Who wore it best? Uniforms have always been a reason we love baseball, with the numbers on the back, specifically, always serving as a way to connect with the players wearing them.
Whether they’re randomly assigned or strategically acquired, numbers can become intrinsically tied to a player’s identity, sometimes as much as his play. For some, those numbers follow them into eternity.
That’s why across MLB.com, we are cataloguing the best players to wear each jersey number for every team. Here is the top player to wear every uniform number in Orioles history:
No. 1: Brian Roberts -- Two-time All-Star remains the franchise leader in games, at-bats, runs, hits, doubles, RBIs, walks and steals among second basemen.
No. 2: J.J. Hardy -- The heart and soul of the O’s playoff teams of the mid-2010s was also a three-time Gold Glove winner.
No. 3: Harold Baines -- The Maryland native was the consummate DH and elected to the Hall of Fame via the Today’s Era Committee in 2019.
No. 4: Jim Gentile -- Three-time All-Star of the early '60s had a .891 career OPS in Baltimore, still the franchise record for first basemen. His only competition here would be Earl Weaver, but we’re not considering managers for this exercise.
No. 5: Brooks Robinson -- Easy call here. There is only one Brooks.
No. 6: Paul Blair -- The eight-time Gold Glove-winning center fielder and four-time World Series champion beats out other standouts Melvin Mora and Jonathan Schoop.
No. 7: Mark Belanger -- Maybe the best defensive shortstop of his era was a paragon of the great Orioles teams of the late 1960s and early '70s.
No. 8: Cal Ripken Jr. -- No explanation needed.
No. 9: Brady Anderson -- Don Buford and Reggie Jackson are runner-ups.
No. 10: Adam Jones -- Nobody wore No. 10 like Jones did in center field for more than a decade.
No. 11: Luis Aparicio -- The speedy Hall of Famer takes the crown in a crowded field over Gus Triandos and Doug DeCinces.
No. 12: Roberto Alomar -- Twelve All-Star nods and 10 career Gold Gloves will get you here.
No. 13: Manny Machado -- Machado may not have been lucky in No. 13, but he was often very, very good.
No. 14: Mike Bordick -- Durable glove-first shortstop was an All-Star in 2000 and remains with the organization as a broadcaster. He gets the nod here over Lee May, Merv Rettenmund and Nolan Reimold.
No. 15: Hoyt Wilhelm -- Hall of Fame knuckleballer won an ERA title with the Orioles in 1959 at age 36.
No. 16: Bobby Grich -- One of the tougher calls on this entire list goes to the six-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove-winning second baseman, over Scott McGregor, Trey Mancini and Wei-Yin Chen.
No. 17: B.J. Surhoff -- Durable, versatile, popular and productive, Surhoff hit .291/.341/.451 with 120 homers across two separate stints in Baltimore between 1997-2005.
No. 18: Jeff Conine -- The well-traveled regular spent six years of his 17-year career in Baltimore as a valuable utility player with power.
No. 19: Dave McNally -- The four-time 20-game winner and franchise legend tops runner-ups Chris Davis, Ben McDonald, Scott Erickson and Fred Lynn here.
No. 20: Frank Robinson -- Hall of Fame player. World Series MVP. Decorated manager. Trailblazer. Baseball legend. The No. 20 is retired in Baltimore for a reason.
No. 21: Nick Markakis -- Doubles machine, Gold Glove winner and more. Markakis was a durable all-around contributor for a near-decade in Baltimore and remains one of the Orioles' best first-round Draft picks this century.
No. 22: Jim Palmer -- Who else?
No. 23: Tippy Martinez -- The longtime reliever’s 499 appearances (and three famous pickoffs) with the club outweigh contributions by Chris Hoiles, Nelson Cruz, David Segui and others who’ve worn the number.
No. 24: Rick Dempsey -- Nobody has suited up behind the plate for the Orioles more than the 1983 World Series MVP.
No. 25: Rafael Palmeiro -- Despite his ties to performance-enhancing drugs, Palmeiro’s gaudy counting numbers give him the nod here over Don Baylor, Rich Dauer and Moe Drabowsky.
No. 26: Boog Powell -- Two digits, one name: Boog.
No. 27: Delmon Young -- Journeyman outfielder was never more than a role player in Baltimore, but he’ll never pay for a drink in the city again based on his 2014 postseason heroics alone.
