There is not much question to whom the greatest player to ever wear no. 52 was. It has to be Ray Lewis. Ray Lewis played 17 seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, and he was a pro-bowler 13 times. He is a shoe in for the Hall of Fame when his number is called. The middle linebacker was a two time defensive player of the year, he was voted a seven-time AP First Team All-Pro player, a three-time AP Second Team All-Pro selection, and the two time Super Bowl Champion was the MVP of Super Bowl XXXV.
Ray Lewis had a career 2,061 tackles, 19 forced fumbles, 117 passes defended, 102.5 tackles for a loss, 41.5 sacks, 20 fumble recoveries, 31 interceptions for 503 yards, one safety and three touchdowns in 228 games (Wikipedia). In his early playing career, Ray Lewis had some legal trouble where he was accused of murder. Some thought that he was guilty and that he would never play again after that, but he beat the wrap and became one of the best of all time at his position.
He began the Ray Lewis 52 foundation, which provides personal and economic assistance to disadvantaged youth. Lewis is now an annalist for ESPN and can be seen regularly, and most offensive players are happy that Lewis is no longer in the league. So my pick for the best to ever wear number 52 has to go to Ray Lewis.
The first person that came to my mind when thinking about who is the best athlete to ever wear No. 53 in sports was Harry Carson. I was at the Carson’s Hall of Fame induction in 2006 and being a Cowboys’ fan, I’m quite familiar with his work.
However, Carson takes a back seat, and earns honorable mention in this case. It’s just too hard to argue against Don Drysdale. He was a nine-time All-Star, a three-time World Series Champion and he was the Cy Young winner in 1962.
He was a member of the Brooklyn/Los Angels Dodgers from 1956-1969. He was most known for teaming with fellow pitcher Sandy Koufax to form one of the most dominate pitching duos in MLB history.
Some called him “Big D.” Others called him “The Hurler.” Regardless he intimated batters with his sidearm fastball. He set several MLB records, such as 58 scoreless innings and six straight shutouts.
He also had a decent bat. He was the club’s only .300 hitter and he tied an N.L. record of seven home runs for pitchers. When all said and done, he had 209 wins, 2,486 strikeouts, 167 competed games and 49 shutouts. In 1984, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. His number 53 was retired at Dodger Stadium and he will go down in the history books as the best to ever wear that number. Well, he will at least go down as the greatest player to ever wear No. 53 in the Hague Sports Countdown anyway.