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Article from The Sporting Life, April 27, 1907

In 1907, Alfred Lawson, manager of Pennsylvania’s Reading Red Roses, decided to number his club’s uniforms in an effort to aid fans’ identification of players. With 14 men signed to his Atlantic League team, Lawson ordered numbers 1 through 12, 14 and 15, avoiding 13 in fear that no player would wear the unlucky figure. Though it is unclear if the club ever took the field with numbered duds, this marks the earliest-known instance in which a team experimented with numbering its players.


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