What’s Your Number?

What’s Your Number?

Local releases book that shares the stories behind retired Arizona high school jersey numbers.

By Alison Bailin Batz

Do you know anyone who’s had their high school number retired?

Does your high school have retired numbers?

Do you ever wonder why?

If so, What’s Your Number? has all the answers. The book, the second from Arizona native and 30-year high school football and baseball official Scott Hanson, a Scottsdale resident, tells the fascinating stories behind every retired number at high schools across the state.

What’s Your Number? is the result of more than a year of research and interviews with Arizona’s high school athletic directors, administrators, alumni, librarians, local historians, long-time school employees, relatives of those honored, the honorees themselves, and others.

“It’s a natural sequel to my first book, Who Is Gym?, which was released in 2015 after three years of research to uncover the stories behind Arizona’s high schools and their sports venues,” says Hanson. “The idea for What’s Your Number actually began in much the same way as Who Is Gym?––while officiating.”

With Who Is Gym? Hanson was at Cactus High School with his football crew preparing to officiate the school’s varsity football game in 2012. The field was named M.L. Huber Stadium. Not familiar with Huber, Hanson asked a couple people at the school who he was. To his surprise, they didn’t know who Huber was either. Then a week later, his football crew was at Independence High School and he asked about the story behind their Tolmachoff Stadium. He got the same answer. It was then that he was motivated to action.

“Then two years ago, just after Who Is Gym? was published, I was umpiring at Paradise Valley High School, which has a long history of baseball success,” says Hanson. “Just after the national anthem, my fellow crew member Stan ‘The Man’ Hoover pointed to the right field fence and said ‘that’s your next book.’”

Hoover was motioning to the retired jersey numbers that adored the fence, and by the third inning, Hanson had already asked the coach about the stories and people behind those retired numbers. That began the formal research.

“This book shines a light on Arizona’s most legendary high school athletes, as well as those we lost too soon and those who inspired others to greatness,” says Hanson.

Among them are North Valley standouts including:

  • Former MLB pitcher and Arizona Diamondbacks legend Curt Schilling, whose number 19 is retired at Shadow Mountain High School
  • Former NBA point guard and UA great Mike Bibby, whose number 10 is retired at Shadow Mountain High School
  • Current MLB outfielder Peter Boujos, whose number 8 is retired at Notre Dame Preparatory
  • Current MLB catcher Tuffy Gosewisch, whose number 2 is retired at Horizon High School
  • Former MLB All-Star catcher Paul Konerko, whose number 9 is retired at Chaparral High School

Hanson also includes athletes like Olympic gold medal swimmer Misty Hyman, whose swim suit and swim cap are retired at Shadow Mountain, and famed long distance runner Jeff Cannada, whose track shoes were retired and his name emblazoned on the track at Greenway High School.

“There are also so many stories of amazing athletes beyond the pros and legends,” says Hanson. “Basketball player Jared Frame, for example, whose number 30 was retired at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He lost his life at just 20 years old just before his junior year at Baylor, where he played basketball, due to complications from a heart defect. In addition to his number no longer being issued, SCA’s national holiday basketball tournament is now called the Jared Frame Memorial Cactus Jam in his honor.”

What’s Your Number? is available for purchase now for $19.95, plus shipping and handling. For more information––or to purchase your copy today––visit scotthansonauthor.com.

 

 

 

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