“I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy,
A Yankees Doodle do or die,
A real life nephew of my Uncle Sam
Born on the Fourth of July.”
Chances are you have heard this song before. In fact, there’s a good chance you might hear it this year on July 4th.
So, let’s take a look at that fourth line above… “Born on the Fourth of July.” With baseball being America’s Pastime, there’s just got to be a few players who have spent time in the majors and were born on the Fourth of July. Is it possible to identify the greatest baseball player ever who was born on July 4th?
Based on research on BaseballReference.com, we have a couple strong candidates. First, let’s look at the batters.
The clear winner for an everyday player has to be Vinny Castilla, born July 4, 1967 (ironically, he was born in Mexico). Castilla played 16 seasons in the big leagues making a name for himself as a power-hitting third baseman with the Colorado Rockies. Castilla leads all MLB players born on July 4th with 320 career home runs and 1,884 career hits. Second on both lists is Bill Tuttle who played from 1952-63 and had 67 career HRs and 1,105 hits.
For pitchers, Mickey Welch tops the list of July 4th-born pitchers with 307 career wins. He tallied those wins in a career that spanned 1880-92, a time prior to the birth of the MLB era in 1901. Of the 52 players born on July 4th who have played in the majors, only Welch is a Hall of Famer. Another pitcher born July 4 is George Mullin. He pitched from 1902-15 and won 228 games. Topping the list of saves by pitchers born on July 4th is Sergio Santos. He pitched from 2010-15 and had 39 career saves.
With regards to current players, there are four that are on MLB rosters who were born July 4: Zac Curtis, a pitcher with Seattle; Matt Dermody, a pitcher with Toronto; Jabari Blash, an outfielder with the Padres; and Jared Hughes, a reliever with the Brewers.
I think we have to give the winner of the “Greatest MLB player born on the Fourth of July” to Castilla. He is also the only player born on July 4 to have appeared in multiple All-Star Games (he was selected to a pair).
One final note: Considering that the lyrics of the song include “Yankee,” you would assume that there has to be a few players who have played for the Yankees that were born on the Fourth of July. There are five players born July 4th who played for the Yankees in their careers: Sergio Santos, Amauri Sanit, Jim Beattie, Hal Lanier and Jack Warhop.