Who’s the best Wisconsin sports figure to wear each jersey number? Using this exercise from Chicago as inspiration, we thought we’d try to find out. And it’s not easy.
The Packers will place LeRoy Butler’s No. 36 up on the façade at Lambeau Field tonight, and spoiler alert: Butler is going to make the list below.
But gauging athletes by their “biggest impact,” who should make the cut? Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or Ron Dayne at No. 33? Khris Middleton or Christian Yelich at 22? CC Sabathia or Clay Matthews at 52? Max McGee or Greg Jennings at 85?
First, the rules:
- “Impact” is judged from their time as a Wisconsin athlete and not necessarily what happened later in their careers, so you won’t see Admirals titan Phil Wittliff or Brewers manager Craig Counsell on the list, even though they played for their hometown teams and made their greatest impact later.
- We’re sticking to college and professional athletes, not high-school stars who went on to become great somewhere else. To be frank, tracking down those jersey numbers would be … a challenge.
- How can, for example, three great college years be bigger than 12 decent-but-unspectacular pro years? It’s a fair question. College sports obviously have a different framework (and the athletes are naturally not as talented as their pro counterparts), so we give them a benefit of the doubt; it’s why Jonathan Taylor gets the edge on Johnny Logan or Rickie Weeks.
- It’s all subjective, of course. There’s a good chance you can make a perfectly good case for one of the runner-up finishers. And hey, let jus know all about it! [email protected] If you think we missed someone, let us know that, too.
Some of the calls are easy. Some will make you say, ‘Wait, who?’ and one number will force a decision between three different retired jerseys.
0 – Markus Howard, Marquette basketball (2016-20)
Howard’s 2,761 points are easily the most in MU history, with 434 career 3-pointers on 42.7% from deep.
Others: Donte DiVincenzo, Milwaukee Bucks; Lazar Hayward, Marquette basketball
1- Oscar Robertson, Milwaukee Bucks (1970-74)
The legendary NBA star joined the Bucks late in his career but proved to be the missing piece that guided Milwaukee to its first championship in 1971.
Sincere apology: Del Crandall, Milwaukee Braves (1953-63). Four Gold Gloves, eight All-Star seasons and 159 home runs for one of Milwaukee’s underappreciated legends.
Others: Lauren Carlini, Wisconsin volleyball; Johnny Davis, Wisconsin basketball; Dominic James, Marquette basketball; Mike Richter, Wisconsin hockey
2 – Jamar Fletcher, Wisconsin football (1998-2000)
In three years, racked up 21 interceptions, five pick-6s and a litany of awards, included two first-team All-American nods, a Big Ten defensive player of the year honor and a spot on the Big Ten’s all-decade team.
Sincere apology: Mike Michalske, Green Bay Packers (1929-35, 1937). Comparing eras is tough. Fletcher or a superb guard and fullback with seven first-team All-Pro seasons and three NFL titles who happens to be in the NFL Hall of Fame?
Others: Junior Bridgeman, Milwaukee Bucks; Mason Crosby, Green Bay Packers; Sydney Hilley, Wisconsin volleyball
3 – Dwyane Wade, Marquette basketball (2001-03)
The superstar fronted a thrilling run to the 2003 Final Four, including a triple-double over Kentucky in the Elite 8, and returned MU basketball to the map.
Sincere apology: Tony Canadeo, Green Bay Packers (1941-52). One of six numbers retired by the franchise, Canadeo’s Hall of Fame resume includes nine interceptions, 16 passing touchdowns, 45 punts, 579 receiving yards, 4,200 yards rushing, 26 running scores and the 1944 championship.
Others: Lee Evans, Wisconsin football; Rose Lavelle, Wisconsin soccer
4 – Brett Favre, Green Bay Packers (1992-2007)
This is the only number retired by all three major pro franchises in the state. But while Paul Molitor and Sidney Moncrief are legends, Favre is the one who won a championship and defined a generation of Wisconsin sports, all while becoming the NFL’s all-time leader in passing touchdowns and yards.
More: Brett Favre delivers his magnum opus one day after the death of his father
Sincere apology: Paul Molitor, Milwaukee Brewers (1978-92). The Ignitor made five All-Star teams and won two Silver Sluggers during his Hall of Fame career, much of which was spent in Milwaukee as the smooth-swinging staple of 1980s Brewers baseball.
More: Paul Molitor’s 39-game hitting streak comes to a dramatic conclusion
Sincere apology: Sidney Moncrief, Milwaukee Bucks (1979-89). The five-time All-Star won the first two NBA Defensive Player of the Year awards and figured prominently in Milwaukee’s successful run through the 1980s under Don Nelson.
5 – Paul Hornung, Green Bay Packers (1957–62; 1964–66)
The four-time NFL champion and NFL MVP could do it all, with 50 rushing touchdowns and 12 receiving, not to mention another five passing and 66 field goals.
Others: Brooks Bollinger, Wisconsin football; Blake Geoffrion, Wisconsin hockey; Geoff Jenkins, Milwaukee Brewers; Natisha Hiedeman, Marquette basketball; Peter Knezic, Milwaukee Wave; George Scott, Milwaukee Brewers
6 – Andrew Bogut, Milwaukee Bucks (2005-11)
Injuries mitigated what could have been an even better career for the No. 1 overall draft choice in 2005, but Bogut still nearly averaged a double-double in his career.
