The best baseball players born on Oct. 9

October 9th, 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 Oct. 9:

1) Joe Sewell (1898)
Sewell, the first of two Hall of Famers on this list, found his way to the Majors in August 1920 in the aftermath of one of the game’s most horrifying moments -- Ray Chapman’s death after he was hit in the head with a pitch. When Chapman’s replacement sustained a leg injury, Cleveland called Sewell up from the Minors and made him its primary shortstop the following season. One hallmark of Sewell’s career was his longevity: Between Sept. 13, 1922, and April 30, 1930, he played 1,103 consecutive games. Another, and the most impressive, was his penchant for avoiding the whiff. In 1932 he recorded just three strikeouts over 576 plate appearances, and he finished his career with 114 K’s over 8,333 plate appearances, for an otherworldly .014 strikeout percentage.

2) Brian Downing (1950)
The player known as “The Incredible Hulk” began his career as a catcher for the White Sox, but after a trade to the California Angels and an ankle injury that limited his playing time behind the dish, he found his greatest success as an outfielder. In 1982 and 1984, he led the American League in fielding percentage, going errorless in both seasons. (He was a tad shakier in 1983, when he committed … one.) Fun fact: Downing played himself in a 1985 episode of “The Jeffersons,” appearing in the Angels’ locker room when “Weezy” went looking for Reggie Jackson.

3) Starling Marte (1988)
Nearly 130 players in the history of the game have homered in their first Major League at-bat, but only 31 have gone deep on the first pitch. Among that elite group is Marte, who introduced himself to Bucco Nation, Houston starter Dallas Keuchel and the world with a bang on July 26, 2012. Marte has bounced around a bit since making his debut, with stints for the D-backs, Marlins and A’s. He inked a four-year deal with the Mets prior to the start of 2022 season, and he was an All-Star in '22, helping New York to a 101-win campaign.

4) Rube Marquard (1886)
The second Cooperstown inductee born on Oct. 9 is Marquard, who made his debut in 1908 for the New York Giants. Three years later, he led the National League in winning percentage (.774) and strikeouts (237). His efforts and those of Christy Mathewson (26 wins) carried the Giants to the first of three consecutive NL titles. He then began the 1912 season with 19 consecutive victories on his way to an NL-best 26 wins. He wrapped up his Giants tenure in 1915, but not before putting a no-hitter on his list of achievements. As fate would have it, the team he no-hit was the Brooklyn Robins, whom he would join later that season.

5) Brian Roberts (1977)
Since we have two Hall of Famers, why not two Brians? The two-time All-Star (and 2005 starter) spent 13 of his 14 years in the bigs in Baltimore, twice topping the American League in doubles (50 in 2004 and 56 in 2009, when he also led the Majors). He is also a one-time AL steals leader, tying Carl Crawford with 50 in 2007. Roberts enjoyed some personal and historic milestones in 2008, when he recorded his 1,000th career hit and his 250th double, and made the final out at the old Yankee Stadium. He spent the 2014 season with the Yankees before retiring from the game.

Want to see more baseball birthdays for Oct. 9? Find the complete list on Baseball Reference.