I’ve never believed in astrology and consider it a pseudo-science promoted by charlatans and aimed at bead-twirling, credulous airheads who wouldn’t know an astrologer from an astronomer.
So I can’t and won’t blame my birthdate (Sept. 3) for my lack of baseball skills. The only way I’ve ever been able to get into professional baseball games have been with tickets or press credentials.
I began wondering about Major League Baseball players born on Sept. 3, guys who were paid to play and didn’t have to buy tickets. So, my next stop was the greatest website in the history of the Internet – www.baseball-reference.com.
There I found that 46 players born on Sept. 3 have played in the majors. The birthdate and whatever nonsense anybody spouts about stars and planets and alignments didn’t keep these men out of the big leagues.
The first Sept. 3 baby to play in the big leagues was Harry Decker, who was born in 1864, as the Civil War raged.
He made his big-league debut in 1884 and played parts of four seasons for teams called the Alleghenies, Cowboys, Wolverines, Quakers and Nationals.
Most of the Sept. 3 big-leaguers have been obscure and are long-forgotten.
Guy McFadden, for example, was born in 1872 and played four games for the 1892 St. Louis Browns. The first baseman was 3-for-17 in the big leagues.
There was a big-leaguer born on Sept. 3 with the last name Miller. That was Dusty Miller, who was born in 1876 in Malvern, Iowa. Dusty played for the Chicago Orphans in 1902, hitting .246 in 51 games. And his big-league career was over.
There have been good Sept. 3 big-leaguers such as outfielder George Stone, who was born in 1876 in Lost Nation, Iowa. His nickname was Silent George and, according to a profile on sabr.org, which quoted an older story, Stone’ tastes “run to reading and his hobby is violin playing.”
He hit .301 in a seven-year career and in 1906 with the Browns led the American League with a .358 batting average.
Another good Sept. 3 player was first baseman Ed Konetchy, who was born in 1885. He played in the majors from 1904 to 1921 and eight times led National League first basemen in fielding percentage. He also hit 182 triples in his career. That’s tied for 15th all-time.
The obscure players include shortstop John Scott, whose big-league career consisted of eight games for the Pittsburgh Rebels of the Federal League. He was 6-for-24.
All those cat people on Facebook (I’m sure none of them will read this) might find this of interest. One of the Sept. 3 players was Katsy Keifer, who was born in 1891 and also played in the short-lived Federal League. He won his only game for the Indianapolis Hoosiers.
One of the best and best-known Sept. 3 players was Eddie Stankey, the epitome of a scrappy player. In a coincidence he also attended a high school with the same name of my high school – Northeast. Stankey’s Northeast is in Philadelphia; I attended Northeast High in St. Petersburg.
Stankey had modest physical ability. His high school coach said, “He was an ordinary boy with extraordinary ambition.”
Stankey’s family name was Stankiewicz was Anglicized when he was very young. His nickname was The Brat.
A largely forgotten Sept. 3 player was Cuban pitcher Sandy Consuegra, who was born in 1920, had one extraordinary year. In 1954, at the age of 34, he was 16-3 with a 2.69 ERA for the White Sox. His .842 winning percentage was tops in the American League that year.
Those 16 wins were nearly a third of his career total. Consuegra was 51-32 in eight seasons.
The most recent Sept. 3 baby to reach the majors was Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown, who was born in 1987 and is hitting .274 with 27 homers and 81 RBI this year
Brown has a chance to be the greatest Sept. 3 player of all time. Hope he can handle the pressure.
I’ll be rooting for Domonic.