The best baseball players born on Dec. 13

December 13th, 2022

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. 13:

1) Fergie Jenkins (1942)
Jenkins won 284 games and a Cy Young Award and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991. The righty led his league in strikeouts once and complete games four times. But there was one statistic he truly dominated during his illustrious 19-year career -- homers allowed. A whopping 484 total, good for third all-time. On seven occasions Jenkins paced the league in this category, including a career high of 40 in 1979. In short, the lanky Canadian was never afraid to throw strikes and the homers were a byproduct of that. Look no further than Jenkins’ best season as a pro. In his 1971 Cy Young campaign, he went 24-13 and fanned 263 batters while walking just 37. Oh yeah, he also led the league with 29 homers allowed.

2) Larry Doby (1923)
Doby’s impact on the game of baseball is immeasurable. On July 5, 1947, he became the first Black player in the American League and the second overall, debuting fewer than three months after Jackie Robinson first played for the Brooklyn Dodgers. The native of South Carolina was a superb player, too, earning enshrinement into the Hall of Fame in 1988 after being voted in by the Veteran’s Committee. His career season came in 1954 with Cleveland when the center fielder led the league with 32 homers and 126 RBIs, finishing second to Yogi Berra in AL MVP voting. The eight-time All-Star retired in 1959 after amassing 273 homers, 1,094 RBIs and a .287 career average over his 17-year career.

3) Carl Erskine (1926)
A lifetime Dodger, beginning with his rookie 1948 season in Brooklyn and culminating in 1959 with Los Angeles, the curveball-tossing righty threw two no-hitters in his career, both at Ebbets Field. He also set what was then a World Series record by striking out 14 in the Dodgers’ Game 3 win of the 1953 Fall Classic against the Yankees. After losing three World Series to the Bronx Bombers, including back-to-back from 1952-53, Erskine’s Dodgers broke through and toppled the Yankees in '55, winning their only championship in Brooklyn.

4) Lindy McDaniel (1935)
After slumping as a starter, he transitioned quickly to a relief role with the Cardinals, leading the league with 27 saves in 1960. That season he was selected to the All-Star squad and finished fifth in NL Most Valuable Player voting and third in the Cy Young Award race, becoming the first reliever to garner a Cy Young vote.

Lindy McDaniel (left) poses with his brother Von, a fellow pitcher, during Spring Training in 1958.

5) Ricky Nolasco (1982)
A stalwart in the Marlins’ rotation from 2006-13, Nolasco holds the club record for victories with 81. He made four Opening Day starts during stints with the Marlins, Twins and Angels. The right-hander’s best season came with Florida in 2008 when he went 15-8 with a 3.52 ERA in 34 starts across a career-high 212 1/3 innings.

Want to see more baseball birthdays for Dec. 13? Find the complete list on Baseball Reference.