Others: Corey Clement, Wisconsin football
7 – Alan Kulwicki, auto racing (NASCAR 1986-93)
OK, so we’re kind of cheating by including his No. 7 Hooters car as a jersey number, but the West Allis native won the 1992 NASCAR Cup Series title and fashioned a significant underdog story in the process.
Sincere apology: Don Money, Milwaukee Brewers (1973-83). Four-time All-Star is often an underrated component of the first good Brewers teams. He’s all over the top-10 in Brewers history, including fifth in WAR.
Others: Lucius Allen, Milwaukee Bucks; Meghan Duggan, Wisconsin hockey; Don Majkowski, Green Bay Packers
8 – Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers (2007-20)
The 2007 Rookie of the Year and 2011 MVP became a superstar as the Brewers emerged into a perennial playoff team, with numerous unforgettable moments to his name.
Sincere apology: Marques Johnson, Milwaukee Bucks (1977-84). Beloved four-time All-Star with the Bucks has his jersey hanging from the rafters, and he’s still around the program as a TV announcer.
Others: Jimmy Banks, UW-Milwaukee soccer; Cole Caufield, Wisconsin hockey; Ryan Longwell, Green Bay Packers; Joe Pavelski, Wisconsin hockey
9 – Joe Adcock, Milwaukee Braves (1953-62)
Only one All-Star year but finished in the MVP voting four times and a big part of the 1957 championship team; he’s part of the Walk of Fame at American Family Field
Others: Travis Beckum, Wisconsin football; Larry Hisle, Milwaukee Brewers; Bob Pettit, Milwaukee Hawks; Phil Wittliff, Milwaukee Admirals
10 – Mark Johnson, Wisconsin hockey (1976-79)
Racked up 256 points for the Badgers and led them to the 1977 national title; he’s best known for his massive role in the Miracle On Ice and then for his coaching the UW women’s hockey team to six national titles.
Sincere apology: Bob Dandridge, Milwaukee Bucks (1969-77). The three-time All-Star and NBA Hall of Famer was an essential component of the first great Bucks teams.
Others: Sam Cassell, Milwaukee Bucks; Jan Stenerud, Green Bay Packers
11 – Darrell Bevell, Wisconsin football (1992-95)
Threw for 7,686 yards and 59 touchdowns, both the most in Badgers history, though he’ll forever be linked to his remarkable touchdown run and leading the Badgers to the 1993-94 Rose Bowl triumph.
Others: Allazia Blockton, Marquette basketball; Brook Lopez, Milwaukee Bucks; Richie Sexson, Milwaukee Brewers; Jordan Taylor, Wisconsin basketball; Robin Threatt, Wisconsin basketball
12 – Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (2005-present)
The no-brainer choice is one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history and a four-time MVP.
More: Rodgers tumbles in 2005 NFL Draft
More: Aaron Rodgers finds Jared Cook and the Packers stun the Cowboys in Dallas
More: The Packers win Super Bowl XLV
Others: Zeke Bratkowski, Green Bay Packers; Kayla Konwent, Wisconsin softball; Rick Olson, Wisconsin basketball; Lynn Dickey, Green Bay Packers
13 – Glenn Robinson, Milwaukee Bucks (1994-2002)
The former first overall draft pick was an essential part of the 2001 run to the Eastern Conference finals and is all over the franchise’s career leaderboard
Others: Chester Marcol, Green Bay Packers; Clarence Sherrod, Wisconsin basketball; Joah Tucker, UW-Milwaukee basketball
14 – Don Hutson, Green Bay Packers (1935-45)
The three-time champion and two-time MVP is on the short list for the title of greatest Packers player ever, revolutionizing the receiver position and doing enough to get his name on one of the most prominent sports buildings in the state.
Others: Jon McGlocklin, Milwaukee Bucks; Dean Meminger, Marquette basketball
15 – Bart Starr, Green Bay Packers (1956-71)
The MVP of the first two Super Bowls is viewed as one of the greatest Packers ever and best quarterbacks in NFL history, playing at a time before quarterbacks were so central to the game. A five-time NFL champion.
Sincere apology: Cecil Cooper, Milwaukee Brewers (1977-87). Like Starr at the Ice Bowl, he authored one of the greatest moments in Wisconsin sports history and is perhaps the franchise’s best player to not have his number retired.
Sincere apology: Butch Lee, Marquette basketball (1974-78). The Most Outstanding Player of the 1977 NCAA championship, a Naismith College Player of the Year and an eventual first-round draft pick.
Others: Sam Dekker, Wisconsin basketball; Dany Heatley, Wisconsin hockey; Terry Rand, Marquette basketball; Ben Sheets, Milwaukee Brewers; Joe Torre, Milwaukee Braves; Ron Vander Kelen, Wisconsin football
16 – Dana Rettke, Wisconsin volleyball (2017-21)
Unprecedented five-time first-team All-American and led Badgers to 2021 national championship, with a litany of UW records now etched in her name. She played in three Final Fours.
More: Dana Rettke wins Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year, becoming third in conference history to win twice
Sincere apology: Russell Wilson, Wisconsin football (2011). It’s an unforgettable season when Wilson arrived as a graduate transfer, leading the Badgers to the Rose Bowl, but it’s still just one season vs. a ridiculous career in this comparison.
