Youngest Active Player Chronology

Editor’s note: I originally wrote this in 1998. Obviously, some of the facts here are out of date.

When Hall-of-Famer Harry Wright played his first game of the 1871 season on May 5, 1871, he became the oldest person to ever play major league baseball. That’s not to say that nobody ever took the field who was older than Wright’s thirty-six. Rather, no player who was born earlier than Wright has ever played in the majors. Even with expansion, it’s unlikely that Wright’s record will be broken. As far as I know, there isn’t a person alive who was born earlier than January 10, 1835.

Pitcher Fred Chapman was the youngest player to make his debut (14 years 7 months 29 days). But the youngest person to ever play baseball keeps changing. At the end of the 1998 season, that distinction belongs to Pirates thirdbaseman Aramis Ramirez. Born June 25, 1978, he’s more than a year younger than Kerry Wood and almost a month younger than Mike Caruso. No doubt, someone younger than Ramirez will make their major league debut sometime next year.

One of the reasons this list is interesting is it helps to answer a question I’m frequently asked — “who was the first person to reach the majors who was younger than me?” If you were born on June 1, 1969, the answer is Ken Griffey. Here’s the list of players who have held the title “Baseball’s Youngest Player.”

Player                             Birthdate          Debut
MATHEWS, BOBBY                    11/21/1851       5/4/1871
ANSON, CAP                        04/11/1852       5/6/1871
STEARNS, BILL                     03/20/1853      6/26/1871
McCARTON, FRANK                   10/06/1854      4/26/1872
BRITT, JIM                        02/25/1856       5/2/1872
BOND, TOMMY                       04/02/1856       5/5/1874
LUFF, HENRY                       09/14/1856      4/21/1875
CROWLEY, BILL                     04/08/1857      4/26/1875
KEENAN, JIM                       02/10/1858      5/17/1875
PEARCE, FRANK                     03/30/1860      10/4/1876
LEE, LEONIDAS                     12/13/1860      7/17/1877
STEARNS, ECKY                     10/17/1861      8/17/1880
McGINNIS, JUMBO                   02/22/1864       5/2/1882
SCOTT, MILT                       01/17/1866      9/30/1882
WARD, PIGGY                       04/16/1867      6/12/1883
SEWARD, ED                        06/29/1867      9/30/1885
FULLER, ED                        03/22/1868      7/17/1886
SMITH, ELMER                      03/23/1868      9/10/1886
BISHOP, BILL                      12/27/1869      9/13/1886
CHAPMAN, FRED                     11/24/1872      7/22/1887
Player                             Birthdate          Debut
McGILL, WILLIE                    11/10/1873       5/8/1890
CLYMER, BILL                      12/18/1873      6/26/1891
HESS, TOM                         08/15/1875       6/6/1892
SOMMERVILLE, ANDY                 02/06/1876       8/8/1894
SAMULS, IKE                       02/20/1876       8/3/1895
BATTAM, LARRY                     05/01/1878      9/28/1895
MARTIN, FRANK                     02/28/1879      6/30/1897
BRESNAHAN, ROGER                  06/11/1879      8/27/1897
STANLEY, JOE                      04/02/1881      9/11/1897
McLEAN, LARRY                     07/18/1881      4/26/1901
SCOTT, DICK                       02/05/1883      6/26/1901
ST.VRAIN, JIM                     06/06/1883      4/20/1902
KANE, HARRY                       07/27/1883       8/8/1902
BENDER, CHIEF                     05/05/1884      4/20/1903
BARTLEY, BILL                     01/08/1885      9/15/1903
LUSH, JOHNNY                      10/08/1885      4/22/1904
BADER, ART                        09/21/1886       8/2/1904
COBB, TY                          12/18/1886      8/30/1905
ROWAN, JACK                       06/16/1887       9/6/1906
HITT, ROY                         06/22/1887      4/27/1907
Player                             Birthdate          Debut
BUTLER, KID                       08/09/1887      4/30/1907
BURNETT, JACK                     12/02/1889       7/2/1907
McINNIS, STUFFY                   09/19/1890      4/12/1909
BLANK, COONIE                     10/18/1892      8/15/1909
CURRY, JIM                        03/10/1893      10/2/1909
PENNOCK, HERB                     02/10/1894      5/14/1912
O'ROURKE, FRANK                   11/28/1894      6/12/1912
ACOSTA, MERITO                    05/19/1896      6/15/1913
ROCHEFORT, BEN                    08/15/1896      10/3/1914
DAVIS, BUD                        12/07/1896      4/19/1915
