Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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Major League Baseball Players Who Debuted on Their Birthday



On Thursday night (May 31, 2018), Shane Bieber made his major-league debut with the Cleveland Indians. His performance was largely non-descript: not historically great or notably bad (5.2 IP, 4 R, 8 H, 1 W, 6 K). But one thing was particularly noteworthy about Bieber's debut: it came on his 23rd birthday.

This got me curious about how many players in major-league history have debuted on their birthday. According to Baseball-Reference, Shane Bieber was the 19,266th player in major-league history. Assuming my database is accurate, it turns out that Bieber was the 38th player in major-league history to debut on his birthday - making the frequency of birthday debuts 1 in every 507 players in major-league history.

The next table shows the 37 players who made their major-league debut on their birthday. The players who are not linked played their entire major-league careers prior to the seasons for which Retrosheet has released play-by-play data (i.e., since ). For players with links, the links are to these players' player pages. The last column of the table shows a player's career pWORL - pWins over replacement level - for those players for whom I have calculated Player won-lost records.

Players Who Made Their Major League Debut on Their Birthday
Birth Year Debut Year Birth / Debut Date Age at Debut Games pWORL
Dan Long18671890August 272321 
Pete Gilbert18671890September 623206 
Fred Woodcock18681892May 17245 
Dan Long18671890August 272321 
Murphy Currie18931916August 31236 
George Ross18921918June 27261 
Jess Doyle18981925April 1427550.7
Mace Brown19091935May 21263875.0
Morrie Aderholt19151939September 1324104-0.6
Chris Haughey19251943October 3181-0.2
George Dockins19171945May 528351.6
Bob Chesnes19211948May 627882.1
Tom E. Hughes19341959September 13252-0.3
Ed Palmquist19331960June 102736-0.5
Gerry Arrigo19411961June 12201950.7
Larry Dierker19461964September 221835715.5
Rene Lachemann19451965May 420118-0.1
Woodie Fryman19401966April 152662513.2
Mike Kilkenny19451969April 11241402.5
Junior Kennedy19501974August 9244453.2
Doug Clarey19541976April 202290.1
John Pacella19561977September 152174-0.8
Bruce Benedict19551978August 18239821.7
La Rue Washington19531978September 72524-0.0
Dave Clark19621986September 3248870.5
Ken Patterson19641988July 8242240.2
Yorkis Perez19671991September 30243370.3
Dan Miceli19701993September 9236313.2
Brian Looney19691993September 26247-0.2
Keith Johnson19712000April 17296-0.0
Zach Day19782002June 1524861.4
Kevin Joseph19762002August 12611-0.1
Edwin Jackson19832003September 9203866.2
Jarrod Saltalamacchia19852007May 2228893.5
Robert Manuel19832009July 926130.0
David Adams19872013May 152643-0.0
Wilmer Flores19912013August 6224552.7
Kennys Vargas19902014August 1242360.3
Daniel Corcino19902014August 26245-0.1


Finally, setting aside the first five players on the list (none of whom had much of a career anyway), the top five players in major-league history who debuted on their birthday, ranked by career pWins over replacement level, are shown next.

Top Five Players Who Made Their Major League Debut on Their Birthday
(Ranked by Career pWORL)
Games pWins pLoss pWOPA pWORL
Larry Dierker
357
135.0138.93.715.5
Woodie Fryman
625
146.3155.9-1.013.2
Mace Brown
387
51.953.7-0.26.3
Edwin Jackson
386
105.3124.9-5.76.2
Jarrod Saltalamacchia
889
64.470.4-1.63.5


There's quite a gap between players #2 and #3 here as well as between #4 and #5. Interestingly, the top four players among birthday debuts were pitchers. If he can stay in the Indians' rotation for a few seasons, perhaps Bieber can make this table an all-pitcher table.



All articles are written so that they pull data directly from the most recent version of the Player won-lost database. Hence, any numbers cited within these articles should automatically incorporate the most recent update to Player won-lost records. In some cases, however, the accompanying text may have been written based on previous versions of Player won-lost records. I apologize if this results in non-sensical text in any cases.

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