More: Wilson leads Badgers to dramatic win in Big Ten title game
Others: Bob Lanier, Milwaukee Bucks; Sixto Lezcano, Milwaukee Brewers
17 – Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers (2014-21)
Set franchise single-season record for receptions and tied the touchdowns mark during an illustrious career that included two first-team All-Pro choices and five Pro Bowl selections.
Sincere apology: Jim Gantner, Milwaukee Brewers (1976-92). Never made an All-Star team, but one of the most beloved players in Wisconsin sports history, known more as a defensive stalwart while playing his entire 17-year career in Milwaukee.
Others: Mike Eaves, Wisconsin hockey; Matt Kenseth, auto racing; Bob Suter, Wisconsin hockey
18 – Jim Leonhard, Wisconsin football (2002-04)
A three-time All-American defensive back became the archetype for one of Wisconsin’s greatest traits, turning walk-ons into all-Big Ten players. Now serves as the interim head coach for his alma mater.
Others: Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers; Brianna Decker, Wisconsin hockey; Sherisa Livingston, Wisconsin volleyball
19 – Robin Yount, Wisconsin Brewers (1974-93)
Spent all of his 20 years with one franchise, becoming the team’s first Hall of Famer. Two-time MVP is still the franchise leader in numerous categories, like doubles, hits, RBIs, triples and games played. Started as an 18-year-old shortstop in the big leagues and became a center fielder by career’s end.
More: Robin Yount reaches 3,000 hits
20 – Gorman Thomas, Milwaukee Brewers (1973-83, 86)
Stormin’ Gorman was one of the most popular players of the Bambi’s Bombers/Harvey’s Wallbangers era, hitting 45 home runs in 1979 and 39 during the 1982 season that ended in the World Series.
Others: Jeromy Burnitz, Milwaukee Brewers; Krystal Ellis, Marquette basketball; Maurice Lucas, Marquette basketball; Jonathan Lucroy, Milwaukee Brewers; Juan Nieves, Milwaukee Brewers; Steve Novak, Marquette basketball; Don Sutton, Milwaukee Brewers; James White, Wisconsin football
21 – Warren Spahn, Milwaukee Braves (1953-64)
One of the most-difficult calls on this list, but it’s hard to deny a World Series champion and Cy Young winner with two no-hitters, two All-Star game starts and 14 All-Star appearances overall. For a period of 5-10 years, he was the best pitcher in baseball.
Sincere apology: Charles Woodson, Green Bay Packers (2006-12). The Hall of Famer reinvigorated the Packers into a Super Bowl champion, winning the 2009 Defensive Player of the Year before the run to the Lombardi trophy.
Others: Rufus “Roadrunner” Ferguson, Wisconsin football; Tony Granato, Wisconsin hockey; Jrue Holiday, Milwaukee Bucks; Alvin Robertson, Milwaukee Bucks
22 – Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks (2013-present)
Over Christian Yelich? It’s a tough call, but the three-time All-Star was a central piece in Milwaukee winning the 2021 NBA title, even if he’ll always be regarded as Robin to Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Batman.
Sincere apology: Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers (2018-present). A revelation for Milwaukee in his MVP 2018 season and brilliant 2019 follow-up, though an injury short-circuited that season and he hasn’t reclaimed that lofty production since. Will go down as one of the greatest trade acquisitions in Wisconsin sports history.
Others: Jim Chones, Marquette basketball; Lavvie Dilweg, Green Bay Packers; Ethan Happ, Wisconsin basketball; Jerel McNeal, Marquette basketball; Michael Redd, Milwaukee Bucks; Troy Vincent, Wisconsin football
23 – Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin football (2017-20)
Racked up more rushing yards than any NCAA running back through three seasons, won two Doak Walker awards and twice named a unanimous All-American.
Sincere apology: Ted Simmons, Milwaukee Brewers (1981-84). Two-time All-Star and Hall of Famer was one of the missing pieces for the 1980s Brewers on their path to the World Series.
Others: Jaire Alexander, Green Bay Packers; Hilary Knight, Wisconsin hockey; Johnny Logan, Milwaukee Braves; Greg Vaughn, Milwaukee Brewers; Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee Brewers
24 – Willie Wood, Green Bay Packers (1960-71)
Five-time NFL champion was first-team All-Pro as a safety five times and made eight Pro Bowls, and he’s now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Sincere apology: Michael Finley, Wisconsin basketball (1991-95). Averaged 20 points per game or more in three seasons on the front end of a Badgers wave of success; had his jersey retired in 2022.
Others: Ben Oglivie, Milwaukee Brewers; George Thompson, Marquette basketball
25 – Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin football (2011-14)
Doak Walker Award winner and Heisman finalist set the NCAA rushing record for yards in a game with 408 against Nebraska. He ran for another 251 in the 2015 Outback Bowl to close in his college career.
Others: Tony Bennett, UW-Green Bay basketball; Dorsey Levens, Green Bay Packers; Paul Pressey, Milwaukee Bucks
26 – Herb Adderley, Green Bay Packers (1961-69)
Hall of Famer won five NFL championships and was named first-team All-Pro four times. Scored the first defensive touchdown in Super Bowl history in Super Bowl II.
