As the only player to wear #71, Urban John Hodapp is obviously the best. Originally a Reds signee in 1924, began his career as 18 year old for the Indianapolis Indians (AA). In 1925 he was expected to be sold to the Giants, but Cleveland swooped in and outbid them and played 37 games at third base late in the season. He broke his ankle at spring training in 1926 and missed most of the season. In 1927, his defense cost him some playing time, but he hit really well, 304/343/454 in 261 PA. In 1928, he led the team in RBI despite missing six weeks with knee and eye injuries. His 323/352/432 line garnered him the 22nd spot on the MVP voting list. He also achieved the rare feat of two hits in the same inning twice in the same game in a 24-6 spanking of the Yankees on July 29.
In 1929, the first for uniforms, he donned #71 and played only 90 games after wrenching his knee in spring training again. But this season he was moved to second base and hit 327/361/456 106 OPS+ in 315 PA. In 1930 he switched to #6. He had his best year yet in 1930 after switching to #6. He held out in 1931, switching to #4, but his numbers dived down. He was dealt to the White Sox in early 1932.
[There are 71 characters on a standard English keyboard excluding capital letters]
Although universally despised as the return for Brian Giles, Ricardo Rincon had a decent career with the Tribe. The Pirates originally purchased him from the Mexico City Reds in 1997. He went straight to the Pirates bullpen and was very successful (138 ERA+, 9.7 K/9) in 1997 and 1998 in 125 IP. Hart felt like he needed another bullpen arm, so he dealt from his surplus of outfielders, Brian Giles. After arriving, Rincon was fairly mediocre in 1999, 113 ERA+, 1.455 WHIP and 6.0 K/9 in 44.2 IP. But he was hurt in 2000 (only 35 appearances) and actually good in 2001, 159 ERA+, 1.204 WHIP and 8.3 K/9 in 54 IP. But by this time Giles had broken out and the trade left a bad taste in fans’ mouths. Rincon struggled again in 2002 and was dealt to the Athletics for Marshall McDougall in July.
[The Bears defeated the Redskins 73-0 in the 1940 NFL championship game.]
As only one guy wore this uniform, this was another simple selection. Although the stats are fairly horrible, Michael Charles Walker is the best #75. The 2nd round pick from 1986, Walker pitched at Burlington in 1986, Waterloo and Kinston in 1987 and the Williamsport (PA) Bills (AA) in 1988. He got his first cup of coffee that September and made 3 appearances. In 8.2 IP, he gave up 8 hits, walked 10 and struck out 7. He spent all of 1989 getting torched in Colorado Springs (AAA). 1990 was no better in Colorado for him, but he did make 11 starts for the Tribe that year, but had switched to uniform #48. He was converted to a reliever in 1991, but ran out of options and was released at the end of the season.
[It is traditional to give diamonds on your 75th wedding anniversary, provided you live that long.]
Another one and done, the best to wear #76 is Thomas Joseph Magrann who went hitless in 10 PA for the 1989 Indians in his only major league shot. Prior to his cup of coffee, Magrann was signed as an amateur free agent by the Philles in 1982 and then as a free agent by the Orioles in 1986. After the 1988 season, the Orioles dealt him and Gerry Holtz to the Tribe for Don Lovell and John Githens. Magrann was the only one of the four to appear at the major league level. He spent one more year in the Cleveland farm system before being released.
[There are 76 trombones leading the parade in "The Music Man" musical.]
A fromer first round pick by th Reds in 1987, Jack William Armstrong made the All-Star team for them in 1990. He slumped badly in 1991 and in the offseason was dealt with Scott Scudder and Joe Turek for Greg Swindell. His sole season in Cleveland was no better, 6-15 in 23 starts, 4.64 ERA (84 ERA+), 1.458 WHIP and 6.2 K/9. The Marlins claimed in the expansion draft that fall.
[At the Sweden-Norway border, the number 77 was the password because the tricky pronunciation made it easy to discern if the speaker was Swedish, Norwegian or German.]
The final man on our list, Rene Adrian Gonzales, travelled all the way up to #88 to secure his spot. He actually went reverse in his choice of uniforms, wearing #19 while with the Expos in 1984 and 1986. But he was sent to Orioles as the PTBNL in the Dennis Martinez deal and chose number 88, which he would wear through the end of his career. The utility infielder spent four years in Baltimore, one with the Blue Jays and two with the Angels before the Indians picked him up for the 1994 season. He opened the season in Charlotte (AAA) but was called up in May and received 30 PA as a late inning replacement (only 4 starts), mostly at 3B, though early July before heading back to Charlotte. He went back to the Angels in 1995 and finished his major league career with the Rangers in 1996 and Rockies in 1997. He retired after the 1999 season.
[The DeLorean car in Back To The Future needed to reach 88 miles per hour to start time travel]
The One Year Wonders
Johnny Hodapp is the only player to have worn uniform #71 for only one season. Wayne Kirby is the only player to have worn uniform #73 for only one season. Mike Walker is the only player to have worn uniform #75 for only one season. Tom Magrann is the only player to have worn uniform #76 for only one season. Jack Armstrong is the only player to have worn uniform #77 for only one season. Rene Gonzales is the only player to have worn uniform #88 for only one season.
The All-Time List - 71
Johnny Hodapp 2B, PH (1929) 327/361/456 106 OPS+, 315 PA; switched to #6 in 1930
The All-Time List - 73
Wayne Kirby RF, LF (1991) 209/239/256 37 OPS+, 47 PA; switched to #35 in 1992
Ricardo Rincon RP (1999-2002) 7-8, 207 G, 0 GS, 3.73 ERA, 154.1 IP, 126 ERA+; traded by Pirates for Brian Giles; traded to Athletics for Marshall McDougall
The All-Time List - 75
Mike Walker RP, SP (1988) 0-1, 3 G, 1 GS, 7.27 ERA, 8.2 IP, 59 ERA+; switched to #48 in 1990
The All-Time List - 76
Tom Magrann C (1989) 000/000/000 -100 OPS+, 10 PA; traded with Gerry Holtz by Orioles for Don Lovell and John Githens
The All-Time List - 77
Jack Armstrong SP, RP (1992) 6-15, 35 G, 23 GS, 4.64 ERA, 166.2 IP, 84 ERA+; traded with Scott Scudder and Joe Turek by Reds for Greg Swindell; expansion draftee by Marlins
The All-Time List - 88
Rene Gonzales 3B, 1B, SS, PH (1994) 348/448/609 173 OPS+, 30 PA
Statistics and such
Uniforms #71, #75, #76, #77 and #88 have been worn 1 time by 1 player each covering 1 season of a possible 84 seasons since 1929. Uniforms #71, #75, #76, #77 and #88 have never been shared in a season.
The uniform #73 has been worn 5 times by 2 different players covering 5 seasons of a possible 84 seasons since 1929. Uniform #73 has never been shared in a season.