The best baseball players born on Aug. 14

August 14th, 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 Aug. 14:

1) Mark Gubicza (1962)
Gubicza broke in with Bret Saberhagen and Danny Jackson as the Royals turned to youngsters in their rotation in the 1980s and were rewarded with a World Series title in ’85. Gubicza peaked from 1988-89, earning All-Star status both seasons and finishing third in the ’88 American League Cy Young Award voting after he went 20-8 with a 2.70 ERA. The right-hander had rotator-cuff surgery in 1990 and never regained that top form, but he lasted 14 seasons in the Majors and earned 132 wins while compiling a bWAR mark of 37.4, easily tops among players born on Aug. 14.

2) Mark Fidrych (1954)
Fidrych’s total WAR (11.3) isn’t among the best for players born on Aug. 14, but "the Bird" merits ranking here by shining so bright so early. The Tigers right-hander was the AL Rookie of the Year in 1976, when he befuddled hitters with impeccable location and fastball movement to go 19-9 while topping the Majors with a 2.34 ERA and a 159 ERA+. He was a 20-year-old sensation, capturing fans across the country with his exuberance and idiosyncrasies, such as talking to the ball and patting the mound. Only two years out of high school, he threw 24 complete games and pitched 250 1/3 innings in ’76. The bill soon came due: Fidrych developed arm trouble the next year and was out of the Majors after the 1980 season. Perhaps his short career only added to the legend of Fidrych. In retirement, he bought a farm back home in Massachusetts. He died there at age 54 in 2009 after an accident while working underneath a truck.

3) Mark Loretta (1971)
A useful infielder with the Brewers for many years, Loretta developed into an All-Star second baseman with the Padres (2004) and Red Sox (2006) in the second half of his 15-season career. Loretta had his best offensive years during a three-year stint in San Diego, 2003-05. He posted a slash line of .314/.377/.438 in that time and took home an NL Silver Slugger Award in ’04. Since his final season in 2009, Loretta has worked in the Padres’ front office and spent 2019 as the Cubs’ bench coach.

4) Joe Horlen (1937)
Horlen pitched 11 seasons with the White Sox and then earned a World Series ring while spending his last season with the champion A’s in 1972. The right-hander made one relief appearances in that World Series. Horlen reached double digits in wins for seven straight years with Chicago, including an All-Star season in 1967, when he led the AL with a 2.06 ERA and tied for the MLB lead with six shutouts. With the 1960s dominated by pitching, Horlen was in the upper echelon: His 2.32 ERA from 1964-68 was the best in the AL in that span.

5) Juan Pierre (1977)
Pierre played a lot of baseball over the course of his 14-year MLB career. The outfielder appeared in 821 consecutive games from 2002-07. (One appearance was strictly as a pinch-runner, however, which does not count toward a streak in official records.) Pierre led MLB in plate appearances in 2003 and topped the NL in ’04. Pierre, the regular leadoff hitter for the Marlins’ 2003 championship team, was a league leader in hits twice, triples once and stolen bases three times. Yet he was never an All-Star. Perhaps that was the cost of being a contact-and-speed player in an era of moonshots. Pierre struck out only 479 times in 8,280 career plate appearances and finished with a .295 batting average, 2,217 hits and 614 stolen bases.

Others of note:
Clay Buchholz (1984)
Buchholz broke into the Majors with a bang in 2007, throwing a no-hitter against the Orioles in his second start. The right-hander didn’t appear in the postseason that year because of shoulder fatigue as the Red Sox took the title, but he was 12-1 with a 1.74 ERA for Boston’s 2013 championship club. Buchholz had two All-Star seasons during his 10 years with the Red Sox. He then closed his career with one-year stops in Philadelphia, Arizona and Toronto.

Josh Bell (1992)
Bell hit 26 or more home runs in three of his first four full MLB seasons. The first baseman’s 2019 All-Star campaign with the Pirates showed his potential: .277/.367/.569, 37 homers, 116 RBIs and 300 total bases. He was traded to the Nationals in December 2020, and went to win a Silver Slugger Award with the Padres in 2022. He signed with the Guardians before the start of the 2023 season, before being dealt to the Marlins in a Trade Deadline deal.

David Peralta (1987)
A study in perseverance, Peralta washed out as a Minor League pitcher but never gave up. He started over as an outfielder in independent ball and worked his way to the Majors. He spent the first nine seasons of his career with the D-backs and earned one Gold Glove and one Silver Slugger Award during his time in Arizona.

Paul Dean (1912)
Daffy in name only, Dean won 19 games in each of his first two MLB seasons, joining his more accomplished brother, Dizzy, in the Cardinals’ rotation. Paul Dean threw a no-hitter as a rookie and won two World Series games as the Cardinals took the title in 1934. He developed shoulder trouble in his third season and never matched his early success, calling it a career after nine seasons and 50 wins. He died in 1981 at age 68.

Billy Myers (1910)
Myers was the starting shortstop on the Reds’ 1939-40 World Series squads, helping them earn a championship in ’40. He died in 1995 at age 84.

Want to see more baseball birthdays for Aug. 14? Find the complete list on Baseball Reference.