Sincere apology: Jeff Cirillo, Milwaukee Brewers (1994-99, 2005-06). His .307 batting average is still the best in club history.
Others: Billy Marek, Wisconsin football
27 – Victor Nogueira, Milwaukee Wave (1992-2003)
The veteran goalie was the face of Milwaukee soccer during his tenure in town, part of a 20-year indoor soccer career.
Others: Marc Behrend, Wisconsin hockey;Danny Lecours, Milwaukee Admirals; Bob Wickman, Milwaukee Brewers
28 – Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers (2005-11)
Burly power hitter won two Silver Sluggers, hit 50 home runs in 2007 and fronted a charge into baseball relevancy for the franchise.
Sincere apology: Montee Ball, Wisconsin football (2009-12). Doak Walker Award winner became the all-time leader in NCAA rushing touchdowns with 77.
Others: Anthony Davis, Wisconsin football; Dale Hackbart, Wisconsin football
29 – Chris Bosio, Milwaukee Brewers (1986-92)
Right hander won double-digit games in four different seasons and posted a 3.76 ERA.
Others: Charley Brock, Green Bay Packers; Richard Johnson, Wisconsin football
30 – Terry Porter, UW-Stevens Point basketball (1981-85)
Two-time All-American put all of WIAC basketball on the map and helped launch Dick Bennett’s career. A first-round draft choice in the NBA despite playing for a program that was then NAIA.
Sincere apology: Jessie Vetter, Wisconsin hockey (2004-09). Won NCAA-record 91 games and posted career record 39 shutouts, including two in the Frozen Four to lead Wisconsin to an NCAA championship. Won Patty Kazmaier Trophy as nation’s best player.
Sincere apology: Clarke Hinkle, Green Bay Packers (1932-41). Seven-time first-team All-Pro played in all three phases of the game and won two NFL titles during his Hall of Fame career.
Others: Ahman Green, Green Bay Packers; Clay Tucker, UW-Milwaukee basketball
31 – Jim Taylor, Green Bay Packers (1958-66)
Four-time NFL champion won an MVP and earned three first-team All-Pro nods in his Hall of Fame career. Fullback twice led the league in rushing touchdowns.
Others: Bo Ellis, Marquette basketball; David Greenwood, Wisconsin football; Doc Rivers, Marquette basketball
32 – Brian Winters, Milwaukee Bucks (1975-83)
Jersey hangs from the rafters after he averaged double figures in all eight of his Bucks seasons, with two All-Star appearances.
Others: Justin Beaver, UW-Whitewater football; John Clay, Wisconsin football; Julie Wojta, UW-Green Bay basketball
33 – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Milwaukee Bucks (1969-75)
Transcendent star who led Bucks to their first NBA championship and another NBA Finals, transforming the expansion franchise into a powerhouse. Franchise record for points stood until 2021. Won three MVPs in Milwaukee.
Sincere apology: Ron Dayne, Wisconsin football (1996-99). Set the all-time NCAA rushing mark, led UW to two Rose Bowl titles and obviously belongs on a list of the greatest ever in Wisconsin sports; it’s just a shame he wore the same number as Kareem.
Others: Lew Burdette, Milwaukee Braves; Jimmy Butler, Marquette basketball; Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers; Brent Moss, Wisconsin Badgers; Chari Nordgaard, UW-Green Bay basketball; Jeff Nordgaard, UWGB basketball
34 – Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks (2013-present)
Transcendent star who became an all-time underdog story, led the franchise to its first NBA title in 50 years, won two MVPs and now holds the franchise’s all-time scoring mark.
Sincere apology: Rollie Fingers, Milwaukee Brewers (1981-85). Hall of Fame reliever helped Brewers reach the playoffs for the first time, now has his number retired by Brewers. Won Cy Young and MVP award in 1981.
Sincere apology: Ray Allen, Milwaukee Bucks (1996-03). Three time All-Star and now Hall of Famer was driving force during Milwaukee’s 2001 run to the Eastern Conference finals.
Others: Terry Cummings, Milwaukee Bucks; Travis Diener, Marquette basketball, Pat Harder, Wisconsin football; Devin Harris, Wisconsin basketball; Tony Smith, Marquette basketball
35 – Alan Ameche, Wisconsin Badgers (1953-54)
Kenosha native set the NCAA career rushing record for the era with 3,212 and won the 1954 Heisman trophy, playing both fullback and linebacker; his number is now retired at Camp Randall Stadium.
Others: Claude Gregory, Wisconsin basketball
36 – LeRoy Butler, Green Bay Packers (1990-2001)
Spent his entire career with the Packers, earning four first-team All-Pro nods, winning the Super Bowl and appearing in another and finally earning induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2022.
Others: Nick Collins, Green Bay Packers; John Kotz, Wisconsin basketball
37 – Dan Plesac, Milwaukee Brewers (1986-92)
Three-time All-Star racked up 133 saves, a record that’s still standing and no longer in danger after the Brewers traded Josh Hader (125 saves).
Others: Sam Shields, Green Bay Packers
38 – Arnie Herber, Green Bay Packers (1930-40)
Wore multiple numbers during his lengthy career as Packers quarterback, though this was the one he wore the longest. Hall of Famer won four NFL titles and led the league in passing and passing touchdowns three times each.
