Only sevem men in major league history have been born on a date that was a "natural triple" -- where the month, date and year all used only one number. True, we don't really know about 8-8-88 yet -- those guys aren't even 23 until early August! -- much less 9-9-99 (though we do have one from 1899!!)
There's no way to get a lineup, much less a roster from a list of seven, but let's take a moment to reflect on the history of The Great Game and meet these magnificent seven - -two are even in the Hall of Fame, and what are the odds of that?
So, with apologies to the 1990s Dallas Cowboys, it's time to meet ...
** indicates hall of Famer
* indicates All-Star
Jan 1, 1911: 1-1-11
One of thre great power hitters in MLB history, Greenberg missed about 750 games to World War II and still hit 331 homers in parts of 13 seasons, including an near-record 58 in 1938 ... If you had a baby boy yesterday, a century to the day Greenberg arrived on planet Earth, be sure to name the kid "Hank" ...
Jan. 11, 1911: 1-11-11
Fine infielder for four teams in the 1930s and 1940s who played nine years, with nearly 350 games at 2B and another 300+ at the other three infield positions combined ... Very little power (five career homers) but decent speed (80 career steals and 27 triples) ,,, .273 hitter with career OPS+ of 78.
Feb 2, 1922: 2-2-22
RHSP/RP for three teams, mostly the Giants, from 1946-53 ... 54 career wins, all but 10 of which came from 1948-50 ... Also placed in the NL Top 10 in saves twice, but never had more than five ... Also led the NL in HBP in consecutive seasons, 1948-49, with a high of 10 ...
Feb. 22, 1922: 2-22-22
The only natural-triple date so far to produce more than one major league veteran ...
Appeared in three games with the 1950 Senators, but apparently never played an inning of defense ... Had two plate appearances in which he made one out and drew a base on balls and scored a run ...
All-star shortstop during World War II, but his only big league appearances came from 1944-46 ... Hit .300 as a rookie in his '44 All-Star season, ended career at .259 in just 208 career at-bats ... Never homered, compiled just six XBH in his brief career ... Played almost exclusively at short, with one game at 2B ...
Then we entered the great triplet-free zone of baseball history, where there were NO MLB vets born on any of the following dates:
- March 3, 1933: 3-3-33
- April 4, 1944: 4-4-44
- May 5, 1955: 5-5-55
- June 6. 1966: 6-6-66
July 7, 1977: 7-7-77
Youngest triplet on this list by far ... saw quite a bit of playing time as a reserve with Arizone in 2004-06 ... Split time pretty evenly among 2B, 3B and the OF with a sprinkling of SS, but only played in 140 games total and managed a career average of exactly .200 ...
No more triplets were born in the 20th century, covering:
- Aug. 8, 1988: 8-8-88 (but again, they're only 22!)
- Sep. 9, 1999: 9-9-99 (but see later note)
For the record, the following dates are also triplet-free:
- Oct. 10, 1910: 10-10-10
- Nov. 11, 1911: 11-11-11
- Dec. 12, 1912: 12-12-12
But Waite! Er, I mean, but wait! There is one more, if we had back to the 19th century, and it's our second Hall of Famer ...
Sept. 9, 1899: 9-9-99
Cooperstown-enshrined RHSP won 237 games in a 21-year career that ended in 1938 ... A full 165 of those wins came in Yankee pinstripes, which probably hastened his HOF enshrinement ,,, Led AL in wins for the legendary 1927 Bombers ... Started 11 World Series games (and ppeared in 12), winning six ... In his first Fall Classic, 1921, threw 27 innings and had an ERA of 0.00 -- and still was just 2-1 in the Series. One of the first athletes-turned-announcer, working Cincinnati Reds radio for 20+ years and is in the Reds Hall of Fame.