The best baseball players born on Sept. 29

September 29th, 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. 29:

1) Ed Morris (1862)
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Morris grew up in California and was one of the first players from that state to be a professional baseball star. The left-hander posted a career 38.4 WAR, and he was the staff ace for the Pittsburgh Alleghenies in the mid-1880s. Morris was certainly one of, if not the top left-handed pitcher in the 19th century. Nicknamed “Cannonball” for the velocity he achieved on the mound, Morris played for Pittsburgh in three different leagues. In his first season in the big leagues in 1884, he won 34 games, following that up with 39 wins in 1885 and then tossing a record 12 shutouts in 1886. In 1888, he tossed four consecutive shutouts – a mark that stood until the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Don Drysdale broke it in 1968.

2) (1938)
The left-hander pitched 16 years in the Majors, 11 of those with the New York/San Francisco Giants. He reached double-digit wins eight times in his career, but his best season was 1967, when he won 22 games and both the National League Cy Young and Comeback Player of the Year awards. He was the only Giants pitcher to win the Cy Young until Tim Lincecum won it in both 2008 and 2009. He was part of the Giants’ NL pennant-winning club in 1962, but after going just 5-5 with a 5.38 ERA, he did not pitch in the World Series against the eventual champion New York Yankees.

3) Steve Busby (1949)
Oh for what might have been. After being drafted by the Kansas City Royals in 1971, Busby pitched eight years in the Majors and tossed two no-hitters -- against the Detroit Tigers and Milwaukee Brewers. After appearing in five games in 1972 and going 3-1 with a 1.58 ERA, Busby won 16 games in 1973 and no-hit the Tigers. He no-hit the Brewers and won a career-high 22 games in 1974 and added another 18 wins in 1975. He was an American League All-Star in ’74 and ’75, but then shoulder problems surfaced, resulting in rotator cuff surgery performed by Dr. Frank Jobe in 1976. Busby, who missed the entire 1977 season, was the first pitcher to have that type of surgery. Busby would never be the same, winning just eight games combined in his final three seasons.

4) Heath Bell (1977)
Bell compiled three 40-save seasons and three 30-save seasons during his career. He may be best known for saving 41 consecutive games, tying the franchise record set by San Diego Padres legend Trevor Hoffman. A three-time National League All-Star selection, Bell was a two-time winner of the NL Rolaids Relief Award (2009-10) and was named the NL Reliever of the Year in 2010.

5) Warren Cromartie (1953)
Along with Ellis Valentine and Hall of Famer Andre Dawson, Cromartie was part of an exceptionally talented outfield in Montreal. Cromartie was considered the heart of the club during his tenure in Montreal from 1977-83. He shifted to first base in 1980 and ’81 and, while not known as a power hitter, Cromartie belted a career best 14 homers in 1980. He left to play in Japan in 1984, where his manager, the Japanese home run king, Sadaharu Oh, fixed a flaw in his swing. Cromartie then hit over 30 homers in each of his first three seasons for the Yomiuri Giants. Cromartie returned to the Majors in 1991 and finished his career, batting .313 in 69 games with the Kansas City Royals.

Others of note:

A seventh-round pick by the Cincinnati Reds in the 2013 MLB Draft, Mahle earned double-digit wins for the first time in his career in 2021, posting a 13-6 record. He made a National League-best 33 starts for Cincinnati and struck out 210 batters, while issuing 64 walks and finishing just 20 innings shy of 200 for the season. Mahle had a no-hitter and perfect game to his credit in the Minors before making his Major League debut with the Reds on Aug. 27, 2017.

Westbrook was taken in the 1996 MLB Draft by the Colorado Rockies, but he is best known for his nine years spent with Cleveland. Westbrook won 14 games in 2004 and was named to the American League All-Star team. He followed that up with back-to-back 15-win campaigns in 2005 and '06. After having right elbow surgery in June 2008, he missed the entire 2009 season, returning in 2010. He was sent to the St. Louis Cardinals at the Trade Deadline and went 4-4 down the stretch for the Redbirds. Westbrook earned a World Series ring with St. Louis in 2011 and picked up the win during the Cardinals’ incredible comeback in Game 6 against the Texas Rangers.

Want to see more baseball birthdays for Sept. 29? Find the complete list on Baseball Reference.