Others: Devin Williams, Milwaukee Brewers; Tramon Williams, Green Bay Packers
39 – Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee Brewers (2018-present)
Winner of the 2021 National League Cy Young thanks to his mastery of the cut fastball and eye-popping strikeout totals. Also part of a dominant 2018 bullpen that reached the seventh game of the NLCS.
Others: Lary Sorensen, Milwaukee Brewers; Matt Vandenboom, Wisconsin football
40 – Elroy Hirsch, Wisconsin Badgers (1941-42)
“Crazylegs” is better known for what he did after his UW playing days, first at Michigan and then in the NFL when he fashioned a Hall of Fame career. The Badgers did go 8-1-1 in his lone season, beat No. 1 Ohio State and got huge contributions in passing, rushing and receiving from Hirsch, and he went on to become athletic director at the school. The Wausau native’s number is retired by the Badgers.
Sincere apology: Cal Hubbard, Green Bay Packers (1929-33, 1935). Hall of Fame tackle won three straight NFL titles and made three All-Pro teams, landing him on the NFL’s 100th anniversary team. He also happens to be the Baseball Hall of Fame as an umpire.
Others: Eddie Lee Ivery, Green Bay Packers
41 – Eddie Mathews, Milwaukee Braves (1953-65)
Along with Hank Aaron, the face of the Braves excellence in Milwaukee, selected to 12 All-Star games.
Sincere apology: Jolene Anderson, Wisconsin basketball (2004-08). The all-time scorer in UW basketball history with 2,312 points.
Others: Terrell Fletcher, Wisconsin football; Jim Slaton, Milwaukee Brewers
42 – Alando Tucker, Wisconsin Badgers (2002-07)
Wisconsin’s all-time leading scorer was program’s first consensus first-team All-American since 1942.
Others: Vin Baker, Milwaukee Bucks; John Brockington, Green Bay Packers; Morgan Burnett, Green Bay Packers; Scott Williams, Milwaukee Bucks; Tarek Saleh, Wisconsin football; T.J. Watt, Wisconsin football
43 – Jack Sikma, Milwaukee Bucks (1986-91)
Center joined Milwaukee for the final stage of his career and helped bolster the strong Bucks teams of the late 1980s, averaging 13.4 points and 7.9 rebounds over five seasons.
Sincere apology: Charles “Buckets” Goldenberg, Green Bay Packers (1933-45). Guard and running back was part of three championships and a member of the 1930s all-decade team.
Others: Wes Covington, Milwaukee Braves
44 – Hank Aaron, Milwaukee Braves/Brewers (1954-65, 1974-75)
One of the all-time greatest to ever play, Aaron won the 1957 MVP as the Braves won the World Series, making the All-Star team every year but his first. Went on to become the all-time leading home-run hitter in baseball history.
Sincere apology: Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin basketball (2011-15). National player of the year led the Badgers to back-to-back Final Fours and appearance in the 2015 title game.
Others: Donny Anderson, Green Bay Packers; Chris Borland, Wisconsin football; Bobby Dillon, Green Bay Packers; Don Kojis, Marquette basketball
45 – Rob Deer, Milwaukee Brewers (1986-90)
Home run-hitting outfielder was staple of 1987 Team Streak among other late-80s Brewers teams. Hit an unforgettable home run on Easter Sunday.
Others: Paul Mokeski, Milwaukee Bucks; Emlen Tunnell, Green Bay Packers; Howard Weiss, Wisconsin football
46 – Verne Lewellen, Green Bay Packers (1924-32)
Four-time All-Pro back won three NFL titles, went on to become the Packers general manager.
Others: Hank Gremminger, Green Bay Packers; Russ Letlow, Green Bay Packers
47 – Ed Jankowski, Wisconsin football (1935-37)
Two-time team MVP was a linebacker and fullback, becoming the program’s first NFL draft pick (by the Packers, no less, where he played five years and made a Pro Bowl).
Others: Jesse Whittenton, Green Bay Packers
48 – Mike Caldwell, Milwaukee Brewers (1977-1984)
Finished second in the 1978 Cy Young voting, the “Yankee killer” also pitched a shutout among two wins in the 1982 World Series.
Others: Jack Cichy, Wisconsin football; Jim Colborn, Milwaukee Brewers; Ken Ellis, Green Bay Packers; Pete Monty, Wisconsin football; Andy Pafko, Milwaukee Braves
49 – Teddy Higuera, Milwaukee Brewers (1985-94)
Left-hander has an argument as the best pitcher in Brewers history, including a 32-inning scoreless streak in 1987.
Others: Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee Brewers
50 – Tim Krumrie, Wisconsin football (1979-82)
Nose tackle graduated as the team’s all-time leading tackler, with three all-Big Ten selections. MVP of 1982 Independence Bowl and member of College Football Hall of Fame.
Sincere apology: Pete Vuckovich, Milwaukee Brewers (1981-86). American League Cy Young award winner in 1982 and a key part of a World Series run.
Others: AJ Hawk, Green Bay Packers; Johnny Holland, Green Bay Packers
51 – Jim Ringo, Green Bay Packers (1953-63)
Hall of Fame center made 10 Pro Bowls and was named first-team All-Pro seven times, with two NFL titles.
