Hundreds of millions of people all around the globe are celebrating the holiday of Christmas today on December 25. Many of them are spending quality time with their friends and/or family at home around the Christmas tree celebrating with traditions from years gone by and catching up with each other on the year that was.
However, there are a select group of people that don’t celebrate their birthday and Christmas on different days, but they just happen to be the same day. In fact, of the 22,564 players to ever play in MLB or the Negro Leagues (which is an MLB equivalent now), only 74 of them ever had a birthday on Christmas, or 0.327 percent of all MLB players ever.
Let’s take a look at some of the best MLB players to ever have a birthday on Christmas
Three MLB players who were born on Christmas are Hall of Famers
Of the 74 MLB players that were born on Christmas, three of them are Hall of Famers.
Nellie Fox, who was born on Christmas 1927, was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1997. He nearly was inducted on the Baseball Writer’s ballot on his final year, but he fell just two votes shy of the requisite 75 percent threshold.
Fox played 19 years in the majors and he was known to be someone that played every day. In fact, he played in 798 straight games for the Chicago White Sox in the 1950s, which is the 11th-longest streak in MLB history.
He was a 15-time All-Star, won three Gold Glove awards, and was the 1959 AL MVP. He helped the White Sox get to the World Series in 1959, which was the only time Fox, who played 14 of his 19 years with the White Sox, ever made it to the postseason. The White Sox themselves only made it to the postseason that one time between 1920 and 1982.
Fox also started out his career with the Philadelphia A’s and finished his career with the Houston Astros. Fox ended up becoming Houston and then, he became a coach for the Washington Senators. He became a coach with the Texas Rangers when the Senators moved to Arlington in 1972.
Fox died of cancer in 1975 at the age of 47.
Pud Galvin, who was born on Christmas 1856 pitched in the National League for 15 seasons in 1875 and again from 1879-1892. He was MLB’s first 300-game winner but he is also known as the first player to ever take PEDs. You can read more about his homemade concoction that reportedly contained testosterone from the “gonads” of an animal here.
However, his PED use was praised at the time. It’s definitely a different time now.
The most notable MLB player to be born on Christmas is Rickey Henderson. Henderson was born on Christmas 1958 and played in the majors for 25 years, from 1979 through 2003.
He is the all-time MLB leader in runs (2295), stolen bases (1406), and caught stealing (335). In his career, he hit .279/.401/.419 with an OPS+ of 127.
He won the AL MVP in 1990, when his Oakland A’s went to the World Series, had two more top three finishes, was a 10-time All-Star, two-time World Series winner (1989, 1993), won a Gold Glove, won two Silver Sluggers, and played in 60 postseason games.
He played very well in the postseason as he is a career .284/.389/.441 hitter in the postseason with five homers, 20 RBI, and 33 stolen bases. He also was the MVP in the 1989 ALCS.
He was inducted into the Hall with 94.8 percent of the vote on his first ballot in 2009.
Other notable MLB players, managers, or coaches born on Christmas include:
- Former MLB outfielder Ben Chapman (the racist player on the Philadelphia Phillies that was portrayed by Alan Tudyk in 42)
- Former MLB infielder Manny Trillo (mainly played with the Cubs and Phillies. Played from 1973 through 1989)
- Former Boston Red Sox reliever Hideki Okajima
- Former Houston Astros and Colorado Rockies outfielder Willy Taveras
- Current Miami Marlins first baseman and right fielder Garrett Cooper
- Current San Diego Padres reliever Nabil Crismatt
- Former White Sox and Pirates manager Gene Lamont
- Former Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers pitching coach Rick Anderson