The best baseball players born on Jan. 21

January 21st, 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 Jan. 21.

1) (1987)
A three-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glove Award Winner and two-time World Series champion, Crawford has been one of the game’s top defensive shortstops for over a decade. He had a career year at the plate 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. 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.

An 1887 Old Judge card of Mike Tiernan. (Library of Congress/Bain Collection)

3) (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 numerous Emmy Awards for his broadcasting work.

4) (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) Jake Cronenworth (1994)
After just four years in the Majors, Cronenworth is ninth in wins above replacement among players born on Jan. 21 -- and that includes the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. The versatile infielder finished second in Rookie of the Year voting in ’20 and earned All-Star nods in ’21 and ’22.

Others of note:

Lew Fonseca (1899)
A steady-hitting second baseman who led the NL 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.

White Sox manager Lew Fonseca greets Tigers skipper Mickey Cochrane on Opening Day 1934. (AP)

Want to see more baseball birthdays for Jan. 21? Find the complete list on Baseball Reference.