The best baseball players born on Oct. 13

October 13th, 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. 13.

1) Eddie Mathews (1931)
Eddie Mathews is the answer to a trivia question: Who’s the only person to play for the Braves in Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta? Little else about Mathews’ Hall of Fame career is trivial. He was an impact player from the moment he stepped on a big league field at age 20. Mathews, a 12-time All-Star, had 512 home runs and 1,453 RBIs in 17 seasons. Nobody has hit more homers through their age-24 season than Mathews’ 190. He led the Majors with 47 homers at age 21 in 1953 and was tops again with 46 in ’59. He led longtime teammate Hank Aaron in career homers until April 1969, when the Hammer hit Nos. 512 and 513. Mathews managed the Braves from 1972-74, so he was in the dugout in 1974 when Aaron hit his historic 715th home run. Mathews died in 2001 at age 69.

2) Rube Waddell (1876)
Waddell teamed with Eddie Plank and Chief Bender to form a powerful Philadelphia Athletics rotation in the early years of the American League. Waddell led the circuit in strikeouts six straight seasons, 1902-07, and topped the Majors in the last five years of that stretch. In 1905, the right-hander won the AL Triple Crown for pitchers with 27 wins, a 1.48 ERA and 287 strikeouts. But he did not pitch in the World Series against the Giants after he injured his throwing shoulder during a scuffle with teammate Andy Coakley. Waddell was 193-143 over 13 seasons, his career shortened by failing health. After battling tuberculosis, Waddell died at age 37 in 1914. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1946.

3) Trevor Hoffman (1967)
The third Hall of Famer born on this date, Hoffman began his professional career as a light-hitting shortstop in the Reds’ organization. A pitching coach in the low Minors, Mike Griffin, saw his strong throws across the diamond and had the idea to see what Hoffman could do on the mound. Two transactions later, the Padres were the beneficiaries of that inspiration. With San Diego, Hoffman perfected his changeup and emerged as the premier closer in the National League. He was a seven-time All-Star and was the NL Cy Young Award runner-up twice. Hoffman broke Lee Smith’s career saves record in 2006 and retired in 2010 with 601. His AL counterpart, Mariano Rivera, dethroned him as the saves king in 2011, but Hoffman still holds the NL career mark.

4) Eddie Yost (1926)
Yost was nicknamed “The Walking Man” for good reason. The third baseman led the Majors in walks five times and drew 1,614 free passes over 18 seasons, primarily with the original Senators. When he retired after the 1962 season, he ranked fourth among AL and NL players in career walks. Yost had a .394 career on-base percentage but was an All-Star only once, in 1952, as he played in a time that used batting average and RBIs as the measure of a player. Yost’s career batting average was .254. He scored 100 runs in five seasons but had a career high of 65 RBIs in 1951. After his playing days, Yost was an MLB third-base coach for 22 years and earned a World Series ring in 1969 with the Miracle Mets. He died at age 86 in 2012.

5) Frankie Hayes (1914)
A catcher, Hayes had a remarkable streak of 312 consecutive games played from 1943-46 for three AL teams -- St. Louis, Philadelphia and Cleveland. That’s the longest such streak for any catcher in AL/NL history. Hayes earned six All-Star selections in a 14-year career. He had an OPS over .800 every season from 1937-41 but never topped .700 in six seasons thereafter. Hayes died at age 40 in 1955 of an abdominal hemorrhage.

Others of note:
Bob Bailey (1942)
The third baseman reached the big leagues at age 19 with the Pirates and stuck, playing 17 seasons while collecting 1,564 hits and posting a 111 OPS+. Bailey’s best years were with the Expos -- he had 118 homers and a slash line of .264/.368/.437 in seven seasons in Montreal. He notched a World Series ring as a backup with the 1976 Reds, though he did not appear in the postseason. Bailey died in 2018 at age 75.

Bill Donovan (1876)
The right-hander pitched 18 seasons, 11 with the Tigers, and had two 25-win campaigns. Donovan died in a train wreck at age 47 in 1923.

Damian Miller (1969)
The catcher played 11 MLB seasons and was an All-Star in 2002 with the D-backs. He earned a World Series ring the previous season, when Arizona toppled the Yankees.

Scott Cooper (1967)
The third baseman was an All-Star for the Red Sox in 1993 and ’94 but was out of baseball by age 30.

Randy Moffitt (1948)
The right-hander spent 10 of his 12 MLB seasons with the Giants and finished with 96 saves. He’s the brother of tennis legend Billie Jean King.

Want to see more baseball birthdays for Oct. 13? Find the complete list on Baseball Reference.