The best baseball players born on June 28

June 28th, 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 June 28:

1) Don Baylor (1949)
Baylor, the 1979 AL MVP, was a feared slugger who punished the ball -- and very often was punished by it. Consider: He slugged 338 homers in a 19-year career and was hit by a pitch 267 times. He led the Majors seven times in that category, including 35 plunkings in 1986. Ouch. In his MVP season, Baylor hit .296/.371/.530 with 36 homers along with 139 RBIs and 120 runs (both MLB highs). He went on to a nine-year career as a manager, guiding the Rockies for the club’s first six seasons and earning NL Manager of the Year honors in 1995. Baylor passed away in 2017.

2) Mark Grace (1964)
He didn’t grab headlines like Sammy Sosa, Andre Dawson or Ryne Sandberg, but Grace had a spectacular career in his own right with an impressive historical claim to fame: He finished with the most hits (1,754) and doubles (363) in the 1990s. He was a cornerstone for the Cubs, a three-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove first baseman. Grace got his coveted World Series ring with the D-backs in 2001. His leadoff single off Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the ninth of Game 7 -- his third hit of the game -- sparked the D-backs’ memorable World Series-winning rally.

3) Chris Speier (1950)
Drafted No. 2 overall by the Giants in 1970, Speier was a steady hand at shortstop during a 19-year big league career. Known largely for his glove and strong arm, Speier does hold an impressive offensive distinction: He’s part of the two-cycle club, accomplishing the feat 10 years apart (July 20, 1978, for the Expos and July 9, 1988, for the Giants). He racked up 11 RBIs in those games, the second-highest total in two cycles -- behind only Joe DiMaggio's 13.

4) Brandon Phillips (1981)
A mainstay for the Reds for 11 seasons, Phillips was a three-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove second baseman on the field and Twitter devotee @DatDudeBP off it. Before he was a fan favorite in Cincinnati, Phillips floundered early in his career. He struggled for four seasons in Cleveland, which acquired him -- along with Cliff Lee -- in the 2002 deal that sent Bartolo Colon to Montreal. So the Reds came calling and landed DatDude for some dude (a player to be named, who ended up being Jeff Stevens, owner of a 6.27 ERA in 33 career appearances).

5) Ken Williams (1890)
Williams accrued a 43 bWAR in 14 seasons, reaching his peak in 1922, when he hit .332 with 39 homers and 155 RBIs and 37 steals for the St. Louis Browns, who finished one game behind the Babe Ruth-led Yankees. Notably, Williams can lay claim to a couple of trivia-worthy distinctions: He was the first player to hit 30 homers and steal 30 bases in a season (1922) and was the first American Leaguer to hit two home runs in one inning (Aug. 7, 1922). He was the lone player of the 30-30 club until Willie Mays did it in 1956.

Others of note:

Corey Koskie (1973)
A member of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, Koskie was a big left-handed bat for seven seasons with the Twins in the early 2000s. But his nine-year career was cut short due to post-concussion issues.

Al Downing (1941)
The left-hander was an All-Star in 1967 and the NL Comeback Player of the Year in 1971, but he's forever linked to one of baseball's most iconic moments: He allowed Hank Aaron's 715th homer, which Downing took in stride: "I was content knowing that I threw him a good pitch."

Want to see more baseball birthdays for June 28? Find the complete list on Baseball Reference.