The best baseball players born on Dec. 1
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 Dec. 1.
1) Larry Walker (1966)
Just the second Canadian-born player inducted into the Hall of Fame after Fergie Jenkins in 1991, Walker went from a former hockey player with a serious knee injury to an MVP with the Rockies in 1997. The sweet-swinging lefty, Colorado's first player elected to the Hall, was three-time batting champ, seven-time Gold Glove Award winner and five-time All-Star. He blasted 383 homers and drove in 1,311 runs over his 17-season career. Walker was also a superb baserunner, stealing 230 bases, with a career-high 33 during his MVP campaign. After six seasons with the Expos, he signed with the Rockies as a free agent in April of 1995 and played 10 seasons in Colorado. An Aug. 6, 2004, trade saw Walker head to St. Louis, where he played the final two seasons of his career. The outfielder was a solid postseason performer with St. Louis, too, homering six times and driving in 12 runs in 24 games.
2) George Foster (1948)
For the first seven seasons of his career, Foster was a middling slugger with just 63 homers to his name. Then came 1977. Already a two-time World Series winner with the Big Red Machine in 1975 and '76, Foster turned in a season for the ages. Coming off a runner-up finish in NL MVP balloting, Foster elevated his slugging numbers into the stratosphere with 52 homers and 149 RBIs. He also batted .320 and scored a league-best 120 runs. Foster’s homer total in ’77 was the most since Willie Mays’ 52 home runs in ’65, and the 50-homer mark wasn’t reached again until Cecil Fielder smashed 51 in 1990. He paced the league in homers with 40 in 1978, but never eclipsed that mark the rest of his career. Foster was traded to the Mets on Feb. 10, 1982, where he spent five seasons before signing as a free agent with the White Sox. He lasted just 15 games with the South Siders before being released and calling it a career.
3) Javier Báez (1992)
The 2018 MVP runner-up and two-time All-Star was NL Championship Series MVP for the Cubs in '16 as they advanced to the World Series with a six-game win over the Dodgers. The second baseman went just 5-for-30 with 13 K's in the Fall Classic, but played a pivotal role on defense as the North Siders beat Cleveland in six games for their first World Series triumph since 1908. On July 30, 2021, Báez was traded to the Mets, where he hit .299 in 47 games with nine homers and 22 RBIs. "El Mago" is known for his incredible range and won a Gold Glove Award for his defensive exploits during the 2018 season. That year was also his best at the plate so far as he blasted 34 homers and drove in a league-best 111 runs. He was granted free agency Nov. 3, 2021, and not quite a month later signed a six-year deal with the Tigers.
4) Ed Reulbach (1882)
The right-hander was one of baseball's most dominant pitchers during the early 1900s, throwing a then-NL record 40 straight scoreless innings late in the 1908 season. He went 24-8 that year, his third straight season leading the league in winning percentage. In Game 2 of the 2006 World Series for the Cubs, Reulbach tossed a one-hitter in a 7-1 victory over the White Sox. In 1908, Reulbach pitched two games as the Cubs topped the Tigers in the Fall Classic. The franchise wouldn't win another World Series until ending its drought in 2016.
5) Reggie Sanders (1967)
Sanders played for eight different teams over his 17 seasons in the Majors. His 33 homers and 90 RBIs in 2001 helped propel the D-backs into the postseason, where they went on to stun the Yankees in an epic seven-game World Series. While playing for the Cardinals in 2005, Sanders had a monster NLDS against the Padres, driving in 10 runs in St. Louis' three-game sweep. Sanders is also the only player to hit 20 or more homers for six different teams and became the fifth member of the 300-homer/300-stolen base club when, as a Royal, he went deep against the Devil Rays on June 10, 2006.
Want to see more baseball birthdays for Dec. 1? Find the complete list on Baseball Reference.