More than 18,000 big-leaguers have taken the field since the National League was formed in 1876, and today’s the day that we can realize how unique some of those players are.
Today’s Feb. 29 — yep, it’s a Leap Year — and in 140 years of professional baseball at the highest of levels just 12 make the cut if you want a unique collection.
How? Only 12 big-leaguers were born on Feb. 29.
There is a two-time World Series champion and four-time All-Star in the bunch — former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Pepper Martin, who hit .298 with 501 RBI in 1,189 games from 1928-44. He led the NL in stolen bases three times and had 146 total for his career.
For more modern players, former Cleveland Indians star and 1953 American League MVP Al Rosen is the best of the bunch with 192 career home runs and a .285 average over 10 seasons from 1947-56. The next-best? That goes to the youngest player on the list, Terrence Long, who hit 69 in eight seasons with the Mets, A’s, Padres, Royals and Yankees.
On the pitching side? A 27-game winner Bill Long — that’s 27 wins for his six-year career — and Steve Mingori, who had 42 saves in 10 seasons.
Do they all appear on baseball cards? Not likely given the timeframes, but that will be the first part of the hunt for someone who wants to try a small collecting niche.
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