Others: Freddy Peralta, Milwaukee Brewers; Mike Webster, Wisconsin football
52 – Clay Matthews, Green Bay Packers (2009-18)
Linebacker made six Pro Bowls and catalyzed a defensive effort in winning Super Bowl XLV. Became the official all-time sacks leader in franchise history.
Sincere apology: CC Sabathia, Milwaukee Brewers (2008). Though he played only half a season, he left an unforgettable legacy, willing the team to the playoffs for the first time in 26 years.
Others: Cory Raymer, Wisconsin football; Frank Winters, Green Bay Packers
53 – Robert “Red” Wilson, Wisconsin football and baseball (1947-50)
Three-time team MVP for the football team played on both sides of the ball and also lettered four times at catcher for the baseball team before a Major League Baseball career with three teams. Led the program to its only national tournament berth, taking fourth place in 1950.
Sincere apology: Brandon Woodruff, Milwaukee Brewers (2017-present). Two-time All-Star has been essential to Milwaukee’s four-year run of making the playoffs, taking fifth in the 2021 Cy Young voting.
Others: George Koonce, Green Bay Packers; Alton Lister, Milwaukee Bucks
54 – Larry McCarren, Green Bay Packers (1973-84)
Center made two Pro Bowls and started 162 consecutive games before starting his broadcasting career.
Sincere apology: Mike Wilkinson, Wisconsin basketball (2001-05). First-team all-conference choice as a senior was only the second player to rack up 1,500 points and 800 rebounds in his Badgers career.
Others: Traci Edwards, UW-Milwaukee basketball
55 – Johnny “Blood” McNally, Green Bay Packers (1929-33)
Hall of Fame halfback won three NFL championships and earned a spot on the 1930s all-decade team. He wore several different numbers during his career, and this one is the one he wore in 1936, which isn’t necessarily his best year. Will we admit to stashing him where he was needed? Perhaps.
Others: Bernardo Harris, Green Bay Packers; Za’Darius Smith, Green Bay Packers
56 – Nick Barnett, Green Bay Packers (2003-10)
Linebacker registered nine interceptions and 15.5 sacks for Green Bay, with his final season on the Super Bowl-winning team.
Others: Julius Peppers, Green Bay Packers
57 – Francisco Rodriguez, Milwaukee Brewers (2011-15)
Two-time All-Star racked up 82 saves over a two-year window and also played a key role in the 2011 team’s run to the NLCS.
Others: Ken Bowman, Green Bay Packers
58 – Joe Panos, Wisconsin football (1992-94)
After transferring from UW-Whitewater, Panos became a rock for the Rose Bowl champion team in 1994, playing 32 straight games, earning second-team All-American at guard and becoming a primary example of the team’s culture of turning walk-ons into NFL-ready standouts.
Others: Dan Currie, Green Bay Packers; Joe Schobert, Wisconsin football
59 – John Anderson, Green Bay Packers (1978-89)
Waukesha native became a standout linebacker and made the 1980s all-decade second team. Finished with 25 interceptions and 24.5 sacks.
Sincere apology: John Axford (2009-13, 2021). Racked up 106 saves for third-most in franchise history, including a huge year in 2011 during the run to the NLCS.
Others: Derrick Turnbow, Milwaukee Brewers
60 – Darryl Sims, Wisconsin football (1980-84)
Defensive lineman was named all-Big Ten three times and registered 17 career sacks. Eventually drafted in 1985 by Pittsburgh in the first round. Later became athletic director at UW-Oshkosh.
Others: Lee Roy Caffey, Green Bay Packers;Bill Ferrario, Wisconsin football
61 – Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin football (2016-19)
Won the Rimington Trophy as the nation’s best center and was a unanimous All-American, with two first-team all-Big Ten selections.
62 – Marco Rivera, Green Bay Packers (1997-2004)
Three-time Pro Bowler at right guard was a key component of the Packers offensive line for almost a decade, appearing in 125 games and starting 111.
63 – Fuzzy Thurston, Green Bay Packers (1959-67)
Six-time NFL champion, one time first-team All-Pro and four-time second-team selection as guard. Paired with Jerry Kramer as key parts of the Packers’ power sweep.
Others: Corey Linsley, Green Bay Packers; Scott Wells, Green Bay Packers
64 – Jerry Kramer, Green Bay Packers (1958-68)
Five-time NFL champion and first-team All-Pro threw the famous block in the Ice Bowl. Part of the all-decade team in the 1960s and a Hall of Famer.
65 – Mark Tauscher, Green Bay Packers (2000-10)
Wisconsin native became a steady force and won a Super Bowl ring in his final season. Played in 134 games, starting 126.
Others: Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin football
66 – Ray Nitschke, Green Bay Packers (1958-72)
One of the most-feared defensive players in NFL history, a Hall of Famer with five NFL titles, two first-team All-Pro picks, five second-teamers and a spot on the 75th Anniversary all-NFL team.
Others: Beau Benzschawel, Wisconsin football; Mike Thompson, Wisconsin football
67 – Dan Buenning, Wisconsin football (2001-04)
Four-year starter at guard was a second-team All-American blocking for Anthony Davis and wound up drafted by the NFL in the fourth round.
Others: Mike Verstegen, Wisconsin football
68 – Gale Gillingham, Green Bay Packers (1966–1974, 1976)
Madison native was a two-time Super Bowl champion and three-time first-team All-Pro at guard, making five Pro Bowls.
