Giants By The Numbers: 75 Is For ...

Three tremendous New York Giants' linemen have worn this number. Jim Katcavage from 1956-68, George Martin from 1975-88 and Keith Hamilton from 1992-2003.

No disrespect to Hamilton, whose history clearly has indicated he has never been the sort of character who takes kindly to being disrespected, but for me this is a choice between Katcavage and Martin.

The winner has to be Katcavage, simply because he was a much more highly-decorated player than Martin during his 13-year career.

In a career that began in the championship season of 1956 and lasted until 1968, Katcavage played mostly at left defensive end. He made the Pro Bowl three times and was named first-team All Pro in both 1961 and 1963.

Here is a passage about Katcavage from Lew Freedman's 'New York Giants: The Complete Illustrated History.'

Katcavage played in the shadow of [Andy] Robustelli at the other defensive end, but when Robustelli retired, Katcavage got all-star attention. It was a better-late-than-never scenario, but gave football fans a fresh appreciation of Katcavage's prowess. Katcavage felt his best all-around season came in 1958, long before all-star voters noticed him, but he believed his best game came in 1961 against the Cardinals when he sacked the quarterback five times. He compared that achievement for a defensive lineman to "Mickey Mantle hitting four home runs in four times up."

Sack stats were not kept when Katcavage played, but research done since that time credits the 6-foot-3, 237-pound Katcavage with 96.5 sacks for his career, which would be third all-time for the franchise.

Martin finished a 14-year career with 46 sacks and a key role in the Giants' victory over the Denver Broncos in the 1986 Super Bowl. He never made a Pro Bowl appearance.

Hamilton, a terrific nose tackle, had 63 sacks and 387 tackles during a 12-year Giant career. Like Martin, voters never saw fit to send him to a Pro Bowl -- an honor both he and Martin should likely have deserved at least once.

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