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. 30.
1) Bo Jackson (1962)
Bo knows … what it takes to be one of the best players born on Nov. 30. The only person to earn All-Star accolades in both Major League Baseball and the National Football League, Jackson was an exceptional athlete capable of dominating either game. In one sport, he was a Heisman Trophy winner and College Football Hall of Famer who ripped off multiple touchdown runs of more than 90 yards during his four-year career (a skill that fans of the 1980s “Tecmo Bowl” videogame know all too well). In the other, he was a power-hitting outfielder who clubbed 107 homers over his four best seasons for the Royals from 1987-90.
It’s worth wondering how legendary a baseball player Jackson would have been had he never committed to the NFL. A 1991 football injury not only ended his time on the gridiron but severely derailed his baseball career; although Jackson eventually made it back to the field, he played in just 183 games over the next four seasons.
2) Shane Victorino (1980)
While Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley generally receive the lion’s share of credit for the Phillies’ 2008 title run, Victorino was nearly as crucial a part of that offense. The native Hawaiian and former Rule 5 Draft pick hit 88 career regular-season homers and 63 triples as a Phillie, which doesn’t count one of the most significant hits in modern Philadelphia baseball history: a grand slam off Brewers ace CC Sabathia during 2008 National League Division Series Game 2. Victorino later hit a game-tying home run in NL Championship Series Game 4 against the Dodgers. In total, he drove home 13 runs, had six extra-base hits and stole three bases over 14 playoff games that autumn.
3) Ray Durham (1971)
Quietly consistent as a leadoff man for both the White Sox and Giants, Durham posted a league-adjusted OPS+ between 103 and 127 every year from 1998-2006. Although he slowed on the basepaths in his later years, Durham maintained the hit tool and patience that allowed him to produce a career .352 on-base percentage. He is one of the more accomplished players never to win a playoff series, appearing in October four times with four teams but bowing out in the first round on each occasion.
4) Bob Tewksbury (1960)
One of his era’s foremost control artists, Tewksbury walked just 1.5 batters per nine innings throughout a 13-year MLB career, twice leading the league in that category (despite playing in a league that included Hall of Famer Greg Maddux). When he retired, Tewksbury held the lowest walk rate of any pitcher with at least 1,500 innings who played his entire career outside the dead-ball era. He went on to become a sports psychologist and a mental-skills coordinator for multiple teams.
5) Rich Harden (1981)
A relative latecomer to the “Moneyball” A’s of the early 2000s, Harden didn’t take long to fit in with established stars Tim Hudson, Barry Zito and Mark Mulder in the rotation. He wound up outlasting them all in Oakland, though injuries prevented Harden from making more of an impact. Still, in his prime, Harden was one of the most difficult pitchers in baseball to hit. To prove it, he threw an immaculate inning on June 8, 2008, striking out the side on nine pitches.
Others of note:
Frank Killen (1870)
A star of a bygone era, Killen is on the short list of pitchers to win 30-plus games multiple times in a career. The left-hander topped out with a 36-14 record for the 1893 Pirates, completing 38 of the 48 games he started. Three years later, Killen went 30-18 with 44 complete games, leading the league in those two categories as well as total appearances, games started, innings and shutouts.
Firpo Marberry (1898)
Marberry was notable for serving as a closer more than 30 years before the save statistic was invented. Retroactively, we can say that Marberry saved 99 games for the Senators and Tigers from 1924-34, which made him the game’s all-time leader by a wide margin. He would hold that title until 1946, when Johnny Murphy passed him. Of course, Marberry was far from the picture of a modern closer; he also started 186 games in his career, threw 86 complete games and averaged nearly two innings per appearance as a reliever.
Matt Lawton (1971)
A two-time All-Star, Lawton made the AL team once for the Twins and once for the Indians. He amassed 138 homers over his 12-year career.
Craig Swan (1950)
The NL ERA leader in 1978, Swan posted a 2.43 mark that season but won only nine games for a 96-loss Mets team. His curse was to pitch mostly for bad teams, as Swan debuted too late in 1973 to make an impact on the eventual pennant winners. Like Lawton, he never appeared in a playoff game despite spending a dozen years in the Majors.
Juan Berenguer (1954)
It’s time to be honest: Berenguer makes this list less for his 15-year big league career on the mound, which was plenty successful, and more for the “Berenguer Boogie” -- a classic song about the 1987 Twins. It’s hard to imagine Minnesota would have won the World Series without it.
Alec Mills (1991)
Mills’ 2020 no-hitter was notable in that he was a 22nd-round Draft pick who didn’t throw particularly hard and who hadn’t seen much success at the highest level. None of that mattered on a memorable night in Milwaukee, where Mills limited the Brewers to nothing more than three walks during his finest performance.
Want to see more baseball birthdays for Nov. 30? Find the complete list on Baseball Reference.