Wisconsin has quietly built up quite the history of great professional athletes. Between the Bucks, Brewers, and Packers, a plethora of high-profile athletes have spent any number of years in the great state of Wisconsin. In this series, we will take a look at the best players to wear each jersey number. In this edition, we are looking at the best players who wore numbers 21 through 25.
Number 21- Charles Woodson: Green Bay Packers (2006-2012)
After making the Pro Bowl in each of his first four professional seasons with the Oakland Raiders, it seemed that Charles Woodson’s career with on the decline. The Packers, though, took a chance on Woodson and signed him in 2006. Woodson rewarded the Packers with a career-high eight interceptions in 2006.
Beginning in 2008, Woodson started one of the most dominant defensive streaks in Packers’ history. From 2008-2012, Woodson made four Pro Bowls and two All Pro Teams. In addition, he led the NFL in interceptions twice, racking up nine in 2009 and and seven in 2011. His best season as a Packer was 2009, when he led the NFL in interceptions and defensive touchdowns. He won the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year Award that season, as well.
Famously, Woodson broke his collarbone in Superbowl XLV, but was often seen celebrating on the sideline with his arm in a sling. The Packers have had many great leaders in their long history, but Woodson ranks near the top. His interceptions numbers rank near the most in NFL history and he will be found in Canton before too long.
Honorable Mention: Don Sutton (Brewers); Travis Shaw Brewers)
Number 22- Christian Yelich: Milwaukee Brewers (2018-Present)
A sure-fire way to get onto this list is to win a MVP Award. Christian Yelich should have two. That, however, is a topic for another piece.
After coming to Milwaukee in one of the most one-sided trades in MLB history, Yelich hit .326/.402/.598 with 36 home runs and 110 RBI. These numbers were far better than any season he had in Miami. His production won him the 2018 NL MVP Award, an All-Star selection, and a Silver Slugger. Quickly, Yeli had become a fan-favorite in Milwaukee.
In 2019, Yelich was doing the impossible: he was actually putting up better numbers than in his MVP year, hitting .329/.429/.671 with 44 home runs and 97 RBI. Unfortunately, he broke his kneecap, fouling a ball off of it and missed the final 32 games of the season. Had he not gotten hurt, he just might have won his second straight MVP. This offseason, he signed a long-term deal with the Brewers that ensures that he will spend the rest of his career with the Brewers.
Honorable Mention: Michael Redd (Bucks); Khris Middleton (Bucks)
Number 23- Ted Simmons: Milwaukee Brewers (1981-1985)
Recent Hall of Fame inductee Ted Simmons may not have spent the majority of his career with the Brewers, but he sure did make an impact on the team. It should not be considered an accident that his arrival in Milwaukee also marked one of the most successful stretches in team history.
Ted Simmons came to Milwaukee in a trade that also brought in Rollie Fingers and Pete Vuckovich. In five seasons with the Brewers, Simba hit .262/.311/.399 with 66 home runs and 394 RBI. He would make two All-Star teams as a Brewer, as well. His best season in Milwaukee was 1983 when he hit .308/.351/.448 with 13 home runs and 108 RBI.
For a long time, Simmons was considered the best catcher not in the Hall of Fame. Fortunately, the Veterans’ Committee remedied that this year and he was properly enshrined in Cooperstown.
Number 24- Willie Wood: Green Bay Packers (1960-1971)
Besides winning a MVP Award, another sure-fire way to get on this list is to be in the Hall of Fame. Willie Wood, one of the greatest defensive backs in NFL history, is certainly deserving of this spot as the best player to wear number 24. Not only is he one of the greatest defensive backs, he may very well be the greatest undrafted free agent in Packers (or NFL) history.
We will talk about Willie’s defensive stats in a moment, but first we want to highlight the fact that in his 12-year career, Willie did not miss a single game. Not one. He put it all out on the field, was a fierce competitor, and helped bring home five NFL titles to Green Bay.
In his 12 seasons, Wood made eight Pro Bowls and five All Pro Teams. In 1962, Wood led the NFL with nine interceptions, which would remain his career-high. He finished his legendary career with the Packers with totals of 48 interceptions and 16 recovered fumbles. He still holds the NFL record for most consecutive starts by a safety. Willie Wood was finally elected to the Hall of Fame in 1989.
Honorable Mention: Ben Oglivie (Brewers)
Number 25- Paul Pressey: Milwaukee Bucks (1982-1990)
Paul Pressey may never have been an All-Star. He may not have been the Bucks’ leader in any statistical category. However, he was a member of the Bucks starting rotation during one of the most winning stretches in team history. These teams had high numbers of wins in the regular season, but were often unable to get passed the Lakers and Celtics.
Paul Pressey was a solid shooting guard/small forward hybrid, who complimented star players Sidney Moncrief and Junior Bridgeman very well. His best personal season was the 1984-1985 season. In that campaign, he scored 16.1 points per game and averaged 5.4 rebounds and 6.8 assists. By the time his eight seasons in Milwaukee were over, Pressey had put up career averages of 11.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 5.6 assists. The numbers may not be flashy, but he certainly got the job done.
Honorable Mention: Dorsey Levens (Green Bay Packers)
More in the Series
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