The best baseball players born on Sept. 23

September 23rd, 2023

Who are the best players born on each day of the year? We have a list for every day on the calendar.

Here’s a subjective ranking of the top five for Sept. 23:

1. Matt Kemp (1984)
As a three-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glove Award winner, two-time Silver Slugger Award winner and runner-up in the 2011 National League MVP voting that, somewhat controversially, went to Ryan Braun, Kemp was a bona fide superstar at his peak. The Midwest City, Okla., native came up with the Dodgers and slashed .292/.348/.494 with 203 homers and 170 steals in 10 seasons with L.A. He went on to play for the Padres and Braves before returning to the Dodgers and having a resurgent 2018 season in which he was named an NL All-Star. Kemp also played with the Reds and Rockies. He tallied career 287 homers and 1,031 RBIs through 2020.

2. Jeff Cirillo (1969)
A product of Pasadena, Calif., Cirillo played 14 seasons with the Brewers, Rockies, Mariners, Padres, Twins and D-backs from 1994-2007. The third baseman was an All-Star in 1997 with the Brewers and 2000 with the Rox, and he was a career .296 hitter with 112 home runs and 727 RBIs in 1,617 games. He shares the MLB record of 99 consecutive errorless games at third base with John Wehner. Cirillo was inducted onto the Brewers’ Wall of Honor in 2014.

3. Pete Harnisch (1966)
The right-handed Harnisch, who was born on Long Island, pitched 14 seasons in the big leagues for the Orioles, Astros, Mets, Brewers and Reds. Dealt by the Orioles to the Astros in a fateful 1991 trade in which Curt Schilling and Steve Finley were also sent to Houston in exchange for Glenn Davis, Harnisch went on to his lone All-Star season that year. Two years later, he led the Majors with four shutouts. All told, Harnisch went 111-103 with a 3.89 ERA in 1,959 career innings.

4. Jim Rooker (1942)
A member of the 1979 World Series champion Pirates, the left-handed Rooker, who was born in Lakeview, Ore., pitched for 13 seasons and won 103 games with a 3.46 ERA in 1,810 1/3 innings. He was taken by the Royals in the Expansion Draft prior to their inaugural season of 1969, and on July 7 that year (in those days before the DH), he became the first member of the team to hit two home runs in a game, with both blasts coming off future Hall of Famer Jim Kaat. On June 4, 1970, Rooker took a no-hitter into the ninth inning against the Yankees. His best seasons were with the Pirates, for whom he went 82-65 with a 3.29 ERA in eight seasons. His surprise start for the Bucs in Game 5 was the turning point of the '79 Fall Classic for "The Family."

5. Dennis Lamp (1952)
Born in Los Angeles, the right-handed Lamp had a 16-season career as a breaking ball specialist for the Cubs, White Sox, Blue Jays, A’s, Red Sox and Pirates from 1977-92. He went 96-96 with a 3.93 ERA in 1,830 2/3 innings, primarily as a reliever. He finished 21st for the AL MVP after going 11-0 out of the bullpen for the 1985 Blue Jays, but his best season may have been when he posted a 2.32 ERA and a 1.095 WHIP in 42 relief appearances for the 1989 Red Sox. Lamp gave up Cal Ripken Jr.’s first career hit and Lou Brock’s 3,000th.

Others of note:
Lefty Stewart

Born Walter Cleveland Stewart in Sparta, Tenn., “Lefty” pitched for the Detroit Tigers, St. Louis Browns, Washington Senators and Cleveland Indians in a 10-season career from 1921-35, going 101-98 with a 4.19 ERA.

Joba Chamberlain (1985)
A product of Lincoln., Neb., Chamberlain debuted just a year after the Yankees took him in the first round of the 2006 Draft, prompting the “Joba Rules” in which his innings were carefully monitored. He had a 0.38 ERA in 19 appearances in the 2007 regular season but was famously frustrated by a swarm of midges in an AL Division Series appearance in Cleveland. Chamberlain wound up spending the vast majority of his 10 seasons in the big leagues pitching in relief, posting a 3.81 ERA in 385 appearances.

Jedd Gyorko (1988)
The Morgantown, W.Va., native played eight seasons for the Padres, Cardinals, Dodgers and Brewers from 2013-20 and finished sixth in the NL Rookie of the Year voting in his first season.

Want to see more baseball birthdays for Sept. 23? Find the complete list on Baseball Reference.