MALONE, LEW                       03/13/1897      5/31/1915
BROWN, JIM                        03/31/1897      9/13/1915
GRIMM, CHARLIE                    08/28/1898      7/30/1916
SHEA, RED                         11/29/1898       5/6/1918
SHELLENBACK, FRANK                12/16/1898       5/8/1918
TUERO, OSCAR                      12/17/1898      5/30/1918
BERMAN, BOB                       01/24/1899       6/4/1918
REES, STAN                        02/25/1899      6/12/1918
HEHL, JAKE                        12/08/1899      6/20/1918
WEINERT, LEFTY                    04/21/1902      9/24/1919
Player                             Birthdate          Debut
HENRY, DUTCH                      05/12/1902      9/16/1921
HOGAN, KENNY                      10/09/1902      10/2/1921
BRILLHEART, JIM                   09/28/1903      4/17/1922
JACKSON, TRAVIS                   11/02/1903      9/27/1922
ROSENBERG, LOU                    03/05/1904      5/22/1923
CORTAZZO, JESS                    09/26/1904       9/1/1923
LINDSTROM, FREDDY                 11/21/1905      4/15/1924
CLOUGH, ED                        10/28/1906      8/28/1924
OGRODOWSKI, JOE                   11/20/1906      4/27/1925
FOXX, JIMMIE                      10/22/1907       5/1/1925
OTT, MEL                          03/02/1909      4/27/1926
HARDER, MEL                       10/15/1909      4/24/1928
CICERO, JOE                       11/18/1910      9/20/1929
BROWN, BOB                        04/01/1911      4/21/1930
KRAUSSE, LEW                      06/08/1912      6/11/1931
FIEBER, CLARENCE                  09/04/1913      5/18/1932
SALVESON, JACK                    01/05/1914       6/3/1933
HAYES, FRANKIE                    10/13/1914      9/21/1933
Player                             Birthdate          Debut
MAULDIN, MARK                     11/05/1914      9/10/1934
DIGGS, REESE                      09/22/1915      9/15/1934
CAVARRETTA, PHIL                  07/19/1916      9/16/1934
RIPLEY, WALT                      11/26/1916      8/17/1935
GUMPERT, RANDY                    01/23/1918      6/13/1936
FELLER, BOB                       11/03/1918      7/19/1936
LUCADELLO, JOHNNY                 02/22/1919      9/24/1938
HUTCHINSON, FRED                  08/12/1919       5/2/1939
MASTERSON, WALT                   06/22/1920       5/8/1939
SISTI, SIBBY                      07/26/1920      7/21/1939
KENNEDY, BOB                      08/18/1920      9/14/1939
NEWHOUSER, HAL                    05/20/1921      9/29/1939
FILE, SAM                         05/18/1922      9/10/1940
FREIBURGER, VERN                  12/19/1923       9/6/1941
EYRICH, GEORGE                    03/03/1925      6/13/1943
MARTIN, RAY                       03/13/1925      8/15/1943
McKEE, ROGERS                     09/16/1926      8/18/1943
SCHEIB, CARL                      01/01/1927       9/6/1943
NUXHALL, JOE                      07/30/1928      6/10/1944
CURRIN, PERRY                     09/27/1928      6/29/1947
SWARTZ, BUD                       06/13/1929      7/12/1947
Player                             Birthdate          Debut
STOBBS, CHUCK                     07/02/1929      9/15/1947
ANTONELLI, JOHNNY                 04/12/1930       7/4/1948
BAUMER, JIM                       01/29/1931      9/14/1949
BOLGER, JIM                       02/23/1932      6/24/1950
CHITI, HARRY                      11/16/1932      9/27/1950
DelGRECO, BOBBY                   04/07/1933      4/16/1952
WAUGH, JIM                        11/25/1933      4/19/1952
CONSOLO, BILLY                    08/18/1934      4/20/1953
MILLER, BOB                       07/15/1935      6/25/1953
JAY, JOEY                         08/15/1935      7/21/1953
LEJA, FRANK                       02/07/1936       5/1/1954
KILLEBREW, HARMON                 06/29/1936      6/23/1954
CARROLL, TOM                      09/17/1936       5/7/1955
BOYER, CLETE                      02/09/1937       6/5/1955
SMALL, JIM                        03/08/1937      6/22/1955
KUHN, KENNY                       03/20/1937       7/7/1955
PAGLIARONI, JIM                   12/08/1937      8/13/1955
GEORGE, ALEX                      09/27/1938      9/16/1955
McCORMICK, MIKE                   09/29/1938       9/3/1956
Player                             Birthdate          Debut
MOELLER, RON                      10/13/1938       9/8/1956
DERRINGTON, JIM                   11/29/1939      9/30/1956
SKAUGSTAD, DAVE                   01/10/1940      9/25/1957
MILLER, ROD                       01/16/1940      9/28/1957
