Thursday, December 08, 2005

December 8th, 1976

Reed Johnson Born

Johnson is a light-hitting outfielder who has seen time for the Blue Jays as both a regular and fourth outfielder. What drew me to him today is not, however his capacities as a player, but rather his date of birth. In 2004 the Blue Jays' outfield was composed more often than not of Johnson in left, Vernon Wells in center and Alexis Rios in right. While Rios was born February 18th (in the marvelously named "Coffee, Alabama") Wells was also born on December 8th, albeit two years later.

So the question then is has there ever been a regular starting outfield in which all three players shared the same birthday? It would seem like a statistical unlikelihood, but in point of fact it has almost certainly happened. There is a parlor game centered around that if you take a room of thirty random people, it is likely two share a birthday. (As this site demonstrates, when you plug in "30" a date will match up an overwhelming amount of the time.) Given how small a number of people are required to share just one birthday, it seems more than possible that Major League Baseball--which has had nearly two hundred and fifty outfielder combinations since 1998 alone--managed to assemble a same birthday-ed regular outfield. (Incidentally, given the huge number of outfield combinations that have existed, some for just an inning or two, I'm even more positive that three men with the same birthday have been in the outfield together at some point.)

Despite much searching, I haven't been able to find anything on an outfield that featured three players all born on the same day. But I remain convinced of its existence. And who knows, if the Yankees trade for Ryan Kelso and Damon Hollins, they can add them to the Hideki Matsui outfield and make me look smart. Of course, it'd make them look dumb giving up Gary Sheffield just for a birthday novelty. But I guess stranger things have happened.

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