Editor's Note: James earned a B.S. - Accounting in 1991 and a Master of Accounting in 1992 from FSU. Born in Tallahassee, James resides in Greensboro, N.C.
I'm a numbers guy - always have been, always will be. I'm proud of my Algebra II award from high school, although I believe that my certificate is tucked away somewhere in a box in the deep, dark corner of my closet, along with my fifth grade report card, the small trophies I received every year from T-ball through little-league (I believe my lifetime batting average was only around .167), and other items that defined my childhood.
Perhaps this is one reason why I loved baseball growing up - after all, it is the ultimate numbers game. No other sport attaches numbers to its players as much as baseball. Who will supplant Ted Williams as the most recent to hit .400? Will anyone ever touch Joe DiMaggio's 56 game hit-streak? Hank Aaron's 755 home runs? Tommy Lasorda's 176 expletives per inning?
As a CPA, I see plenty of numbers throughout the course of a day. For example, I know that you can get a really good shredder for less than 50 bucks, and lying to the feds will get you 10-15 years.
But the numbers I love the most do not involve baseball. Nor do they involve accounting and taxes. They certainly aren't the ones in my bank account, because there aren't too many of those to be concerned about.
The numbers I love the most are ... get this ... FSU football jersey numbers! Okay, maybe love is a strong word. Perhaps I should use "memorable" or "favorite" instead.
I cannot remember my mother's birthdate, but I can darn sure tell you that Weegie Thompson once wore number 18 for the 'Noles. Although I cannot remember my membership number whenever I rent a movie, I could tell the clerk that Tony Smith wore both 83 and 49 during his career at FSU. Or that the Holloman brothers wore numbers 24 and 30.
I know, you're saying to yourself, "Wow, I'm impressed. That and a dollar would buy you a grade-change at Tennessee." But there are a lot of practicaluses for my acquired skill. For example, I remember my in-laws' phone number because of Todd McIntosh and Felton Hayes. I remember my ATM code courtesy of two former Noles (yeah, right, like I'm telling you that one). My locker combination at the YMCA is Tracy Sanders-Martin Mayhew-Fred Biletnikoff (go ahead, take my smelly socks if you want them).
By the way, the above numbers are 94, 46, 16, 32, 25. And don't ask me why I use Tracy Sanders instead of Chris Weinke or Chris Rix.
Which jersey number has been the most successful at FSU? Now that's a good point to debate.
Number 16 is now used by our starting quarterback, but it was also used by Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke and the aforementioned Tracy Sanders. Amp Lee and Monk Bonasorte wore number 42. Brothers Fred and Marvin Jones wore number 55, along with another very good linebacker in Brian Allen.
Casey Weldon, Rick Stockstill, Dexter Jackson, and Devin Bush wore number 11 (but so did Jared Jones). Brad Johnson and Danny Mac wore number 14. I believe Blair Williams did also - for some reason he didn't have a spear on the side of his helmet.
Warrick Dunn boasted number 28, along with some very good defensive backs in Keith Jones, Dedrick Dodge, and Chris Hope.
But the most prolific jersey number has to be ... drumroll, please ... good ol' number 53. Paul Piurowski. Odell Haggins. Clay Shiver. Corey Simon. And sadly, Devaughn Darling, who would have most likely made a similar impact on the field as the others.
On the flipside, why haven't any great players worn number 98? Or 82? (No offense to Bart Schuchts or Patrick Hughes).
And my mother said that all those years of worshiping Florida State football wouldn't amount to anything.
Now, when was her birthday?