The best baseball players born on Sept. 26

September 26th, 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. 26:

1) Bobby Shantz (1925)
The 1952 American League Most Valuable Player after winning 24 games for Philadelphia A’s, Shantz went 119-99 with a 3.38 ERA in his 16-year career, which spanned seven teams. Shantz, a lefty, won eight Gold Gloves and was a three-time All-Star (1951-52, ’57). Shantz pitched in three games in the World Series for the Yankees in both in 1957 and ’60. He was claimed in the Expansion Draft two years in a row, taken by the Houston Colt .45s in 1962. Shantz won the first game in Houston history by throwing a complete game to beat the Cubs at Colt Stadium on April 10, 1962.

2) Dave Martinez (1964)
Martinez played for nine teams during his 16-year career, spending four years with both the Cubs and the Expos and three with the Rays and White Sox. He was a career .276 hitter with 1,599 hits, 91 homers, 795 runs scored and 580 RBIs. He made his mark as a coach and a manager. Martinez was the bench coach for the Rays in 2008 under Joe Maddon and followed him to the Cubs after the 2014 season. He was named manager of the Washington Nationals in 2018 and won the World Series in 2019 by beating Houston in seven games.

3) Steve Buechele (1961)
A steady infielder, Buechele spent eight of his 11 years into the Major Leagues with the Rangers. He broke in the big leagues in 1985 with Texas and had his best year in 1991, hitting .262 with 22 home runs with 85 RBIs with only sevens errors. He hit 137 home runs for his career with 547 RBIs and a .971 fielding percentage. Notably, Buechele was a college roommate of NFL Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway at Stanford.

4) Chris Archer (1988)
Archer played the first five full years of his career with the Rays, going 50-60 in 156 starts from 2013-17. He finished fifth in the AL Cy Young voting in 2015 after going 12-13 with a 3.23 ERA, and he was named to the All-Star team that season. He was an All-Star again in '17, going 10-12 with a 4.07 ERA.

5) Johnny Hodapp (1905)
Hodapp played for Cleveland for eight seasons of his nine-year career, playing in all 154 games in 1930. Mostly a second baseman, he was a career .311 hitter, batting .323 in 1928, .327 in 1929 and .354 in 1930. He led the league in hits (225) and doubles (51) that season. Hodapp was the first AL player to get two hits in an inning twice in a game, in a 24-6 loss to the Yankees on July 29, 1928.

Others of note:
Sean Doolittle (1986)

Doolittle saved at least 20 games five times, including 22 with the Oakland A’s in 2014 and 25 with the Nationals in 2018. He was named an All-Star in both of those seasons and posted a career-high 29 saves in ’19, helping Washington win the World Series.

Rich Gedman (1959)
A catcher who spent 11 of his 13 years in the big leagues with the Red Sox, Gedman made his debut at age 20 in September 1980 as a pinch-hitter for Carl Yastrzemski. A career .252 hitter, he was an All-Star in 1985 and '86. Gedman was also behind the plate for Roger Clemens’ 20-strikeout game on April 29, 1986.

Dave Duncan (1945)
An 11-year Major League catcher, mostly with the A's, Duncan is best known as a standout pitching coach later in his career. He coached the Indians, Mariners, White Sox, A's and Cardinals, mostly under Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa. He coached four Cy Young Award winners (LaMarr Hoyt in 1983, Bob Welch in 1990, Dennis Eckersley in 1992 and Chris Carpenter in 2005) and was a part of four World Series championship teams (1972, '89, '06, '11).

Want to see more baseball birthdays for Sept. 26? Find the complete list on Baseball Reference.