The best baseball players born on Feb. 25

February 25th, 2024

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 Feb. 25:

1) Monte Irvin (1919)
Before baseball’s color barrier was broken in 1947, Irvin -- a Negro Leagues All-Star for the Newark Eagles in 1941, ’46, ’47 and ’48 -- was seriously considered to become the first Black player in the Majors. Though Jackie Robinson was the one to make history, Irvin joined the New York Giants in 1949 and was a star in his own right for the next eight seasons, and he was enshrined in the Hall of Fame in ’73. The left fielder was essential to the Giants’ run to the World Series in ’51, batting .312 with 24 homers and 121 RBIs while mentoring a young Willie Mays and finishing third in NL MVP voting.

2) Ron Santo (1940)
The iconic Cubs third baseman was a nine-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove winner, playing all but one of his 15 seasons with the team he debuted with in 1960 (he remained in Chicago but went to the crosstown White Sox for the ’74 campaign to close his career). Santo was treasured by generations of Cubs fans, both as a player and then as a radio broadcaster from 1990 until his death in 2010, and his longtime battle with Type 1 diabetes -- which he revealed publicly at Wrigley Field in 1971 -- raised awareness and funds to fight the disease. He was posthumously elected to the Hall of Fame in 2012.

3) Paul O’Neill (1963)
O’Neill, an Ohio native, was drafted by the Reds and earned a ring with the 1990 championship squad; he also once very effectively kicked -- yes, kicked -- a baseball from his position in right field to first base. Traded to the Yankees after the ’92 season and called “Warrior” by then-owner George Steinbrenner for the passion he often displayed for the game, the five-time All-Star was a beloved member of the dynasty that won the World Series in 1996, ’98, ’99 and 2000, and he received an emotional sendoff from fans in Game 5 of the 2001 Fall Classic. The Yankees retired his number in 2022.

4) Andy Pafko (1921)
A four-time All-Star with the Cubs, Pafko was a fan favorite who played in all seven games of the 1945 World Series -- the team’s last appearance in the Fall Classic until it finally returned and won it all in 2016. The outfielder also had stints with the Brooklyn Dodgers (he was in left when Bobby Thomson of the New York Giants hit his “Shot Heard ’Round the World”) and the Milwaukee Braves during his 17 seasons, and he is well-known among baseball card collectors for his 1952 Topps card, which once sold for $83,970.

5) (1992)
The powerful Soler hit three go-ahead home runs for the Braves in the 2021 Fall Classic, making him one of six players who can claim they did that in a single World Series and earning unanimous series MVP honors. With Atlanta hoisting the trophy for the first time in 26 years, it made the last-minute deal to acquire the outfielder at the Trade Deadline look like an absolute steal. Soler also won a ring with the Cubs in 2016. After playing two seasons with the Marlins, Soler inked a three-year deal with the Giants in 2024.

Others of note:

Shannon Stewart (1974)
Stewart stole 51 bases in 1998, his first full season in the Majors. While he never reached that mark again, he did hit .300 in each of the next four campaigns for the Blue Jays before spending the latter part of his career with the Twins and A’s. The outfielder returned to Toronto in 2008 to play in 52 games in his final season.

Want to see more baseball birthdays for Feb. 25? Find the complete list on Baseball Reference.