540 career homers and a .314 lifetime average. Law helped lead the Patriots to 3 Super Bowls and has 52 career interceptions.

#25 - KC Jones - Celtics ïƒ Do the Celtics have any numbers left that aren’t retired? KC helped lead the Celtics to 8 World Titles as a player in the 50’s and 60’s and then 2 more as a coach in the ’80’s; he has over 2900 career assists and is a NBA Hall of Famer

#26 - Wade Boggs - Red Sox ïƒ Over 3000 career hits and a lifetime .328 hitter, Boggs won 4 batting titles, 8 silver slugger awards, 2 gold gloves and was elected to the All Star team 12 times...he was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005; Honorable mention to Patriots cornerback / KR Raymond Clayborne


#27 - Carlton "Pudge" Fisk - Red Sox ïƒ Baseball Hall of Famer who holds the record for years served behind the plate, and held the record for most homers by a catcher until passed this season by Ivan Rodriguez...he also held the record for most homers by a catcher (351) until Mike Piazza passed him recently. He is probably best known for "waving fair" his game winning home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series. His #27 is retired by the Sox.

#28 - Curtis Martin - Patriots ïƒ Although he only played for the Patriots for 3 seasons, he left an indelible mark on the franchise winning offensive rookie of the year in 1995 and helping to lead the Patriots to the Super Bowl in the following season. Very quietly, as was Martin’s style, he is 4th all-time on the NFL career rushing yardage list with over 14,000 yards.

#29 - Keith Foulke’Red Sox ïƒ Another guy who only three seasons in The Hub, however, it is hard to deny the impact he made on the Red Sox in helping them to capture their first World Series title in 86 years in 2004. His personality could be a bit caustic, but he was a stalwart in the playoffs throwing 14 innings, striking out 19, and allowing exactly one run.

#30 - Gerry Cheevers - Bruins ïƒ Hockey Hall of Famer and 2-time Stanley Cup champion with the B’s, Cheevers was known as much for his "flopping" style, his mean streak directed towards players that came too near his crease, and his face mask that bore a stitch for every time it was hit with a puck as he was for being a great goalie; honorable mention to Tim Thomas a fellow Bruins netminder for the current team and Vezina Trophy winner for the league’s best goalie in 2008-09 and also to former Patriots FB Mosi Tatupu...a great short yardage runner and special teams player for the Pats for 13 seasons, and who can forget "Mosi’s Mooses"?


#31 - Cedric "Cornbread" Maxwell ïƒ his number was recently retired by the C’s; helped lead the Celtics to the NBA World Championship title in 1981 and 1984... in 1981, he was named the NBA Playoff Most Valuable Player... he is the Celtics all-time leader in field goal shooting percentage, shooting an incredible 55.9% (2,786-for-4,984) from the floor; honorable mention to Patriots safety Fred Marion

#32 - Kevin McHale - Celtics ïƒ Another NBA Hall of Famer from the C’s; Helped lead the Green to three NBA world championship titles in 1981, 1984 and 1986...Was a seven-time NBA All-Star...Was NBA All-Defensive first team member three straight seasons from 1986 through 1988...Was named One of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996...Currently ranks 3rd in Games Played all-time in Celtics history with 971; 4th in Points with 17,335 and 6th in Rebounds with 7,122; honorable mention to Derek Lowe for clutch performances during the 2004 playoffs

#33 - Larry Bird - Celtics ïƒ What can you say about "Larry Legend"? The NBA Hall of Famer helped to lead the Celtics to three NBA world championship titles in 1981, 1984 and 1986...Was the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player in 1984 and 1986...Was the NBA Most Valuable Player for three consecutive seasons from 1984 through 1986...Was the 1980 NBA Rookie of the Year...Was NBA All-Rookie team member in 1980...Was a All-NBA first team member nine straight seasons from 1980 through 1988...Was a 12-time NBA All-Star and was the NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player in 1982...Was named One of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996...Led the Celtics in minutes played and points eight seasons, and currently ranks 1st in all-time Celtics history in Free Throw Percentage at .886; 2nd in Points (behind John Havlicek) with 21,791 and 3rd in Assists; honorable mention to Kevin Faulk of the Patriots, Jason Varitek of the Red Sox, and Zdeno Charra of the Bruins

#34 - Paul Pierce - Celtics / David Ortiz - Red Sox - TIE ïƒ Pierce (AKA "The Truth") led the C’s to the 2008 NBA Title as Finals MVP and is a 7-time NBA All Star who has a knack for making the big shot when the game is on the line; likewise, Ortiz has been called the most clutch hitter of all-time and has helped lead the Red Sox to 2 World Series Championships in the last 5 seasons with many a game-winning hit

#35 - Reggie Lewis - Celtics & Jim Nance - Patriots ïƒ Lewis was a singular talent whose career and life were both cut short in 1993; He was an NBA All Star in ’92 and a quiet leader for the C’s; his athleticism and unique skill set is evidenced by the fact that he is the only Celtic ever to record 100 steals, 100 rebounds, 100 assists, & 100 blocked shots in a single season; Nance was a bruising fullback who led the AFL in rushing twice and is the all-time single season rushing record holder for the AFL with 1400+ yards in 1966 when he was also the AFL MVP. The 2-time all star still holds the Patriots record for career rushing TD’s with 45.

#36 - Lawyer Milloy - Patriots ïƒ A solid strong safety for 7 seasons with the Patriots who appeared in 2 Super Bowls and won 1 with the Pats in 2001; a four-time Pro-Bowler and an excellent leader with great toughness...he has over 700 career tackles and 25 INT’s

#37 - Rodney Harrison - Patriots ïƒ Hard-nosed Defensive Captain for the Pats who was an integral part of 2 Super Bowl Championship teams for the Pats...he is the only player in NFL history to record both 30 interceptions and 30 sacks; honorable mention to Red Sox legend and subject of the Hollywood movie "Fear Strikes Out", Jimmy Piersall

#38 - Curt Schilling - Red Sox ïƒ helped pitch the Sox to the team’s first World Series in 86 years in 2004, and added a 2nd World Series Title in 2007 with the Sox (3rd overall for Schilling) all while adding to his legacy as a big-game ace. He has a career 11-2 post-season record, which gives him the best playoff winning % for any pitcher with 10 or more decisions in the history of the game

#39 - Sam "Bam" Cunningham - Patriots ïƒ bruising fullback who played his entire 10 year career with the Pats...he was a Pro Bowler in 1978 and rushed for over 5000 yards; as a RB at USC he shredded then all-white Alabama for 135 yards and 2 TD’s in a game prompting Alabama assistant coach Jerry Claiborne to say that "Sam Cunningham did more to integrate Alabama football in 60 minutes than Martin Luther King did in 20 years."

#40 - #59 next week...

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