Born on the 4th of July: Who is baseball’s greatest player born on July 4?

English: Vinny Castilla playing for the San Di...

Vinny Castilla (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp is a sports statistics blog published daily that focuses on stats that go beyond the numbers.

I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy,

A Yankee Doodle, do or die;

A real life nephew of my Uncle Sam,

Born on the Fourth of July.

Did you know that last year Amauri Sanit, born July 4, 1979, pitched in four games for the Yankees? He became the fourth major league player born on the Fourth of July (in addition to Jim Beattie, Hal Lanier  and Jack Warhop) who has played for the New York Yankees and the first since 1979. In addition, did you know that George Steinbrenner, Yankees owner from 1973-2010, was born on July 4, 1930?

Now that you know these couple of facts about the Yankees and the Fourth of July…

Happy Independence Day!

In the history of major league baseball, there have been 47 players who were born on July 4. So let’s ask the obvious question:

Who is the greatest major league baseball player born on July 4?

Two candidates jump to the head of the list, Vinny Castilla and Mickey Welch. Here’s a stats rundown on these two players.

Vinny Castilla: Born July 4, 1967. Castilla made his Major League debut in September 1991 with the Atlanta Braves, but it was with the Colorado Rockies that Castilla made his mark. Castilla was primarily a third baseman who was a member of the inaugural Rockies team that began play in 1993. In 16 seasons he hit .276 with 320 home runs, one of 112 players who hit 300+ home runs in MLB history. He hit 40+ HRs in three seasons and had 100+ RBI in five seasons. He was a two-time All-Star and received votes for the league MVP in four seasons. He led the National League in RBI in 2004 with 131 at the age of 36. His last appearance in the majors was in 2006. Castilla was born in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Mickey Welch: Born July 4, 1859. He is the only major league player born on July 4 who is in baseball’s Hall of Fame. He was elected to the Hall in 1973 by the Veterans Committee. A pitcher, Welch won 307 games and lost 210 in a career that spanned 13 seasons from 1880-1892. “Smiling Mickey” was the third pitcher in baseball history to accumulate 300+ wins. He had 20 or more wins in nine different seasons and a career ERA of 2.71. he played for the Troy Trojans and the New York Gothams/Giants.

Some of the other noteworthy players who were born on July 4 are: Bill Tuttle (the only other player born on July 4 who had 1,000 or more career hits; he played from 1952-63); Jose Oquendo (an infielder who played in the World Series in 1987 with the Cardinals); and Chuck Tanner (who played four seasons in the majors but is best known as a manager who won 1,352 games and managed the Pirates to a title in 1979).

There are two current MLB players who were born on July 4: Jared Hughes (born in 1985) a pitcher with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Sergio Santos (born in 1983), a reliever with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

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