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  • Writer's picturePaul Semendinger

Five Memorable Players Born on January 1

by Paul Semendinger

January 1, 2024

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NOTE - I penned this article for the IBWAA's newsletter, Here's The Pitch where this article was published on 12/30/23.

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With the new year comes new hopes.  Anything is possible.  An entire year stands before us waiting to be filled with magic moments, wonder, and joy.  In many ways, New Year's Day is like Opening Day of the baseball season.


Anything is possible!


In the history of baseball some memorable players were born on New Year's Day. Here are a few:


Tim Keefe - A member of the Hall of Fame.  Tim Keefe pitched from 1880 to 1893, winning 342 games in his 14-year career.  Keefe won 20 or more games seven times but that's not so special.  What is special is that he won over 30 games six times and he twice on more than 40 games in a single season.  In 1886, Tim Keefe went 42-20, 2.56.  He started 64 games and finished 62 of them.  He pitched 535 innings that year.  In 1883, he went 41-27, 2.41 and completed each of his 68 starts.  Keefe pitched 619 innings that year!


Hank Greenberg - One of baseball's great home run hitters, Greenberg is also in the Hall of Fame.  Greenberg played most of his career with the Detroit Tigers.  In his career Greenberg batted .313/331/1,274.  He won two MVP Awards.  His first MVP came in 1935, he hit .328/36/168.  In 1940, his second MVP year, he hit .340/41/150.  In 1937, Greenberg drove home 184 runs.  In 1938, he hit 58 home runs.  


Ethan Allen - No, not the Revolutionary War hero who helped take Fort Ticonderoga, this Ethan Allen batted .300 across 13 seasons, playing mostly for the Cincinnati Reds, New York Giants, and Philadelphia Phillies.  In 1934, Allen led the National League in doubles with 42 while batting .330.  After his playing career, Allen managed the baseball team at Yale University.  One of his players was a young George Bush, the future President of the United States.  Ethan Allen also invented a baseball board game that used spinners to replicate player's statistics.  That game was a precursor to Strat-o-Matic.  


Dallas Keuchel - A two-time Cy Young Award winner who also won five Gold Gloves, Keuchel has gone 103-92, 4.02 across his 12-year career.  


LaMarr Hoyt - A one-time Cy Young Award winner (1983, when he went 24-10, 3.66), Hoyt also threw a near-perfect game in 1984 against the New York Yankees, facing only 27 batters across nine full innings.  The only player who reached base for the Yankees that day was Don Mattingly, who singled in the seventh inning.  Steve Kemp followed Mattingly's hit by grounding into a double-play.  


Carl Scheib - It is appropriate that the youngest player to ever pitch in the American League was born on the year's first day.  Carl Scheib was only 16 years old when he took the mound for the Philadelphia A's in 1943.  He pitched .2 innings that day, allowing two hits and a run against the Yankees.  One of the players he got out was future Hall of Famer Joe Gordon.  Over his 11-year career, Scheib went 45-65, 4.88.


When one researches baseball, he comes across all sorts of interesting tidbits of information.  The following players, all with fun names, were also born on New Year's Day:


Hiker Moran

Randy Bobb

Bumpus Jones

Coco Ferrer

and 

Pearley Johnson.


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Paul Semendinger runs the Yankees site Start Spreading the News.  He is the author of numerous books including From Compton to the Bronx (with Roy White) and The Least Among Them.  Paul's latest book, 365.2 comes out in March 2024.

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