Cliff Mapes Wore Three Retired Jerseys

Editor at Large


Photo from the Robert Taylor Collection

Cliff Mapes wore three uniform numbers that were eventually retired by the major league baseball teams for which he played during his five-year career.

Mapes, the Pryor resident who died in December 1996, patrolled the outfield between 1948 and 1952 for the New York Yankees, the St. Louis Browns and the Detroit Tigers.

He was given No. 3 when he made his debut with the Yankees on April 20,1948, at the age of 26.

Less than two months later, on June 13, uniform No. 3 was in the national spotlight when the Yankees retired the number.

It had been worn by Babe Ruth, and on that date, he made his final appearance at Yankee Stadium. Following Ruth’s emotional farewell speech, the jersey with the bold numeral 3 on the back was delivered to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Mapes donned the uniform jersey No. 13 that day and wore it through the remainder of the 1948 season.

Ruth died of cancer two months later, on Aug. 16.

In 1949, Mapes wore No. 7 on his back. Two years later, when a rookie centerfielder from Oklahoma broke into the Yankees’ lineup, he took uniform No. 6.

The rookie, of course, was Mickey Mantle.

Mapes, and his No. 7, remained with the Yankees until July 31, 1951, when his contract was sold to the St. Louis Browns. Upon Mapes’ departure, Mantle requested, and received, No. 7.

The Yankees retired Mantle’s number in 1969.

Mapes played out the ‘51 season in St. Louis, wearing No. 46, before being traded to the Tigers.

Arriving in Detroit, Mapes received uniform No. 5. The number had been worn in the ‘30s and ‘40s by Hank Greenberg.

Mapes batted a career high .295 in 1952 and then retired.

The Tigers retired the jersey No. 5 in 1983.

Ruth, Mantle and Greenberg are members of the baseball Hall of Fame.

Mapes wore five numbers as a major leaguer. Only two – 13 in New York and 46 in St. Louis – have not been retired.

Updated 08-09-2011

Back to Top


email (we never post emails)
  Textile Help

Back to Top

Contact GTR News