Others: Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin football; Mike Wahle, Green Bay Packers
69 – David Bakhtiari, Green Bay Packers (2013-present)
Two-time first-team All-Pro (and three-time second-teamer) has been a rock at left tackle, allowing the Packers to maintain their status as one of the best in football.
70 – T.J. Lang, Green Bay Packers (2009-16)
Guard made two Pro Bowls and won a ring when the Packers won Super Bowl XLV.
Others: Dennis Lick, Wisconsin football; Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin football
71 – Josh Hader, Milwaukee Brewers (2017-2022)
Three-time NL reliever of the year became one of the most-dominant left-handers in baseball, making four All-Star teams.
Others: Santana Dotson, Green Bay Packers; Josh Sitton, Green Bay Packers
72 – Joe Thomas, Wisconsin football (2003-06)
Outland Trophy winner became a unanimous All-American and is one of the finest football players the state has ever produced.
Others: Earl Dotson, Green Bay Packers; Travis Frederick, Wisconsin football; Al Johnson, Wisconsin football
73 – Dan Lanphear, Wisconsin football (1957-59)
All-American and Madison Sports Hall of Famer named the nation’s lineman of the year for 1959 by the Los Angeles Times National Sports Awards, played in the 1960 Rose Bowl and even captained the UW track team.
Others: Daryn Colledge, Green Bay Packers; Seth McClung, Milwaukee Brewers; Aaron Taylor, Green Bay Packers; JC Tretter, Green Bay Packers
74 – Henry Jordan, Green Bay Packers (1959-69)
A first-team All-Pro defensive tackle five years in a row, Jordan was a staple on the teams that won the first two Super Bowls en route to the Hall of Fame. He later became director of Summerfest in Milwaukee.
Sincere apology: Tom Burke, Wisconsin football (1995-98). Racked up 22 sacks in 1998 and was one of the most-disruptive pass rushers UW has ever seen.
Others: Paul Gruber, Wisconsin football; Elgton Jenkins, Green Bay Packers; Aaron Kampman, Green Bay Packers
75 – Forrest Gregg, Green Bay Packers (1956-70)
Offensive lineman made nine Pro Bowls and seven first-team All-Pro units, with two Super Bowl wins as a member of the Packers. Later inducted into Hall of Fame and became Packers head coach.
Others: Bryan Bulaga, Green Bay Packers; Ken Ruettgers, Green Bay Packers; Chris McIntosh, Wisconsin Badgers
76 – Chad Clifton, Green Bay Packers (2000-11)
Steady left tackle started 160 of 165 career games, making two Pro Bowls and winning the Super Bowl in 2010-11.
Sincere apology: Bob Skoronski, Green Bay Packers (1956, 1959-68). Won five NFL championships and made one Pro Bowl, mostly playing left tackle but also seeing action elsewhere on the line. Hard to choose between Clifton and Skoronski.
Others: Mike Daniels, Green Bay Packers
77 – Wendell Bryant, Wisconsin football (1998-2001)
Two-time Big Ten defensive lineman of the year and three-time first-team all-Big Ten selection played a big role in two Rose Bowl victories and was taken with the 12th overall choice in the NFL draft.
Others: Ersan Ilyasova, Milwaukee Bucks; Cullen Jenkins, Green Bay Packers; Ron Kostelnik, Green Bay Packers; Dave Hanner, Green Bay Packers
78 – Rob Havenstein, Wisconsin football (2012-15)
Matched a career record with 54 games played, earned first-team All-American as a senior. Blocked for Montee Ball, Melvin Gordon and James White.
Others: Robert Brown, Green Bay Packers; Ross Kolodziej, Wisconsin football, Ross Verba, Green Bay Packers
79 – Aaron Gibson, Wisconsin football (1995-98)
Two-time all-Big Ten offensive lineman was a consensus All-American in 1998 and a first-round NFL draft pick in 1999.
Others: Ryan Pickett, Green Bay Packers
80 – James Lofton, Green Bay Packers (1978-86)
The Hall of Fame wide receiver made seven Pro Bowls during his time with the Packers and was once named first-team All-Pro. His 9,656 career receiving yards with the Packers remained a franchise record until Donald Driver broke the mark in 2011.
Sincere apology: Donald Driver, Green Bay Packers (1999-2012). This was one of the hardest calls on the list, pitting a Hall of Fame player against one of the most popular in franchise history (not to mention a player with big career stats). The three-time Pro Bowl receiver set the franchise record for career receptions and yards, capping his career with a Super Bowl title.
Others: Dave Schreiner, Wisconsin football
81 – Desmond Howard, Green Bay Packers (1996, 1999)
Only spent a brief time in Green Bay but became Super Bowl MVP with an electric kickoff return against the Patriots.
Others: Troy Fumagalli, Wisconsin football
82 – Paul Coffman, Green Bay Packers (1978-85)
Tight end made three Pro Bowls during his time with Packers.
Others: Lionel Aldridge, Green Bay Packers; Richard Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
83 – Clarence “Big Cat” Williams, Green Bay Packers (1970-77)
Defensive end started in 94 of 111 games, forcing eight fumbles in his career and appearing in every game but one during his time in Green Bay.
