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 Jan. 21:
1) Brandon Crawford (1987)
A three-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glove Award Winner and two-time World Series champion, Crawford is considered one of the game’s top defensive shortstops and has been a cornerstone of the Giants’ organization for over a decade. He had a career year in 2021 at the age of 34, slashing .298/.373/.522 with a career-high 24 home runs and finishing fourth in National League MVP voting.
2) Mike Tiernan (1867)
Tiernan, a right fielder, played all 13 years of his career with the New York Giants. He was the NL home run champion two years running from 1890-91 with 13 and 16, respectively (the latter leading both the AL and NL). Despite some impressive stats, he earned the nickname “Silent Mike” due to his tendencies for staying out of the spotlight and avoiding confrontation on the field.
3) Mike Krukow (1952)
The tall right-hander pitched for 14 seasons, seven with San Francisco, including his All-Star campaign in 1986 that saw him finish third in National League Cy Young Award balloting. Krukow, who has been a full-time commentator for the Giants since 1994, has won seven Emmy Awards for his broadcasting work.
4) Rusty Greer (1969)
The lifelong Ranger finished third in Rookie of the Year voting for the strike-shortened 1994 season. The left fielder slashed .305/.387/.478 with 119 homers across his nine Major League seasons, though his career was cut short by a series of injuries. Greer was inducted into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame in 2007.
5) Lew Fonseca (1899)
A steady-hitting second baseman who led the National League with a .369 batting average in 1929, Fonseca was also one of the first managers in baseball history to use film to analyze players, according to research presented to the Hall of Fame by Rob Pendell. He developed an interest in camerawork following an appearance in the 1927 movie “Slide, Kelly, Slide!” -- a fictionalized story based on the life of Mike “King” Kelly.
Others of note:
Jake Cronenworth (1994)
Cronenworth is already at No. 13 in wins above replacement among players born on Jan. 21 after just two years in the Majors, including the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. The versatile infielder finished second in Rookie of the Year voting in ‘20 and earned his first All-Star nod in ‘21.
Want to see more baseball birthdays for Jan. 21? Find the complete list on Baseball Reference.