Every number tells a story in <italics>Sports Illustrated</italics>'s newly published <bold>ANY GIVEN NUMBER</bold>. The striking, photo-driven book, SI takes a comprehensive look at jersey numbers 00 to 99, across all sports and eras, to decide which elite pro athlete wore each digit best. This gallery provides a sample of SI's best players to wear numbers 00 to 10. For a more in-depth look at the debate over these picks, along with who was chosen for Nos. 11-99, and why, grab a copy at your nearest book store or go to SI.com/anygivennumber.
2 of 12John Biever/SI
Parish stood tall against some of the all-time greats in his sport. The seven-footer teamed with Larry Bird and Kevin McKale in the iconic frontcourt that led the Celtics to three NBA titles in the 1980s. Parish earned those rings by taking on three of the league's legendary big men in the NBA Finals: Moses Malone in '81, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in '84 and Hakeem Olajuwon in '86. To purchase Any Given Number, go to SI.com/anygivennumber.
3 of 12Dan Donovan/MLB Photos via Getty Images; Ed Reinke/AP
The best defensive player in the history of the game, Ozzie is No. 1 among numbers 1. The Wizard owned the web gem before the term existed, but beyond his lengthy highlight reel the longtime Cardinal was remarkably consistent, setting records for assists and double plays by a shortstop. He also accumulated 2,460 hits in 19 seasons. To purchase Any Given Number, go to SI.com/anygivennumber.
4 of 12Chuck Solomon/SI
The shortstop is the Yankees' alltime hit leader, the calm and charismatic captain who led his team to five World Series championships. And yet, impressive as they are, numbers don't begin to measure his baseball instincts, his charisma or his grace on his sport's biggest stages. To purchase Any Given Number, go to SI.com/anygivennumber.
5 of 12AP
The Babe was more than a baseball star and the most popular athlete of his era. He was a cultural icon, a one-man metaphor for excellence in any field. If you're the Babe Ruth of podiatrists, suddenly podiatry sounds like a pretty cool line of work to be in. Want stats? Ruth is the game's greatest slugger -- but he also has the 17th-best ERA in history. (Yes, he pitched too.) He created the archetype of the modern slugger, and his exploits on and off the field made him the perfect Jazz Age superstar. A full century after his career began, he is still the Babe Ruth of sports. To purchase Any Given Number, go to SI.com/anygivennumber.
6 of 12Neil Leifer/SI
Orr is the choice at number 4, for far more than the Stanley Cup-winning goal he scored for the Bruins in 1970. (Though the image of Orr, arms raised in celebration as he literally flies across the crease, is legendary.) Bobby Orr, quite simply, transformed hockey. Before him, defensemen were just that: defenders. Orr led the NHL in scoring in 1969-70, and at the same time was rugged in his own zone. Orr scored 100 points in a season six times, before his knees failed him too young. He was forced to retire at 30 -- but he left behind a sport changed forever. To purchase Any Given Number, go to SI.com/anygivennumber.
7 of 12AP
There is great, and then there is Joe DiMaggio. The Yankee Clipper has the numbers and the accolades: three MVPs, .325 average, nine World Series rings. But he also captured the American imagination -- for his grace in the field, for his 56-game hitting streak in 1941, even for his rocky marriage to Marilyn Monroe. "He had fame that transcended mere celebrity," Ron Fimrite wrote in SI in '99. "For nearly half a century after his playing days had ended, Joe DiMaggio remained a regal presence in the public eye, a species of American aristocrat. I've known people who couldn't tell an infield fly from a household pest who nevertheless held the Yankee Clipper in awe." To purchase Any Given Number, go to SI.com/anygivennumber.
8 of 12John G. Zimmerman/SI
The best player on the greatest dynasty in professional sports was Bill Russell. The Celtics' big man averaged 22.5 rebounds in his career; between his mastery of the glass and his shot-blocking skills, few players have been more intimidating in the paint. But the big stat is that Boston won 11 NBA titles in 13 seasons from 1956-57 to '68-69 with Russell in the lineup. Few players in any sport can match Russell's leadership and championship résumé. To purchase Any Given Number, go to SI.com/anygivennumber.
9 of 12Peter Read Miller/SI
Elway's trademark was the fourth-quarter comeback and his most famous was "The Drive" in the 1986 AFC title game, when he marched his Broncos 98 yards in Cleveland to force overtime. In the course of his 16-year career, Elway matured from rawly talented escape artist to field general. And while his two Super Bowl wins came with great supporting casts, he provided the signature moment of those wins. To purchase Any Given Number, go to SI.com/anygivennumber.
10 of 12Arthur Daley/Diamond Images/Getty Images
The heart and soul of the Yankees dynasties of the '50s, Yogi Berra won three MVP awards and had a seven-year stretch during which he never finished lower than fourth in the voting. When Don Larsen threw his perfect game in the '56 World Series, who do you think was behind the plate? That game was an aberration for Larsen, who otherwise had a middling career, but it was right on track for Berra, who was on the receiving end of 173 shutouts. He was also a fixture in the Fall Classic: Berra won 10 World Series rings, the most of any player in baseball history. To purchase Any Given Number, go to SI.com/anygivennumber.
11 of 12Hy Peskin/SI
Williams set out to be the greatest hitter that ever lived, and it's hard to argue he wasn't. His career average: .344, tied for the seventh-best alltime. His on-base percentage: .482, the best ever. His slugging percentage: .634, second best. in 1941 he batted .406; no one has hit .400 since. He also smacked 521 home runs, a total depressed by the prime seasons he sacrificed to serve as a Marine pilot in World War II and the Korean War. To purchase Any Given Number, go to SI.com/anygivennumber.
12 of 12Jerry Cooke/SI
Soccer player of the century? Pelé was so much more. In 1999 he was named Athlete of the Century across all sports by the International Olympic Committee. (Take that, Babe Ruth.) The Black Pearl earned that distinction by dominating South American soccer with a parade of spectacular goals -- he had a record 1,281 in his career -- and by leading Brazil to World Cup victories in 1958, '62 and '70. He was such a star that when he came out of retirement in '75 to play for the New York Cosmos of the upstart North American Soccer League, he instantly raised the profile of a sport that had been largely ignored by U.S. audiences. To purchase Any Given Number, go to SI.com/anygivennumber.
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