The best baseball players born on April 21

April 21st, 2024

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 April 21:

1) Ken Caminiti (1963)
Caminiti was a three-time All-Star and a three-time Gold Glove third baseman during his 15-year MLB career. After establishing himself with the Astros, he had a monster year with the Padres in 1996 to take National League MVP honors. Caminiti posted a slash line of .326/.408/.621, plus 40 home runs and 130 RBIs. He did so while using steroids, he later confessed, becoming one of the first players to acknowledge benefiting from performance enhancing drugs. Caminiti struggled with addiction, especially so in retirement. He died of a drug overdose in 2004 at age 41.

2) Jesse Orosco (1957)
For Mets fans, it’s a moment frozen in time: Orosco strikes out Boston’s Marty Barrett for the final out of the 1986 World Series and flings his glove skyward, seemingly never to come down. Time, of course, did march on, and Orosco was far from done after reaching the MLB apex. The left-hander pitched through 2003, 24 seasons in all, and set a career record with 1,252 games pitched. A closer for the Mets, he morphed into a setup role with the champion 1988 Dodgers and then became a lefty-on-lefty specialist to extend his career. Witness his final two seasons: Orosco made 121 appearances but totaled only 61 innings.

3) Gary Peters (1937)
The 1960s were a decade dominated by pitchers, with such icons as Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal and Don Drysdale in their heyday. Peters, for a time, was within shouting distance of those all-time greats. Pitching for the White Sox, the left-hander claimed American League ERA titles in 1963 and ’66. He was a 20-game winner in 1964 and an All-Star that year and in ’67. Peters developed back and shoulder issues before spending the last three seasons of his 14-year career with the Red Sox. He finished with a 124-103 record and a 3.25 ERA.

4) Joc Pederson (1992)
Though he hasn’t solved left-handed pitching, Pederson has made his mark with prodigious power and an ability to rise to the moment. The outfielder was an All-Star as a rookie in 2015 but hasn’t been back to the Midsummer Classic. Instead, he has reached the postseason every year. “Joctober” indeed. Pederson clubbed 12 postseason home runs before age 30 and played on back-to-back World Series champs with the Dodgers in 2020 and the Braves in ’21. He became only the ninth player to win a World Series in back-to-back seasons with two different teams.

5) Al Bumbry (1947)
Bumbry was the AL Rookie of the Year in 1973, when he batted .337 in 110 games, stole 23 bases and led the league with 11 triples. He remained a key contributor to the Orioles through 1984, a period in which Baltimore was an elite franchise -- winning four AL East crowns, reaching two World Series and taking the championship in 1983. Bumbry, an All-Star in 1980, began as a left fielder but inherited center field from Paul Blair, one of the game’s all-time great defenders, in 1977 and held the position through ’84. He spent his final season with the Padres in 1985, finishing with a career batting average of .281 and 254 steals in 14 seasons.

Others of note:
Dick Green (1941)
The second baseman played all 12 of his MLB seasons with the A’s, in both Kansas City in Oakland. He started every World Series game during Oakland’s three straight championships from 1972-74.

Hardy Richardson (1855)
Richardson lived up to the nickname “Old True Blue” by playing every position over the course of his 14-year career (1879-92). He twice topped the Majors in homers -- with 11 for the Detroit Wolverines in 1886 (tied with future Hall of Famer Dan Brouthers) and 16 for the Boston Reds of the Players' League in 1890. He died in 1931 at age 75.

Kip Wells (1977)
The right-hander pitched 12 years in the big leagues, made 219 starts and logged more than 1,300 innings. He also led the NL in losses twice (and the Majors once).

Jordan Romano (1993)
The right-handed reliever posted a 1.97 ERA from 2020-21 with the Blue Jays. He also struck out more than 12 batters per nine innings in each of his first three big league seasons.

Jack Leiter (2000)
The son of former All-Star pitcher Al Leiter, Jack was selected second overall in the 2021 MLB Draft by the Rangers, and he made his Major League debut a few days before his 24th birthday in 2024.

Want to see more baseball birthdays for April 21? Find the complete list on Baseball Reference.