The best baseball players born on May 20

May 20th, 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 May 20.

1) Sadaharu Oh (1940)
Oh spanned generations as the worldwide face of Japanese baseball in becoming the global home run king. Employing an unusual stance -- he took lessons swinging a samurai sword -- and integrating his hitting approach based on Zen philosophy, Oh slugged 868 home runs over a 22-year career (1959-1980) spent entirely with the Yomiuri Giants. The nine-time MVP led the Central League in homers 15 times, eclipsing Aaron as the international homer leader Sept. 3, 1977, more than three years after his American counterpart passed Babe Ruth. Oh and Aaron faced off in a home-run-hitting contest after the '74 season, which Hammerin' Hank won, 10-9. Oh finished his career with 2,786 hits, far more than the Beastie Boys, contrary to the trio's boasts. After a second second career as a manager in Japan, in 2006 Oh guided the country to the first World Baseball Classic championship. His autobiography A Zen Way of Baseball is a must-read.

Sadaharu Oh stands at the plate during a game in 1964. (AP)

2) (1921)
The only pitcher to earn back-to-back MVP honors -- he was a combined 54-18 with a 2.01 ERA in 1944-45 -- Newhouser nearly won a third, finishing as runner-up in 1946. Newhouser's standout 1945 season also resulted in a pitching Triple Crown (25 wins, 1.81 ERA, 212 K's) and a World Series title for his hometown. After a 207-win career over parts of 17 seasons, the seven-time All-Star was the Tigers' franchise leader in career strikeouts (1,770) at the time of his retirement in 1955. Newhouser later acted as a scout for four teams over the subsequent four decades, discovering Milt Pappas and Dean Chance, among others. He quit his last scouting job, with the Astros, when the club opted against Newhouser's suggestion to draft Derek Jeter.

3) (1931)
Widely considered the best third baseman in the history of the storied Cardinals franchise, Boyer still ranks third in home runs (255), seventh in RBIs (1,001) and ninth in hits (1,855) in the franchise’s record books more than a half-century after his last game with the club. But while his bat played a large role in his success -- which included a grand slam to help the Redbirds win the 1964 World Series, the same year he earned NL MVP honors -- Boyer is considered one of the greatest gloves at third base all-time. The five-time Gold Glover and 11-time All-Star returned to St. Louis after his career to manage the club from 1978-80. "He was like the Clydesdale of third basemen," said Mike Shannon, who succeeded Boyer at the hot corner. "He was a great big, strong guy who had a lot of grace. He was the prototype third baseman."

4) (1963)
The eccentric southpaw emerged as a hurler-for-hire over a 21-year career that saw him log a 239-157 career mark with a 4.13 ERA. A three-time All-Star, "Boomer" twice finished third in the Cy Young Award vote, including a standout 1998 season that saw Wells go 18-4 for the World Series champion Yankees and spin a perfect game with a "skull-rattling hangover." That same season, he pitched while wearing one of Babe Ruth's hats from 1934, before being forced to remove it. Wells tied a mark for appearing in the postseason for six different teams en route to 11 total tickets to October.

5) (1979)
A third-generation Major Leaguer and former first-round pick of the Orioles, Werth blossomed after joining the Phillies, his fourth organization, in his age-28 season. The converted catcher hit .444 in helping Philadelphia to the 2008 World Series crown, and followed it up with a 36-homer, 99-RBI 2009 campaign that yielded the right fielder his only All-Star selection. While many criticized the Nationals for the seven-year, $126 million deal they gave Werth prior to the 2011 season, the hirsuite outfielder became part of a core that jump-start the franchise into respectability as postseason mainstays. Werth retired after 15 injury-riddled seasons, with a career .267 average and 229 homers.

Others of note

The only to player to be teammates with both Mickey Mantle and Don Mattingly, the five-time All-Star slugger spent the majority of his 17-year career in pinstripes. After retiring, the fan-favorite Murcer moved behind the mic to be the longtime voice of the Yankees.

George Grantham (1900)
A lifetime .302 hitter, Grantham manned the keystone for the 1925 World Series champion and 1927 NL winning Pirates. He still ranks fourth among the club's all-time leaders in OPS (.901) and OBP (.410).

Ramon Hernandez (1976)
The backstop for the Moneyball-era A's, Hernandez was a steady presence behind the plate for the better part of 15 seasons at the turn of the 21st century, highlighted by a 21-homer, 78-RBI season in 2003, when he earned his lone All-Star selection.

Todd Stottlemyre (1965)
Son of Yankees great Mel Stottlemyre, the right-hander was a workhorse for the Blue Jays' World Series champion clubs in 1992-93, but elbow and shoulder injuries ultimately cut his career short.

Want to see more baseball birthdays for May 20? Find the complete list on Baseball Reference.