The best baseball players born on July 31

July 31st, 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 July 31.

1) Larry Doyle (1886)
Doyle was the 1912 National League Chalmers Award winner (the equivalent of today’s MVP Award), beating out Hall of Famers Honus Wagner, Joe Tinker, Rube Marquard, Christy Mathewson, Johnny Evers and Pete Alexander for the honor. Considered one of the premier second basemen of his day, Doyle was the NL batting champion in 1915, hitting .320 while leading the league in hits (189) and doubles (40, most in the AL/NL). He also led the NL in hits in 1909 (172) and in triples in 1911 (25).

Larry Doyle warms up with the Giants in 1914. (Bain Collection/Library of Congress)

2) José Fernández (1992)
Tragically, Fernández died at the much-too-young age of 24 toward the end of the 2016 season; however, the right-hander quickly established Hall of Fame potential in his all-too-short career. Fernández was an All-Star in his rookie season in 2013, going on to win National League Rookie of the Year and place third in Cy Young Award voting for the Marlins. Derailed by Tommy John surgery in both ‘14 and ‘15, Fernández came back strong in 2016 when he led the Majors with 12.5 strikeouts per nine innings. In 76 MLB starts, Fernández had a 2.58 ERA and a 150 ERA+. He is remembered both for his brilliance on the mound as well as a joyful personality and infectious enthusiasm for the game.

3) Art Nehf (1892)
Nehf was part of New York Giants’ rotation for their back-to-back championships in 1921 and ‘22, throwing complete games in both clinchers (including a shutout in Game 8 in ‘21). The southpaw was a stalwart from the mid-1910s through the end of the 1920s, regularly among league leaders in number of starts and number of complete games.

Art Nehf, 1922. (Bain Collection/Library of Congress)

4) Hank Bauer (1922)
Bauer had the good fortune to play for the Yankees in the 1950s, making him a seven-time World Series winner (1949-53, ‘56 and ‘58). The right fielder had a 17-game World Series hitting streak, which stands as the record today. His three-run triple in Game 6 of the ‘51 Fall Classic wound up being the winning runs to clinch the title for the Yankees over the Giants. A three-time All-Star, Bauer led the American League with nine triples in 1957.

Hank Bauer (left) celebrates the Yankees' 1951 World Series triumph with manager Casey Stengel. (AP)

5) Leon Durham (1957)
A two-time All-Star, Durham slashed .312/.388/.521 in 1982 to win a National League Silver Slugger in the outfield, though he played more career games at first base. Since retiring from playing, he has worked as a hitting coach for several different organizations.

Others of note:

Gabe Kapler (1975)
Kapler had a solid career as a player and was part of the 2004 Red Sox World Series squad. He has since made his mark on the game as a skipper, winning the 2021 National League Manager of the Year award with the 107-win Giants.

Want to see more baseball birthdays for July 31? Find the complete list on Baseball Reference.