No. 28: Randy Myers -- The hard-throwing southpaw saved 107 games over two seasons for the O’s, including a Major League-high 45 in '97.
No. 29: Ken Singleton -- Underrated in his era, the on-base machine made three All-Star teams and hit .284/.388/.445 from '75-84 with the Orioles.
No. 30: Gregg Olson -- The 1989 American League Rookie of the Year, “Otter” gets the nod here in a tough call over Dennis Martinez and Luke Scott.
No. 31: Ubaldo Jiménez -- This former All-Star never lived up to his big-money contract in Baltimore, but he was a durable and popular rotation piece on playoff teams in 2014 and '16.
No. 32: Matt Wieters -- One of the most hyped prospects in recent memory turned into a four-time All-Star and fixture behind the plate for eight seasons in Baltimore.
No. 33: Eddie Murray -- “Steady Eddie” entered the Hall of Fame in 2003 as one of the best switch-hitters in baseball history.
No. 34: Storm Davis -- Unlike fellow 34s Jake Arrieta and Fernando Valenzuela, who had more success elsewhere, some of Davis’ best years came with the Orioles.
No. 35: Mike Mussina -- The 2019 Hall of Fame inductee split his career evenly between Baltimore and New York, but he became a star with the Orioles.
No. 36: Tom Phoebus -- A member of great Orioles rotations of the late '60s, Phoebus won at least 14 games each year from '67-69.
No. 37: Stu Miller -- The relief ace for the O’s in the late '60s, Miller famously threw with little velocity. He pitched to a 2.37 ERA and saved 99 games across five years in Baltimore anyway.
No. 38: John Lowenstein -- The popular outfielder crushed right-handed pitching in the early '80s as part of one of Weaver’s most famous platoons alongside Gary Roenicke.
No. 39: Eddie Watt -- Pitching to a 2.74 ERA out of the O’s 'pen from 1966-73, Watt remains underrated but one of the best relievers in club history.
No. 40: Vern Stephens -- One of the top sluggers of the 1940s and a three-time AL RBI champion (once with the St. Louis Browns), Stephens also wore No. 40 playing for the Orioles in 1954 and '55.
No. 41: Kevin Brown -- The six-time All-Star was good but not dominant during his only year in Baltimore, going 10-9 with a 3.60 ERA and 1.18 WHIP.
No. 43: Sidney Ponson -- The troubled righty went 73-85 with 4.86 ERA and 28 complete games in a little under eight seasons for the O’s in the heart of the steroid era.
No. 44: Elrod Hendricks -- Hendricks, a Rule 5 Draft pick, became a beloved four-decade fixture with the organization as backup catcher, then a longtime bullpen coach.
No. 45: Erik Bedard -- The Orioles got two excellent seasons from the injury-prone ace in 2006 and '07, then flipped the lefty for Adam Jones and others in one of the best trades in franchise history.
No. 46: Mike Flanagan -- The 1979 Cy Young Award winner spent parts of five decades connected to the Orioles as player, coach, broadcaster and executive until his death in 2011.
No. 47: Lee Smith -- The Hall of Fame closer saved an MLB-best 33 games in the strike-shortened 1994 season, his only in Baltimore.
No. 48: Andrew Miller -- Miller, a wipeout reliever, helped the Orioles reach the 2014 postseason before turning into a firearm uber-weapon elsewhere.
No. 50: Jorge Julio -- This durable reliever placed third in AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2002.
No. 51: Jamie Moyer -- Moyer was an ageless who left-hander went 25-22 with a 4.41 ERA in the O’s rotation from 1993-95.
No. 52: Mike Boddicker -- The sensation of the 1983 World Series champions led the AL in wins and ERA the following season, earning 62 victories between 1983-86.
No. 53: Zack Britton -- A dominant sinkerballer, Britton set an AL record for consecutive save chances converted during his historic 2016 season.
No. 54: Andrew Cashner -- The journeyman starter gets the nod here in a thin field.
No. 55: Ramon Hernandez -- This power-hitting catcher slugged 47 homers for the O’s from 2006-08.
No. 56: Darren O'Day -- O'Day, a side-winding reliever, was a vital cog in great O’s bullpens of the mid-2010s and an All-Star in '15.
