by Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist

Uniform numbers aren’t merely a way of identifying players in sports. They can be a game.

Admit it, Buffalo Sports Fan. You hear about the number 12 on a shirt, and you can still picture Jim Kelly. Same goes for Bruce Smith and 78. Gil Perreault and 11. (In the case of Bandits’ fans, John Tavares and 11.)

From there, you can start making up lists. Who is the greatest Sabre or Bill to ever wear a particular number? From there, it’s an easy jump to an All-Western New York team of numbers.
That’s what we’ve tried to do here.

We’re counting up from 99 to 0, with our pick for the greatest Buffalo athlete to wear each number.  Do you agree?


Aaron Schobel, Bills. You almost had to be in Buffalo to know how good Schobel was – or at least played against him. The second-round pick in 2001 had 78 sacks in 133 games as a Bill. He retired in 2009 after nine years, and never played with any other team. His quiet exit was in character. Others: Mario Williams, Bills; Mark Pike, Bills.

#95: Kyle Williams

#96: Leon Seals

#97: Cornelius Bennett

#98: Ron Edwards

#99: Marcell Dareus


Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has been involved in almost every aspect of the local sports scene for the last 40 years. He worked for WEBR Radio, the Buffalo Sabres' public relations department and The Buffalo News during that time. In that time he covered virtually every aspect of the area's sports world, from high schools to the Bills and Sabres and everything in between. Along the way, Budd served as a play-by-play announcer for the Bisons, an analyst for the Stallions, and a talk-show host. He won the National Lacrosse League's Tom Borrelli Award as the media personality of the year in 2011, and was a finalist for that same award in 2017. Budd's seventh and eighth books, one on the Transcontinental Railroad and the other about Ichiro Suzuki, are scheduled to be released in the fall.

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