Baseball birthdays for September 15

Joe Trezza


By Joe Trezza
www.mlb.com

Here is a subjective ranking of the top five for Sept. 15.

1) Gaylord Perry (1938)
The only Hall of Famer born on this date, Perry was a four-time 20-game winner, two-time Cy Young recipient and five-time All-Star who vexed hitters and audiences alike with his prolific use of the spitball. He amassed 314 wins and 3,534 strikeouts in 22 seasons from 1962-83, good for 11th and third all-time at the time of his retirement.

2) Fritz Ostermueller (1907)
A journeyman left-hander of the 1930s and ‘40s, Ostermueller amassed 36 wins above replacement across 15 seasons with the Red Sox, St. Louis Browns, Brooklyn Dodgers and Pirates. His most successful season came in 1944, when he went 13-8 with a 2.81 ERA and 17 complete games for Brooklyn and Pittsburgh.

3) Rap Dixon (1902)
A sensational Negro Leagues star of the 1920s, Dixon is the only member of the Negro Leagues Centennial Team, honored in 2018, not in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. His omission could easily be considered oversight. Dixon was a five-tool center fielder and one of the most dynamic players of his era, winning home run and stolen-base titles and once hitting .415 while leading his circuit in RBIs and steals.

4) Matt Thornton (1976)
Only two relievers made more appearances from 2005-15 than Thornton, a durable and dependable left-handed setup man who appeared in at least 60 games in 10 consecutive seasons. An All-Star with the White Sox in 2010, Thornton also thrice led AL relievers in holds.

5) Paul Abbott (1967)
The right-hander won 17 games for the 116-win Mariners in 2001, but allowed eight runs in Seattle’s blowout loss in Game 3 of the Division Series to Cleveland that October. Abbott’s 36-17 record across five seasons in Seattle translated into a .679 winning percentage with the club, tops in Mariners history among starters with at least 400 innings pitched.

Others of note:
Slow Joe Doyle (1881)

An obscure typo turned Doyle’s 1910 baseball card into a rare collector’s item a century after his playing career, selling for more than $400,000 in 2012. Doyle’s career itself was much more pedestrian despite his memorable nickname, which the leisurely right-hander earned by taking his sweet time on the mound between pitches.

Jean Dubuc (1888)
An effectively wild Deadball Era righty, Dubuc posted double-digit wins in five consecutive seasons for the Tigers from 1912-16. He twice led the AL in wild pitches.

Edsall Walker (1910)
Walker starred for the Homestead Grays in the Negro Leagues in the late ‘30s, earning All-Star recognition in ’38. The left-hander also led the circuit in complete games the following season.

Dan Wilson (1915)
Wilson was a five-time All-Star in the Negro Leagues in the late ‘30s and early ‘40s, when he thrice hit over .300 and played multiple positions.

Frank Linzy (1940)
The right-handed Linzy was a revelation for the Giants in 1965, pitching to a 1.43 ERA with 20 saves as a rookie for San Francisco. He carved out an 11-year career as a trusted reliever, posting a 2.85 ERA across 516 appearances for the Giants, Cardinals and two other clubs.

Luke Hochevar (1983)
The Royals thought they were getting a future ace when they drafted Hochevar first overall in 2006, but arm trouble and inconsistency prevented the right-hander from becoming a star. Hochevar still made 279 appearances for the club from 2007-16, and won a World Series ring in 2015.

Want to see more baseball birthdays for Sept. 15? Find the complete list on Baseball Reference.

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