The best baseball players born on March 31

March 31st, 2022

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 March 31:

1) Mule Suttles (1901)
The only Hall of Fame player born on the final day of March, George “Mule” Suttles made his way from the coal mines of Alabama to Cooperstown. Born in 1901, the son of a coal miner worked in the mines as a teenager but quickly made his mark in baseball when he began playing for the Negro National League’s Birmingham Black Barons as a 22-year-old in 1923. The stocky first baseman/outfielder’s power was so well known that fans would chant, “Kick, Mule, kick! Kick, Mule, kick!” as he came to the plate. According to records, he hit 191 homers with 933 RBIs and a .337 average during his 22-year career in the Negro Leagues. The genial and popular Suttles doesn’t get the level of attention received by some of his fellow stars, but his place in baseball history was cemented when he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006, 40 years after his death.

2) Jack Stivetts (1868)
Consider Stivetts an early model of the two-way player, even before Babe Ruth perfected the art and Shohei Ohtani revived it a century later. During his 11-year career with the St. Louis Browns, Boston Beaneaters and Cleveland Spiders from 1889-1899, “Happy Jack” went 203-162 with a 3.74 ERA over 2,887 2/3 innings as a pitcher and hit .298/.344/.439 in 2,148 plate appearances while playing more than 1,000 innings in the outfield along with a few hundred in the infield. According to ESPN Stats and Info, only three players have hit a home run, recorded a pitching win then hit a home run within a three-game span as of 2021: Ohtani, Ruth and Stivetts.

3) Chien-Ming Wang (1980)
The most successful Taiwanese player to have played in the Majors to date, Wang debuted with the Yankees as a 25-year-old on April 30, 2005. The right-hander’s second season in the Bronx was his best, however, as he tied for the Major League lead with 19 wins and posted a 3.63 ERA in 218 innings over 33 starts to finish second in the 2006 American League Cy Young Award voting behind Johan Santana. Wang was a 19-game winner again in ’07 and off to a good start in ’08, but he was sidelined by a serious foot injury sustained while running the bases in Houston. He struggled in 2009 then returned to pitch for the Nationals in 2011-12, the Blue Jays in ’13 and the Royals in ’16.

4) Dave Koslo (1920)
After pitching for the New York Giants in 1941-42, Koslo missed three seasons due to military service before returning to the mound. He was arguably the National League’s best hard-luck pitcher in 1949, posting a league-leading 2.50 ERA (160 ERA+) and 1.11 WHIP in 212 innings despite his 11-14 record. Overall, he was 92-107 with a 3.68 ERA during his 12-year career. In his lone appearance for the Milwaukee Braves in 1955, he gave up a walk-off home run to the only batter he faced, leaving him with an 0-1 record and an infinite ERA.

5) Marv Grissom (1918)
At the age of 36, Grissom became an All-Star and a World Series champion with the New York Giants in 1954. That season, the right-hander went 10-7 with a 2.35 ERA (174 ERA+) and 17 saves (before it became an official statistic) in 122 1/3 innings over 56 appearances. He earned a World Series win by pitching 2 2/3 scoreless innings in the Giants’ Game 1 victory over Cleveland. Over the next three seasons, he posted a 2.39 ERA in 252 2/3 innings over 153 outings -- all but two out of the bullpen -- for the Giants.

Others of note:

Carson Bigbee (1895)
Bigbee spent his entire 11-year career in Pittsburgh, where he won the 1925 World Series. The outfielder hit .287 with 182 stolen bases in 1,147 career games.

Jeff Mathis (1983)
A first-round pick by the Angels in the 2001 Draft, the defensive and pitch-framing specialist behind the plate played for six teams during his 17-year Major League career.

Peter Bourjos (1987)
A dynamic defensive outfielder, Bourjos led the AL with 11 triples for the Angels in 2011. Overall, he hit .237 and totaled 9.6 WAR during a 10-year playing career before joining the Rockies as an advance scout.

Brent Honeywell Jr. (1995)
Once one of the game’s top pitching prospects in Triple-A, Honeywell had to endure four right elbow injuries and a 3 1/2-year wait before making his big league debut for the Rays on April 11, 2021.

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