Others: John Jefferson, Green Bay Packers
84 – Sterling Sharpe, Green Bay Packers (1988-94)
Three-time All-Pro led the league in receptions three times, becoming the first to catch 100 passes a year (and then replicating it in 1992 and 1993). Injuries short-circuited a Hall of Fame path.
Others: Carroll Dale, Green Bay Packers; Jake Ferguson, Wisconsin football
85 – Max McGee, Green Bay Packers (1954, 1957-67)
Could have easily been MVP of the first Super Bowl after a legendary performance (seven catches, 138 yards, two touchdowns). He made only one Pro Bowl but also had a big catch in Super Bowl II and went on to a long broadcasting career calling Packers games.
Sincere apology: Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers (2006-12). Two-time Pro Bowler was a go-to option for both Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, including in Super Bowl XLV for the latter when he caught two scores.
86 – Antonio Freeman, Green Bay Packers (1995-2001, 2003)
Caught 57 touchdowns during his Packers tenure and led the league in receiving yardage in 2018, his lone All-Pro season. Caught another 10 scores in the playoffs, including one in Super Bowl XXXI and two in Super Bowl XXXII.
Others: Boyd Dowler, Green Bay Packers; Billy Howton, Green Bay Packers
87 – Willie Davis, Green Bay Packers (1960-69)
Defensive end was a five-time first-team All-Pro and won two Super Bowls before earning a spot on the 1960s all-decade team. Hall of Famer would almost certainly be the franchise’s all-time sacks leader if the stat had been kept throughout his career.
Sincere apology: Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers (2008-17). Made only one Pro Bowl but served as the trusty top option for Aaron Rodgers during the Packers’ run of success. Had a breakout performance in Super Bowl XLV with a touchdown catch. Named Comeback Player of the Year in 2016.
Sincere apology: Al Toon, Wisconsin football (1981-84). Established career records for receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches and qualified for the Olympic Trials in 1983 in the 110 high hurdles and the triple jump before getting drafted 10th overall.
Others: Robert Brooks, Green Bay Packers; Quintez Cephus, Wisconsin football
88 – Pat Richter, Wisconsin football (1961-63)
Madison native was a legendary athlete who lettered nine times in three different sports at UW. Tight end led the Big Ten in receiving twice and led the nation in receiving yards as a junior and had a wild Rose Bowl when he caught 11 passes for 163 yards. Went on to become an athletic director who helped resurrect the program in the early 1990s.
Others: Chris Chambers, Wisconsin football; Jermichael Finley, Green Bay Packers
89 – Dave Robinson, Green Bay Packers (1963-72)
Hall of Fame linebacker won two Super Bowls, earned All-Pro status three times (one first team) and landed on the 1960s all-decade team.
Others: Mark Chmura, Green Bay Packers; James Jones, Green Bay Packers
90 – B.J. Raji, Green Bay Packers (2009-15)
Pro Bowl defensive tackle made an unforgettable pick-6 play in the NFC championship game after the 2010 season.
Others: Erasmus James, Wisconsin football; Ezra Johnson, Green Bay Packers; Dan Voss, Wisconsin football
91 – Brian Noble, Green Bay Packers (1985-93)
Steady linebacker was kept out of the playoffs by an ACL injury; appeared in 117 career games for Green Bay.
Others: Don Davey, Green Bay Packers/Wisconsin football; Preston Smith, Green Bay Packers
92 – Reggie White, Green Bay Packers (1993-98)
There couldn’t be anyone else here. He was the missing piece that helped return the Packers to glory, with a Super Bowl title after the 1996 season as the topper, but even signing as a free agent changed the fortunes of a franchise that had been seen as “Siberia.”
93 – Gilbert Brown, Green Bay Packers (1993-2003)
The “Grave Digger” made life miserable for opposing rushing attacks during the Packers’ return-to-glory era, and he became an endearing but also nasty force on the defense.
94 – Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, Green Bay Packers (2000-08)
Racked up 74.5 sacks to become the official franchise all-time leader before Clay Matthews broke the mark.
95 – Bryce Paup, Green Bay Packers (1990-94)
Outside linebacker made a Pro Bowl in his final season and then became Defensive Player of the Year in Buffalo.
96 – Sean Jones, Green Bay Packers (1994-96)
Veteran defensive end helped Packers get over the hump as a playoff contender to a Super Bowl champion, posted 24.5 sacks in three seasons.
97 – Tim Harris, Green Bay Packers (1986-90)
Runner-up for the Defensive Player of the Year nod in 1989, All-Pro linebacker had 19.5 sacks that year and 55 over a five-year window in Green Bay.
Sincere apology: Kenny Clark, Green Bay Packers (2016-present). Two-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman has 22.5 sacks and 33 tackles for losses all before turning 27 years old.
98 – Gabe Wilkins, Green Bay Packers (1994-99)
Underrated defensive tackle during Green Bay’s rise into a Super Bowl champion.
99 – JJ Watt, Wisconsin football (2009-10)
Team MVP for the 2010 team that advanced to a Rose Bowl and second-team All-American at defensive end. Meteoric rise from a walk-on transfer from Central Michigan to eventually a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
Others: George Andrie, Marquette football; Dick Trickle, auto racing
JR Radcliffe can be reached at (262) 361-9141 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @JRRadcliffe.