March 29, 2019

Farewell to 20th Century Baseball: Opening Day was the first without a player from the 20th century on an MLB roster since the 1920s, following the departures of Adrian Beltre and Bartolo Colon.

posted by rcade to baseball at 01:33 PM - 11 comments

I'm trying to find the first player from the 20th century to make a roster to no avail. So far the 1901 births are leading me to players who appeared in 1920 or 1921 but opening day information isn't as easy to find.

posted by rcade at 01:34 PM on March 29, 2019

I tried to tell someone today that Elvis Luciano was the 1st 21st century player, D.O.B. February 15, 2000. I was informed that the year 2000 is the final year of the 20th century.

So, have we had a 21st century player yet?

posted by tommybiden at 01:58 PM on March 29, 2019

Ugh! I didn't check that. Corrected.

posted by rcade at 02:34 PM on March 29, 2019

No worries. I mean, he was correct, but it doesn't make sense to me either.

posted by tommybiden at 03:37 PM on March 29, 2019

This was unnecessarily confusing. I thought the reference was to players born in the 20th century.

posted by billsaysthis at 04:12 PM on March 29, 2019

The first player born in 1901 to play in MLB was...Jerry Conway.

Here is everyone born in 1901 that played between 1916 and 1920 (in case there were any crazy Joe Nuxhall type appearances:


Rk Player Year Born Age Tm Lg G
1 Fred Heimach 1920 1901 19 PHA AL 1
2 Virgil Cheeves 1920 1901 19 CHC NL 5
3 Jerry Conway 1920 1901 19 WSH AL 1

Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 3/30/2019.

Fred Heimach debuted on October 1, 1920. He played for 13 seasons.
Virgil Cheeves debuted on September 7, 1920. He played for 6 seasons.
Jerry Conway debuted on August 31, 1920. It was the only MLB game of his career.

As for a player born in 1901 to make an opening day roster, that probably goes to Johnny Cooney. He pitched in the 1921 Boston Braves' 6th game of the season (April 19), so he was probably on the opening day roster (April 13). As well, the previously mentioned Virgil Cheeves looks like he was on the opening day roster for the 1921 Chicago Cubs, but he didn't pitch until April 20th (6th game of the season).

posted by grum@work at 01:13 AM on March 30, 2019

So, have we had a 21st century player yet?

Not in baseball...yet.

Wander Franco is probably the most likely to make it to the majors as he is a HIGHLY touted prospect (top 10), and he was born on March 1, 2001. He's still got another year or two before Tampa might even consider bringing him up yet.

As for other sports, some kid picked in the first round of the NHL draft in June will probably make his teams opening night roster. This guy seems like a likely choice.

posted by grum@work at 01:23 AM on March 30, 2019

Thanks for the tip on Wander Franco, grum. I will for sure go see him play if he makes a stop in Durham on his way to Florida

posted by NoMich at 10:26 AM on March 30, 2019

This was unnecessarily confusing.

Yeah, "from the 20th century" is too broad. However it is explained, the idea that nobody left in baseball played in the 20th century is mind-blowing.

It feels like another reason to lament the passing of my dad two years ago. I miss him a little more than usual every Opening Day, and I'm really going to miss him the day the Rangers fire Jon Daniels. Nobody hated Daniels more than my dad. Sometimes on phone calls I'd mention Daniels just to hear the 10-minute tirade it always sent him on.

posted by rcade at 07:18 PM on March 30, 2019

All of this is just a reminder of how old we all (or at least some of us) are. I'm at the stage of life where when I go into a gas station or C-store and see "You must have been born before this date to buy tobacco products" and think to myself "That can't be right, can it?" Basically my unknown love child from high school can now rent a car without paying the extra "under-25" fees.

posted by holden at 11:33 PM on March 30, 2019

yes holden, some of use are definitely old. as in, my 40th high school reunion is in four weeks! that is not at all possible!!!

posted by billsaysthis at 11:47 AM on April 01, 2019

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