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 Nov. 1:
1) Bid McPhee (1859)
We have to go way back for this Hall of Fame second baseman, who was the last to play his position without a glove. McPhee’s career began in 1882, when the Cincinnati Red Stockings were still part of the American Association before joining the National League in 1890. Known more for his fine defensive skills than his offense, McPhee could still hold his own at the plate, once leading the AA in homers (eight in 1886) and once in triples (19 in ‘87). He was part of the pennant-winning Red Stockings squad in 1882, which topped the AA with 55 wins. Inducted into Cooperstown in 2000 via the Veterans Committee, McPhee is also a member of the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame.
2) Fernando Valenzuela (1960)
A pitcher so exciting he had an entire movement named after him: “Fernandomania.” The left-hander from Sonora burst onto the scene at the age of 19 with the Dodgers in 1980, posting a 0.00 ERA across 10 relief appearances. But it was the following year when Valenzuela really took off and established himself as MLB’s first Mexican superstar. He started the season with a bang, firing eight consecutive complete games, then went on to lead the NL in strikeouts (180), shutouts (eight), complete games (11) and innings pitched (192 1/3). Valenzuela won the Cy Young Award and Rookie of the Year Award while helping L.A. win the World Series with a 2.21 ERA across five postseason starts. Valenzuela made six consecutive All-Star squads from 1981-86, tying Carl Hubbell’s record with five consecutive strikeouts in the ‘86 game.
Although his career took a downturn after that season, he did have one last moment of greatness with his no-hitter on June 29, 1990, against the Cardinals. Valenzuela reportedly called his own no-no; according to catcher Mike Scioscia, after seeing that Dave Stewart had thrown one for the A’s earlier that day, Valenzuela told his teammates, “Hey, you saw one on TV, now you're going to see one in person.” Since retiring, Valenzuela has worked as a Spanish language broadcaster for the Dodgers. He has been inducted into the Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame, the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall and the Caribbean Baseball Hall of Fame.
3) Larry French (1907)
French, a southpaw who threw both a screwball and a knuckleball, was a workhorse who served as both a starter and a reliever throughout a 14-year-career that included stints with the Pirates, the Cubs and the Brooklyn Dodgers. He twice led the National League with four shutouts, in 1935 and ‘36, and earned an All-Star selection in ‘40, all with Chicago. French retired following the 1942 season to enlist in the Navy, serving in both World War II and the Korean War and receiving the Legion of Merit.
4) Coco Crisp (1979)
Crisp was a speedy, switch-hitting outfielder who split his 15 Major League seasons between Cleveland, Boston, Kansas City and Oakland. He was part of the 2007 world champion Red Sox squad, and he led the AL with 49 stolen bases for the A’s in ‘11. Crisp’s best season, though, came with Cleveland in ‘05, when he slashed .300/.345/.465 with 16 homers and 69 RBIs.
5) Masahiro Tanaka (1988)
After beginning his career with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league, Tanaka joined the Yankees for seven seasons, during which he made two All-Star squads. That includes 2014, his first season in the Majors, when he posted a 2.77 ERA in 20 starts, firing three complete games while posting a 138 ERA+. He returned to the NPB and the Golden Eagles following the ‘20 season.
Want to see more baseball birthdays for Nov. 1? Find the complete list on Baseball Reference.