The best baseball players born on Jan. 30

January 30th, 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. 30:

1) Davey Johnson (1943)
Johnson’s successful managerial career was highlighted in 1986, when he guided the Mets to a World Series title. But before becoming one of baseball’s most respected skippers, he enjoyed a 15-season Major League career that included four All-Star selections and three Gold Glove Awards. After totaling 66 homers while playing for the Orioles from 1965-72, he hit a career-best 43 homers (one as a pinch-hitter) for the 1973 Braves. He teamed with Hank Aaron (40) and Darrell Evans (41) to become the first trio of teammates to hit 40-plus homers in a season. His 42 homers as a second baseman stood as a single-season record until the Blue Jays’ Marcus Semien broke it with 45 homers in 2021.

2) Tony Mullane (1859)
Mullane’s 284 career victories weren’t enough for him to be elected to Baseball’s Hall of Fame. But the former pitcher certainly constructed an interesting career. He became an ambidextrous pitcher while dealing with a right arm injury during his rookie season and he threw the first no-hitter in the American Association’s history. The Society for American Baseball Research noted the pitcher was also a competitive ice skater and roller skater. Mullane is a member of the Reds’ Hall of Fame.

3) Charlie Neal (1931)
Neal was a two-time All-Star who helped the Dodgers win their first World Series after moving to Los Angeles. The speedy infielder went 10-for-27 with two homers and two doubles while helping the Dodgers win the 1959 Fall Classic. He garnered three All-Star selections and finished eighth in NL MVP balloting after tallying 11 triples, 19 homers and 17 stolen bases in 1959.

4) Walt Dropo (1923)
Dropo finished sixth in MVP balloting and was named the American League’s Rookie of the Year after hitting .322 with 34 homers, 144 RBIs and a .960 OPS for the 1950 Red Sox. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound first baseman hit 29 more homers in 1952, but steadily faded after his early success. But the man known as The Moose from Moosup ended up tallying 152 homers over 13 big league seasons.

5) Jorge Cantu (1982)
Cantu never tasted consistent success over five big league seasons. But the infielder hit 28 homers for the Rays in 2005 and he enjoyed a 29-homer season for the 2009 Marlins. During that latter season, Cantu, Mike Jacobs, Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla teamed to become the first set of four infielders from one team to hit at least 25 homers in a season. The only other group to since do this was the 2021 Braves infield -- Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson and Austin Riley.

Also of note:
Kodai Senga (1993)
The right-hander impressed with his signature ghost fork pitch while making the transition from Japan to the Majors as a 30-year-old rookie for the Mets in 2023, earning an All-Star selection and finishing second in NL Rookie of the Year Award voting after racking up 202 strikeouts in 29 starts.

Want to see more baseball birthdays for Jan. 30? Find the complete list on Baseball Reference.