Ever since I was a kid, the idea of baseball player birth dates has fascinated me. I cut my teeth as a fan in the late 1980s and remember the awe of realizing that Ken Griffey, Jr. had been born in November 1969 – that was almost the 1970s! (It’s a little sad, the things that passed for excitement in my childhood.) There were guys coming up who were younger than my big sister! And she was old!
About a decade later, the same feeling came around again, except instead of years of birth in the 1970s, we were starting to see guys born in the 1980s; instead of players younger than my sister, there were players younger than ME. That’s when I first noted how bad it sucks to get old.
Today I decided to mess around with Baseball-Reference.com and figure out the first player born in every decade of the 20th century. The list is below:
1900: John Cavanaugh – July 7, 1919
1910: Joe Cicero – September 20, 1929
1920: Walt Masterson – May 8, 1939
1930: Johnny Antonelli – July 4, 1948
1940: Dave Skaugstad – September 25, 1957
1950: Lloyd Allen – September 1, 1969
1960: Tim Conroy – June 23, 1978
1970: Wilson Alvarez – July 24, 1989
1980: Albert Pujols – April 2, 2001
For now, the first and last players are clearly the worst and the best. Cavanaugh struck out in his only career at-bat for the Phillies in 1919; Pujols needs only to play two and a half more seasons before work begins on his Hall of Fame plaque.
A 1990 birth date might not be that far off. At least three players in Class A were born in 1990, including two who made Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects list, Carlos Triunfel and Angel Villalona. Triunfel, ranked 62nd, is the shortstop for the High Desert Mavericks, Seattle’s High A affiliate. 33rd ranked Villalona is the first baseman for San Francisco’s Class A affiliate in Augusta.
The third player, Andy Phillips, is Triunfel’s teammate with the Mavericks. A native of South Africa, he has only nine at-bats in three games this season.