The best baseball players born on Oct. 1

October 1st, 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 Oct. 1.

1) (1945)
It's hard to sum up Carew's 19-year, Hall of Fame career in just a few paragraphs, but we shall try. A near-unanimous AL Rookie of the Year with the Twins in 1967, Carew went on to be an All-Star in all but one of his MLB seasons (his final year, by then with the Angels) and won AL MVP in 1977 when he led the AL in triples (16) and led the Majors in runs (128), hits (239), average (a whopping .388, one of his seven batting titles), on-base percentage (.449) and OPS (1.019). He also finished in the top 10 of MVP voting five other times, with three additional vote-getting seasons on his ledger.

Of his 19 seasons, he hit at least .300 in 15 of them, all consecutive. In 1972, he won the batting title without hitting a single home run, the only AL player to ever do so. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1991. In '95 Panama's national stadium was renamed Rod Carew National Stadium, and the AL batting title now bears his name. The prolific hitter's number is retired by both the Twins and Angels.

2)  (1963)
While eventually overshadowed by controversy, McGwire's 583 homers (bolstered by four MLB-leading seasons, in 1987, '96, '98 and '99) stands as 11th on the all-time list. He was AL Rookie of the Year with the A's in '87, won the World Series in Oakland in '89, was named a 12-time All-Star, and has three Silver Sluggers and a Gold Glove Award on his shelf to boot.

There was of course the home run race of 1998, as he and Sammy Sosa entertained baseball fans with a back-and-forth fight as they raced to break Roger Maris' longtime record. McGwire ended up prevailing, with 70 home runs by season's end to Sosa's 66. He won his only Home Run Derby in 1992, and was named to the All-Century Team in 1999 before retiring two seasons later.

3) (1992)
Already a four-time All-Star, five-time Silver Slugger Award winner and two-time World Series champion with the Red Sox, Bogaerts has one fifth-place AL MVP Award finish and three additional down-ballot vote-getting seasons for that honor. In 2011, he won the Baseball World Cup as a backup shortstop for the Netherlands. Through 2022, he put up 156 home runs with 308 doubles and 683 RBIs as a middle-infield standout for 10 seasons with Boston before inking a deal to join the Padres prior to the '23 season.

4) Matt Cain (1984)
Cain never appeared in a game without donning a Giants uniform during his 13-year career, in the span of which he won three World Series (although did not pitch in the 2014 San Francisco championship run due to injury), was selected to three All-Star Games, had three seasons of down-ballot Cy Young votes (2010-12) as well as down-ballot Rookie of the Year votes in 2006, when he had a 4.15 ERA and a 108 ERA+ in 32 appearances.

The only thing that can top three rings is tossing a perfect game, which Cain did in 2012 against the Astros. His 14 strikeouts in that performance tie Sandy Koufax for most in a perfecto, his 125 pitches are a record-high in a perfect game and he is the only pitcher to score a run in his own perfect game performance.

5) Roberto Kelly (1964)
A longtime Yankee who also played for seven other teams in 14-year career, Kelly was a two-time All-Star (1992 with New York, '93 with Cincinnati) who knocked 585 RBIs in his MLB tenure. In 1992, he set the record for most instances of reaching first base on catcher's interference in a season (eight). That record stood until Jacoby Ellsbury broke it in 2016.

Others of note:
Robbie Ray (1991)
In the better part of a decade Ray's career has been uneven but finally resulted in a standout season in 2021, netting him an AL Cy Young Award as well as a 15th-place AL MVP finish thanks to an AL-leading 2.84 ERA and 193 1/3 innings pitched as well as a Major League-leading 248 strikeouts. He was also an All-Star while with the D-backs in 2017.

Jim Russell (1918)
A switch-hitter, Russell had a 10-year career with the Pirates, Boston Braves and Brooklyn Dodgers and scored 100 runs with Pittsburgh in 1944. He was the first player to hit home runs from both sides of the plate in the same game, which he did twice. However, his career was beset by health issues stemming from an illness as a child.

Bill Bonham (1948)
Bonham reached the 200-innings threshold in in 1974, '75 and '77 with the Cubs. He also spent time with the Reds.

Cedric Mullins (1994)
The outfielder was an All-Star and won a Silver Slugger Award in 2021 when he hit 30 homers and swiped 30 bases. In 2023, he hit for the cycle and helped the Orioles to the AL East title.

Want to see more baseball birthdays for Oct. 1? Find the complete list on Baseball Reference.