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Famous Number 13s

While many athletes consider the number 13 unlucky, here are some pros who did not suffer from triskaidekaphobia and had some success with the number on their backs.


While no baseball player wearing the number 13 has ever had his number retired, here are several active ballplayers who have been successful with the supposedly cursed number.

Jim Leyritz, former catcher for the New York Yankees, hit an eighth-inning, game-tying home run off of Atlanta relief ace Mark Wohlers in the pivotal game four of the 1996 World Series. The Yanks went on to win the game and their 23rd World Series title after they had fallen behind the Braves two games to none. Leyritz wore Number 13.

John Valentin, infielder for the Boston Red Sox, while wearing the number 13 completed the first unassisted triple play in the American League in nearly 30 years on July 8, 1994. The anything-but-unlucky Valentin recently signed a four year, $25 million contract extension with the Sox.

Turk Wendell gained notoriety for his on-field antics while wearing the number 13 as a pitcher for the Chicago Cubs. Wendell's eccentricities did not end with his offbeat jersey number selection. He was known for chewing licorice on the mound, brushing his teeth in the dugout between innings, and drawing symbols in the dirt near the pitching rubber.


Wilt Chamberlain, the dominant player of his era, scored an NBA-record 100 points against the New York Knicks on March 2, 1962. The 7-foot-2 Chamberlain, who won NBA championships with two teams, was league MVP four times, and retired as the league's all-time leading scorer and rebounder. The NBA Hall of Famer's number 13 is now retired by both the Lakers and the 76ers.


Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino, who is considered by some to be the greatest passer in NFL history, wears the number 13. Marino has thrown more touchdowns, for more yards than anyone in NFL history, and holds numerous other career and single season passinrecords. Still, Marino has never won the ultimate prize, a Super Bowl trophy. Maybe there is something to this superstition.

Don Maynard, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is considered one of the greatest receivers in AFL history. His epic performance in the 1968 AFL championship game against the Oakland Raiders, in which he caught six passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns, propelled the Jets to victory. The win gave the upstart Jets a berth in Super Bowl III, where they made good on quarterback Joe Namath's brash guarantee to beat the heavily-favored Baltimore Colts in what is still the biggest upset in Super Bowl history. Maynard now has his number 13 retired by the Jets.


While no all-time greats wore the number 13 in the NHL, that could now change with an influx of talent from Europe and Russia. In fact, Russians German Titov, Valeri Kamensky, Slava Kozlov and Andrei Nikolishin, all wear 13.

This service is produced by Information Please, a partner of

Written by Gerry Brown for Information Please

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