The best baseball players born on Oct. 5

October 5th, 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. 5:

1) Claude Ritchey (1873)
Ritchey, know as “Little All Right” due to his stature, played 13 years in the Majors and was a teammate of Honus Wagner. He debuted in April 1897 and two years later made second base his permanent home. In 1903 Ritchey, then playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates, hit sixth in the first World Series. From 1901-03 he, along with Wagner, helped the Pirates win three pennants. He played his final three seasons with the Boston Doves, finishing his career in 1909 as one of the club’s best hitters, sporting a .273 average. Ritchey played a total of 13 seasons and compiled an impressive 34.7 WAR.

2) Sam West (1904)
West played 16 seasons in the Majors, never being part of a pennant-winning club. In 1932 the Washington Senators traded him to the St. Louis Browns for Goose Goslin, so he missed out on the Senators’ 1933 pennant-winner. He did, however, play in the first All-Star Game and totaled four All-Star appearances as an outfielder. He finished with a career .299 batting average and hit .333 and finished ninth in MVP voting in 1931. He accumulated a career 32.5 WAR. Once his playing career was over, he coached for three seasons with the Senators.

3) Jim Bagby (1889)
Known as “Sarge” to his teammates, Bagby pitched in five games with the Cincinnati Reds in 1912 before returning to the Minors, where the right-hander fractured his forearm in a collision with a teammate. Ironically, the injury seemed to improve his curveball. Pitching for Cleveland, Bagby won 73 games from 1916-19, but in 1920 he led the American League with 31 wins and helped the Indians win the World Series. In Game 5 he tossed a complete game and became the first pitcher to homer in a World Series, hitting a 3-run shot off future Hall of Famer and Brooklyn Robins pitcher Burleigh Grimes. He retired from baseball following the 1923 season, which he spent with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

4) Alexi Ogando (1983)
The Dominican flame-thrower compiled a 33-19 record with a 3.50 ERA and 1.245 WHIP in eight seasons in the Majors. He went back and forth between starting and relieving, finding some success in both arenas. He appeared in 44 games -- all in relief -- in his debut season of 2010 and boasted a 1.30 ERA. In 2011, he made 29 starts and put together a 13-8 record with a 3.50 ERA, while earning selection to the American League All-Star team. In the 2010 postseason, he allowed one run with six strikeouts in eight innings. In the 2011 postseason, he went back to the bullpen and had three scoreless outings against Tampa Bay in the ALDS, followed by 10 strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings against Detroit in the ALCS. He struggled in the 2011 World Series facing the Cardinals, allowing seven hits and seven walks in six appearances (10.13 ERA).

5) Rey Sanchez (1967)
The versatile infielder spent 15 years in the Majors, playing for nine different teams and totaling 1,490 games. Two-thirds of his games were played at shortstop, and he compiled a career .983 fielding percentage and 20.6 WAR. From 1989-91, he led the American League in defensive WAR as a member of the Kansas City Royals. A career .272 hitter, Sanchez hit a 10th-inning walk-off inside-the-park home run with Tampa Bay on June 11, 2004. He was the last Major Leaguer to accomplish that feat until 2013, when fellow Puerto Rican Ángel Pagán did it for the San Francisco Giants, also in the 10th inning. Both of those homers came against the Colorado Rockies.

Others of note:
John Reilly (1858)

“Long John” played his entire 10-year career in Cincinnati. He was born in Cincinnati, and he died in Cincinnati. He twice led the league in home runs, slugging percentage, OPS and total bases and boasted a 23.4 career WAR. During the 1890 season, he hit 26 triples. He hit for the cycle three times in his career, a record he shares with Bob Meusel, Babe Herman and Adrián Beltré.

Zack Littell (1995)
Littell debuted with the Minnesota Twins in 2018, pitching eight games and finishing with an unimpressive 6.20 ERA. However, he made 29 relief appearances to the tune of a 2.68 ERA in 2019 before battling injuries and appearing in just six games with a 9.95 ERA in 2020. He signed with the San Francisco Giants as a free agent prior to the 2021 season and appeared in 63 games, saving two and posting a 2.92 ERA.

Want to see more baseball birthdays for Oct. 5? Find the complete list on Baseball Reference.