What are the best baseball birthdays?

April 14th, 2020

Birthdays are important, and April 14 is a very good baseball birthday. Hall of Famer Greg Maddux was born on this date in 1966, and all-time hits leader Pete Rose was born on this day in 1941.

But is today one of the best baseball birthdays on the calendar? Let’s take a look. We’ve already covered some of the best performances by players on their birthdays, but this endeavor is more inclusive. While you must have a birthday between late March and October in order to qualify for top birthday performances, the best overall baseball birthdays can be any time of the year.

The only requirement? A lot of accolades and accumulated stats.

It’s also worth acknowledging that all of these birthday superlatives are based on information that’s available -- stats that are on record, and birthdays that are, too. Baseball history goes back quite far, and so there are a handful of players, predominantly those prior to the Modern Era (which began in 1900), whose birth dates aren’t known.

Here’s a look at some of the best baseball birthdays, based on various stat totals:

Most Hall of Famers: May 14
The National Baseball Hall of Fame has more than 300 inductees, including those who have gone in as players, managers, pioneers/executives, and umpires. Of those individuals, six were born on May 14 -- the most common birthday among baseball’s Hall of Famers. Earle Combs, a member of the 1927 Yankees, was born on that date in 1899, as was Tony Pérez of the Big Red Machine, in 1942. It’s also the birthday of Negro Leagues executive Alex Pompez, in 1890; pitcher Ed Walsh, who won 40 games in 1908, in 1881; and Kansas City Monarchs owner J.L. Wilkinson, in 1878. The sixth Hall of Famer with a May 14 birthday is the late Roy Halladay, who was inducted in 2019.

(For good measure, two more Hall of Famers were born on May 15: George Brett in 1953, and John Smoltz in '67. Jack Morris was born on May 16, 1955, bringing the three-day total to nine).

Other birthdays worth mentioning
There are four birthdays that boast four Hall of Famers each, tied for second behind May 14 -- April 2, April 6, Aug. 22 and Dec. 26. Among the 16 Hall of Famers born on one of those four days are Don Sutton (4/2), Bert Blyleven (4/6), Mickey Cochrane (4/6), Paul Molitor (8/22), Carl Yastrzemski (8/22), Ozzie Smith (12/26) and Carlton Fisk (12/26).

Most home runs hit: March 12
Here’s a birthday that wouldn’t get the baseball accolades it otherwise deserves if we were to only look at top birthday performances, because it isn’t a regular-season date. There have been more home runs hit by players born on March 12 than on any other birthday on the calendar -- 2,115 homers, to be exact. The birthday features three 300-homer hitters: Dale Murphy (398), Darryl Strawberry (335) and Steve Finley (305). The total is further boosted by four more players to hit between 100 and 299 home runs in their careers.

However, the only player to appear in a game in 2019 who was born on March 12 was a pitcher (Cole Sulser), so the odds of the birthday adding to its home run total soon aren’t too high.

Other birthdays worth mentioning
Especially given the fact that March 12 won’t be adding to its home run total any time soon, it’s worth looking at the other birthdays in second, third and fourth place. Jan. 7 is second, with 2,101 homers, and is quite likely to surpass March 12 as the most prolific birthday by homers hit, given a handful of active players born on that date. Those include: Ozzie Albies, Tucker Barnhart and Edwin Encarnación, among hitters, plus Jhoulys Chacín and Jon Lester, who are both pitchers with multiple home runs in their careers.

In third is June 15, with 2,057 homers and active players including Dom Smith, Travis Jankowski and Eduardo Núñez. And in fourth place is Nov. 18, with 2,039 home runs.

Most pitching strikeouts: Aug. 4
The most strikeout-laden birthday was bound to be that of either Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens or Steve Carlton -- one of the four pitchers in baseball history with the most strikeouts. And indeed, it is Aug. 4, Roger Clemens’ birthday. Clemens’ 4,672 strikeouts are the largest contribution to the 13,177 strikeouts in total by players born on the date. Others with 1,000-plus strikeouts born on Aug. 4 are Dolf Luque (1,130) and Eric Milton (1,127).

A notable active pitcher born on this date? Mike Soroka, who has 163 strikeouts in 31 games so far in his career and was born on Aug. 4, 1997.

Other birthdays worth mentioning
The second-most prolific birthday in terms of strikeouts is April 2, with 12,694. You may recall that date from above, where it’s noted as one of four birthdays tied for second with four Hall of Famers. Hall of Famer Don Sutton leads the way among April 2’s children, with 3,574 strikeouts. April 8 is third, with 11,856, led by Félix Hernández’s 2,524. And Oct. 23 is fourth, with 11,807 -- led by Hall of Famer Jim Bunning’s 2,855.

Most pitching wins: April 2
Hey, there’s April 2 again -- checking in with 1,385 wins by pitchers born on that date, most of any birthday. That’s what a Hall of Fame-level birthday does, it appears on multiple lists. As he does in strikeouts, Sutton leads the way in wins here, too, with 324. Other 100-plus game winners born on April 2 include Tommy Bond (234), Billy Pierce (211) and Jon Lieber (131).

No pitcher appeared in a game in 2019 that was born on April 2, though, so it’s possible the birthday could at some point lose its place atop this list.

Other birthdays worth mentioning
Don’t look for April 2 to lose its lead too soon, though. The next-most wins for any birthday is 1,244 -- 141 fewer -- on Aug. 4. That's Clemens’ birthday, again, and he leads the way with 354 wins among those born on that date. In third is Nov. 3, with 1,224 wins. That birthday is led by Hall of Famer Bob Feller, who won 266 games in his career -- just barely edging out Jim McCormick, who won 265 in his own, pre-Modern Era, career. And in fourth place is Dec. 13, with 1,202 wins -- led by Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins, with 284.