The best baseball players born on Sept. 18

September 18th, 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 Sept. 18:

1) Ryne Sandberg (1959)
When the Cubs convinced the Phillies to add Sandberg to a trade for Larry Bowa before the 1982 season, Chicago knew it was getting a young, raw talent. The Cubs could not have known they were acquiring a future Hall of Famer and one of the great second basemen in baseball history. Sandberg spent 15 of his 16 seasons in the Majors with the Cubs, ending as the MLB record holder for home runs by a second baseman (277 of his 282 blasts). He was a power-and-speed threat, topping 25 homers six times and reaching at least 30 steals in five seasons. Sandberg took home the National League MVP Award in 1984, when he helped lead the Cubs to their first playoff berth since 1945, and he made 10 consecutive All-Star teams from '84-93. During that '84 tour, he hit .314 with 19 homers, 36 doubles, 19 triples, 84 RBIs, 32 steals, 114 runs and 200 hits. Sandberg also won nine straight Gold Glove Awards ('84-92) and seven Silver Slugger trophies. He won the 1990 Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game in front of his home crowd at Wrigley Field, hit .385 in 10 playoff games and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005.

2) Harvey Haddix (1925)
Haddix will forever be a part of baseball lore for the events of May 26, 1959. Pitching for the Pirates, Haddix worked 12 perfect innings before losing to the Milwaukee Braves in the 13th frame. He set an MLB record by retiring 36 batters in a row in the effort. Haddix was also a key part of the Pirates' triumph in the 1960 World Series. He won as a starter in Game 5 and worked the ninth in Game 7, setting up Bill Mazeroski's famous walk-off homer. Haddix was a three-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner in his 14-year career spent with the Cardinals, Pirates, Phillies, Reds and Orioles. He was the NL's Rookie of the Year runner-up in 1953, when he won 20 games with a 3.06 ERA, 10 complete games and 253 innings for St. Louis. He ended with 1,575 strikeouts, 136 wins and a 3.63 ERA in 453 career games.

3) George Uhle (1898)
A workhorse pitcher for Cleveland during the 1920s, Uhle won a World Series (1920) and finished his career with 200 wins, 232 complete games and a 3.99 ERA. He spent 11 years with Cleveland with his best campaign coming in 1926. That season, Uhle led the Majors with 27 wins and had a 2.83 ERA over 318 1/3 innings. He logged 32 complete games in his 36 starts. Over his 17 seasons, the righty struck out Babe Ruth (31 times) more than any other batter he faced. Uhle could also handle himself in the batter's box, hitting .289 with nine homers and 190 RBIs in his career. On May 25, 1929, the pitcher worked 20 frames for Detroit in a 21-inning marathon victory over the White Sox.

4) Heinie Groh (1889)
Groh played in five World Series, winning titles with the Reds (1919) and New York Giants (1922). In that '22 Fall Classic, the infielder hit at a .474 (9-for-19) clip in five games. He spent the bulk of his 16 years with the Reds (nine seasons) and Giants (seven) and ended his career with a .292 average and 1,774 hits. At various points in his career, he led the league in games, runs, hits, doubles, walks and on-base percentage.

5) Ken Brett (1948)
An older brother of George Brett, Ken Brett was a first-round pick by the Red Sox in the 1966 Draft. In '67, Brett appeared in the World Series for Boston, becoming the youngest pitcher to work in a Fall Classic. Over 14 years spent with 10 clubs, Brett had a 3.93 ERA in a variety of roles. He logged 349 games, including 184 starts, 70 games finished and 51 complete games. He was an All-Star in 1974 with the Pirates.

Others of note:

Juan Minaya (1990)
The reliever has posted a 3.58 ERA five seasons into a MLB career that has included stints with the White Sox and Twins. Minaya had a 2.48 ERA in 2021 for Minnesota.

Jody Gerut (1977)
The outfielder was fourth in AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2003 with Cleveland after posting 22 homers, 33 doubles and 75 RBIs. Gerut hit .265 with 59 homers over six years with five teams.

Dick Dietz (1941)
In 1970, Dietz was an All-Star for San Francisco and hit .300 with 22 homers, 107 RBIs and a .941 OPS on the year. He hit .261 with an .815 OPS over eight seasons with the Giants, Dodgers and Braves.

Sam Bankhead (1910)
Bankhead spent the bulk of his 15-year career in the Negro Leagues with the Homestead Grays (eight seasons), winning three titles with the club. He was a nine-time All-Star.

Want to see more baseball birthdays for Sept. 18? Find the complete list on Baseball Reference.