No. 57: Francisco Rodríguez -- The six-time All-Star wasn’t at his most dominant in Baltimore down the stretch in 2013, but K-Rod’s 437 career saves are nothing to sneeze at.
No. 58: Alfredo Simon -- This inconsistent reliever eventually turned into an All-Star starter for the Reds.
No. 59: Steve Barber -- The future All-Star only wore No. 59 during his rookie year in 1960, when he went 10-7 with a 3.22 ERA despite leading the AL in walks and wild pitches.
No. 60: Mychal Givens -- The hard-throwing setup man was a fixture of the strong Orioles bullpens of the mid-2010s, posting a 3.32 ERA in 296 games over parts of six seasons.
No. 61: Dennis Martinez -- “El Presidente” only wore 61 as a rookie in 1976, but he gets the nod here in an extremely thin field.
No. 63: Kevin Gregg -- The durable reliever appeared in 103 games for the O’s from 2011-12, pitching to a 4.62 ERA with 22 saves.
No. 64: Mark Williamson -- A mainstay in the O’s ‘pen from 1987-94, Williamson enjoyed a solid rookie season in '87 wearing No. 64.
No. 65: Chaz Roe -- Roe is just one of three Orioles to ever wear No. 65. The side-winding setup man pitched to a 4.06 ERA across 45 relief appearances from 2015-16.
No. 66: T.J. McFarland -- Tanner Scott may one day surpass McFarland’s accomplishments in Baltimore. For now, the two lefty relievers are the only O’s to ever sport No. 66.
No. 67: John Means -- The unlikelihood of Means’ emerging as the AL runner-up for Rookie of the Year in 2019 is evident by his Spring Training-style number.
No. 69: Tommy Milone -- The journeyman southpaw went 1-4 with a 3.99 ERA in six starts for Baltimore in 2020, when he became the first Oriole to wear No. 69.
No. 70: Travis Lakins -- The righty reliever’s 2.81 ERA in 22 games in 2020 makes him the best of four Orioles to don No. 70 in a game.
No. 71: Oliver Drake -- The well-traveled reliever pitched to a 3.89 ERA in 30 games for the O’s from 2015-17.
No. 72: Robert Machado -- An Orioles backup catcher from 2003-04, Machado is the only Oriole to wear this number.
No. 73: Thomas Eshelman -- A right-handed control pitcher, Eshelman went 4-3 with a 5.22 ERA as a swingman for the O’s from 2019-20. He is the only player in franchise history to wear No. 73.
No. 74: Pat Valaika -- The versatile utility man became the first Oriole to wear No. 74 when he hit .277 with eight homers in 2020, playing six positions.
No. 75: Alan Mills -- A longtime reliever-turned-bullpen coach, Mills wore a coach’s number well before his coaching days.
No. 76: Mickey Jannis -- The right-handed knuckleballer became the first Oriole to wear No. 76 when he debuted, at age 33, in June 2021.
No. 78: Guillermo Rodriguez -- The backup catcher got seven plate appearances for the O’s in 2009 as a 31-year-old.
No. 79: Konner Wade -- The right-handed reliever made seven appearances for the club in 2021.
No. 80: Spenser Watkins -- Watkins became the first Oriole to wear No. 80 when he debuted in 2021, making 16 appearances in a swingman role for the team.
No. 82: Kelvin Gutierrez -- The sure-handed third baseman took over the hot corner down the stretch in 2021.
No. 83: Justin Turner -- Long before he turned into a star for the Dodgers, Turner wore this Spring Training number as a slap-hitting rookie for the O’s.
No. 84: Manny Barreda -- The longtime Minor League journeyman made his MLB debut in Sept. 2021 wearing No. 84, which no Oriole before him had worn.
No. 85: Bruce Zimmermann -- The Ellicott City native debuted for his hometown team in 2020.
No. 86: Brooks Kriske -- The right-handed reliever was named after Brooks Robinson, and made four relief appearances for the O’s in 2021.
No. 87: Ramón Urías -- The versatile infielder emerged as a fine contributor at second base for the O’s in 2021.
No. 88: Albert Belle -- Mercurial and well-paid '90s slugger was productive in Baltimore but retired two years into his five-year contract due to injuries.
Never worn: 76, 79, 80, 81, 82, 84, 86, 89-100