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Retired Numbers Added To Lambeau Field


For more than two decades, none of them were seen inside Lambeau Field. Not in representation of the Green Bay Packers, at least.

But that changed Thursday when a construction crew began the process of mounting the Packers' retired numbers of 3, 14, 15 and 66 at the north end of Lambeau Field, to be displayed within the stadium bowl for the first time ever.

"I like to put parts of our tradition every place we can within this new building," said Packers President/CEO Bob Harlan. "In the past we had the numbers hanging in our hallway in the old administration building, but I felt like we needed to get them out in public."

Respectively, the retired numbers honor halfback Tony Canadeo (3), receiver Don Hutson (14), quarterback Bart Starr (15) and linebacker Ray Nitschke (66).

The first to be officially retired was Hutson's in 1951, and his 14 hasn't graced a Packers uniform since his career ended in 1945.

Canadeo's 3 was retired in 1952 in conjunction with his retirement. Starr's 15 came next in 1973, two years after he ended his 15-year career.

The last to be retired was Nitschke's 66 in 1983, more than a decade after the linebacker retired in 1972.

Of the foursome, Nitschke is the only honoree that had his number worn by two other players between the end of his career and his number's retirement (Paul Rudzinkski in 1978 and Mike Lewis in 1980).

However, Canadeo's 3 is the only number to be worn in a game by a Packers player after it was retired.

That happened in 1961, when kicker Ben Agajanian was assigned the number by mistake, nine years after it was retired. A midseason pickup to handle kicking duties while halfback/kicker Paul Hornung addressed military service requirements, Agajanian first wore the number in the Packers' 35-17 win over the Los Angeles Rams (Nov. 19).

These days professional sports teams are hesitant to retire numbers because of the burden it places on equipment staffs to assign usable ones. This is especially true in football, where during last week's mini-camp the Packers had 90 players listed on their roster, including those in NFL Europe, plus five tryout players.

But in regard to retired numbers the Packers have always been selective.

There are 128 members of the Packers Hall of Fame and there are 20 individuals recognized by name within Lambeau Field for membership in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but there are only four retired numbers.

Among the oldest professional sports franchises, the Packers have made number retirement an especially rare privilege. Consider that the New York Yankees have 16 retired numbers, the Boston Celtics 21 and the Chicago Bears 13.

But if infrequent, the Packers' days of retiring numbers aren't over.

"I think you're going to have to look at No. 4 someday and say that it's going to be put up there," Harlan said. "I don't see how you turn your back on that.

"I think it's pretty obvious that we've been very picky about whose number was retired, and I do think you save it for that very special person. But I was here when Ray's number was retired and it was a very dramatic moment for that family.

"He was deeply affected by it, and I think we're going to have the same thing with Brett (Favre) someday."

But until it comes time for No. 4 to be added to the list, the Packers' four distinguished numbers will likely remain alone at the north end of Lambeau Field.

Still retired, but back in view.

Number Notes...

Although not officially retired, Earl "Curly" Lambeau is the only player in Packers history credited with wearing number 1 ... Reggie White's jersey was retired by the Packers in 1999. There are no plans to reissue his number 92 ... Paul Hornung's 5 hasn't been issued since 1988 ... Only five players have worn Brett Favre's No. 4 (1992-present). The others are: Verne Lewellen (1925-26), Herm Schneidman (1935-37), Chuck Fusina (1986) and Dale Dawson (1988) ... For official record purposes, a player is credited with wearing a number only when he wears it in a regular season or playoff game.

Retired Numbers History:

3 - Retired for Canadeo in 1952

1926 - Hector Cyre (T)

1935 - Bob Monnett (B)

1936-38 - Paul Miller (B)

1940 - Beattie Feathers (B)

1941-44 Tony Canadeo (B)

1944-45 Roy McKay (B)

1946-52 - Tony Canadeo (B)

1961 - Ben Agajanian (K)

14 - Retired for Hutson in 1951

1925-26 - Milton Gardner (G)

1927 - Earl "Curly" Lambeau (B)

1928 - Slick Lollar (FB)

1929 - Don Hill (B)

1930 - Merle Zuver (C)

1931-32 - Paul Fitzgibbons (B)

1933-34 - Johnny "Blood" McNally (B)

1935-45 - Don Hutson (E/DB)

15 - Retired for Starr in 1973

1925-26 - Myrt Basing (B)

1927 - Rex Enright (FB)

1928 - Paul Minick (G)

1929 - Red Smith (G)

1931 - Red Dunn (B)

1932 - Dexter Shelley (B)

1933 - Paul Young (C)

1935-38 - Chester Johnston (B)

1940 - Lou Brock (B)

1941 - Del Lyman (T)

1942 - Hal Hinte (E)

1945 - Ray Frankowski (G)

1945 - Chuck Sample (B)

1946 - Earl Bennett (G)

1947-49 - Damon Tassos (G)

1951 - Dick Afflis (G)

1952 - Babe Parilli (QB)

1954 - Bob Garrett (QB)

1955 - Charlie Brackins (QB)

1955 - Paul Held (QB)

1956-71 - Bart Starr (QB)

66 - Retired for Nitschke in 1983

1934 - Bob Monnett (B)

1939 - Earl Svendsen (C)

1940-41 - George Svendsen (C/LB)

1947-48 - Ralph Davis (G)

1950 - Don Stansauk (T)

1951 - Fred Cone (FB/K)

1952-56 - Deral Teteak (LB/G)

1957 - Al Barry (G)

1959-72 - Ray Nitschke (LB)

1978 - Paul Rudzinski (LB)

1980 - Mike Lewis (NT)

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