Readers speak on Chicago’s greatest athletes by number

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Last week we ran a five-part series identifying Chicago’s greatest athletes at every uniform number from zero to 99.

You can catch up with it here: Part 1: Nos. 99-80; Part 2: Nos. 79-60; Part 3: Nos. 59-40; Part 4: Nos. 39-20; Part 5: Nos. 19-0.

In my column wrapping up the series, I summarized the five most difficult numbers to choose and solicited feedback from readers.

I’m happy to say there was a swell of responses to our picks — some positive, some negative, almost all constructive.

For starters there was a large contingent of readers who objected to Derrick Rose even getting mentioned in the same company as Blackhawks great Glenn Hall at No. 1.

Here’s an email from Simon M:

have enjoyed your series on chicago’s greatest athletes by the numbers, but including a comparison of derrick rose with glenn hall in your article today is indefensible. the name derrick rose should never, ever be mentioned in the same sentence with that of glenn hall, one of the greatest goalies of all time. in addition to his achievements in his play, glenn hall was a warrior. he holds the record for most consecutive games played by a goalie at 502, 552 to include playoff games. people said babe ruth’s home run record would never be broken, but it was. the same was said of ty cobb’s hit total, but that was broken as well. many of what seemed were untouchable records in other sports have fallen to the modern day athlete. but NO ONE will ever break glenn hall’s consecutive game streaks for a goalie. NEVER, EVER. glenn hall played most of his career in an era when goalies did not wear masks. he did not wear a mask during his consecutive game streak. he was as courageous an athlete as ever donned a uniform. derrick rose, in comparison, is a quitter, gutless, and a coward. charitably. after being cleared by every one of his doctor’s to participate in the playoffs he chose to sit. you are obviously too young to have had the privilege of watching glenn hall play. but you weren’t too young to do the research to find out about glenn hall. and you aren’t to young to know that rose abandoned his team that playoff season. i am stunned that this ever entered in your mind as a comparison.

And here’s one from David S., who offers a great point in defense of Hall as the choice at No. 1:

Reading your article today & whether Rose or Hall should be #!, I noticed a fact that you missed about Glenn Hall which solidifies his worthiness of being the #1 selection. Glenn Hall started 500+ CONSECUTIVE games for the Hawks, which earned him the Nickname Iron Man. I know it was a record for goaltenders, and not sure if anyone has broken that record. Nevertheless, that should end any discrepancy, especially with D. Rose’s physical track record. I wanted to share the info.

Another in agreement from John H.:

I really enjoyed your mini-series about uniform numbers. It brought back a lot of memories. Regarding your selection for uniform number 1 I agree with you but for a much simpler reason – the dude played goalie without a mask! Nuff said!

And another from Ron P.:

#1 in my mind no contest, Hall all the way. He played goalie all those years with NO mask. Rose takes nights and seasons off. Rose is not in the conversation.

There was a Twitter response, as well:

Here’s an assortment of additional tweets and emails I received from readers about a variety of numbers.

From Laura E:

Since I don’t have twitter, I am writing you with my comments. While I agree with most choices, I am once again annoyed by the way Chicago’s soccer history and fans are ignored. Without a doubt, Number 12 belongs to the Sting’s Karl-Heinz Granitza. A.J. Pierczynski doesn’t even come close. And as much as I love Ron Santo, I think a case for Number 10 can be made for the Fire’s Peter Nowak. And the Bears get too many players by default since close to half the numbers are worn almost exclusively by football players. But what made the article most interesting were the lower numbers which were open to debate. An entertaining exercise, though I wish the soccer players had been included.

From Bob H.:

Chellios was great but you forgot the most important man in Chicago sports history, papa Bear George Halas

From Mike O.:

How can you NOT HAVE GEORGE STANLEY HALAS AT # 7……… Disgraceful!

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