The best baseball players born on Dec. 17

December 17th, 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 Dec. 17.

1) Chase Utley (1978)
Utley was a core piece to the success of the Phillies from 2007-11, when they won a pair of National League pennants and a World Series in '08. Overall, the second baseman spent 12 1/2 of his 16 MLB seasons with Philadelphia (his final 3 1/2 were with the Dodgers), earning six All-Star selections and four Silver Slugger Awards. He hit .353 with a pair of doubles and a homer in the 2008 NL Championship Series against the Dodgers to help the Phils clinch their first pennant in 28 years. Though they didn't repeat as World Series champs, Utley hit .296 with six homers during the 2009 postseason, five of which came against the Yankees in the Fall Classic alone.

2) Leo Cardenas (1938)
Cardenas was a five-time All-Star shortstop who spent the first nine seasons of his 16-year MLB career with the Reds from 1960-68 before playing for the Twins, Angels, Cleveland and the Rangers. He also won a Gold Glove Award in 1965 with Cincinnati.

3) Bob Ojeda (1957)
Ojeda is best known for being a key member of the starting rotation for the 1986 Mets as they won it all with a seven-game World Series victory over the Red Sox. He posted career bests with a 2.57 ERA and 217 1/3 innings pitched during the regular season before pitching 27 strong innings that postseason, giving up seven runs (2.33 ERA) over four starts, all of which were Mets wins. In a 15-year MLB career, the left-hander had a 3.65 ERA, also pitching for the Red Sox, Dodgers, Cleveland and the Yankees.

4) Taylor Rogers (1990)
Rogers has been a dependable reliever since he made his MLB debut in 2016 for the Twins, earning his first All-Star selection in '21, when he posted a 3.35 ERA over 40 appearances. His best campaign came in '19, when he pitched to a 2.61 ERA over 60 appearances, striking out 32 percent of the batters he faced while picking up 30 saves for Minnesota. Rogers spent 2022 with the San Diego and Milwaukee, before inking a deal with San Francisco, where he'd join his twin brother, Tyler, in the Giants' bullpen in '23.

5) Tyler Rogers (1990)
Tyler, Taylor's twin brother, had a breakout season for the Giants in 2021, finishing with a 2.22 ERA over an NL-leading 80 appearances for San Francisco. The sidewinding right-hander had a 57.3 percent ground ball rate, which he coupled with a 32.4 percent hard-hit rate to generate outstanding results that helped the Giants win a franchise-record 107 games and their first NL West title in nine years. Tyler made 68 relief appearances in back-to-back seasons for the Giants in 2022 and '23.

Want to see more baseball birthdays for Dec. 17? Find the complete list on Baseball Reference.