ELLSWORTH, DICK                   03/22/1940      6/22/1958
McCARVER, TIM                     10/16/1941      9/10/1959
MURPHY, DANNY                     08/23/1942      6/18/1960
KRAUSSE, LEW                      04/25/1943      6/16/1961
MANNING, JIM                      07/21/1943      4/15/1962
KIRKPATRICK, ED                   10/08/1944      9/13/1962
KRANEPOOL, ED                     11/08/1944      9/22/1962
DAHL, JAY                         12/06/1945      9/27/1963
CRAWFORD, WILLIE                  09/07/1946      9/16/1964
DIERKER, LARRY                    09/22/1946      9/22/1964
BETHKE, JIM                       11/05/1946      4/12/1965
COLEMAN, JOE                      02/03/1947      9/28/1965
MONTANEZ, WILLIE                  04/01/1948      4/12/1966
NOLAN, GARY                       05/27/1948      4/15/1967
BRETT, KEN                        09/18/1948      9/27/1967
McMATH, JIMMY                     08/10/1949       9/7/1968
GAMBLE, OSCAR                     12/20/1949      8/27/1969
Player                             Birthdate          Debut
ALLEN, LLOYD                      05/08/1950       9/1/1969
VALENTINE, BOBBY                  05/13/1950       9/2/1969
McQUEEN, MIKE                     08/30/1950      10/2/1969
GULLETT, DON                      01/06/1951      4/10/1970
MOORE, BALOR                      01/25/1951      5/21/1970
BLYLEVEN, BERT                    04/06/1951       6/5/1970
FORSTER, TERRY                    01/14/1952      4/11/1971
PORTER, DARRELL                   01/17/1952       9/2/1971
FRANKLIN, JAY                     03/16/1953       9/4/1971
CHRISTENSON, LARRY                11/10/1953      4/13/1973
CLYDE, DAVID                      04/22/1955      6/27/1973
YOUNT, ROBIN                      09/16/1955       4/5/1974
CLARK, JACK                       11/10/1955      9/12/1975
WYNEGAR, BUTCH                    03/14/1956       4/9/1976
TEMPLETON, GARRY                  03/24/1956       8/9/1976
MONROE, LARRY                     06/20/1956      8/23/1976
GRIFFIN, ALFREDO                  10/06/1957       9/4/1976
ROMERO, ED                        12/09/1957      7/16/1977
TRAMMELL, ALAN                    02/21/1958       9/9/1977
GREER, BRIAN                      05/14/1959      9/13/1977
MORGAN, MIKE                      10/08/1959      6/11/1978
Player                             Birthdate          Debut
CONROY, TIM                       04/03/1960      6/23/1978
SEILHEIMER, RICKY                 08/30/1960       7/5/1980
DAVIS, MARK                       10/19/1960      9/12/1980
VALENZUELA, FERNANDO              11/01/1960      9/15/1980
NELSON, GENE                      12/03/1960       5/4/1981
MANRIQUE, FRED                    11/05/1961      8/23/1981
NUNEZ, EDWIN                      05/27/1963       4/7/1982
OQUENDO, JOSE                     07/04/1963       5/2/1983
REYES, GILBERTO                   12/10/1963      6/11/1983
SABERHAGEN, BRET                  04/11/1964       4/4/1984
RIJO, JOSE                        05/13/1965       4/5/1984
LEE, MANUEL                       06/17/1965      4/10/1985
CORREA, ED                        04/29/1966      9/18/1985
GARCIA, MIGUEL                    04/03/1967      4/30/1987
JEFFERIES, GREGG                  08/01/1967       9/6/1987
ALOMAR, ROBERTO                   02/05/1968      4/22/1988
MARTINEZ, RAMON                   03/22/1968      8/13/1988
SHEFFIELD, GARY                   11/18/1968       9/3/1988
GRIFFEY, KEN                      11/21/1969       4/3/1989
ALVAREZ, WILSON                   03/24/1970      7/24/1989
AVERY, STEVE                      04/14/1970      6/13/1990
Player                             Birthdate          Debut
GARCES, RICH                      05/18/1971      9/18/1990
RODRIGUEZ, IVAN                   11/27/1971      6/20/1991
VanPOPPEL, TODD                   12/09/1971      9/11/1991
NIEVES, MELVIN                    12/28/1971       9/1/1992
GIL, BENJI                        10/06/1972       4/5/1993
NEWFIELD, MARC                    10/19/1972       7/6/1993
TAVAREZ, JULIAN                   05/22/1973       8/7/1993
PARK, CHAN HO                     06/30/1973       4/8/1994
VALDES, ISMAEL                    08/21/1973      6/15/1994
RODRIGUEZ, ALEX                   07/27/1975       7/8/1994
GARCIA, KARIM                     10/29/1975       9/2/1995
RENTERIA, EDGAR                   08/07/1976      5/10/1996
JONES, ANDRUW                     04/23/1977      8/15/1996
CARUSO, MIKE                      05/27/1977        3/31/98
WOOD, KERRY                       06/17/1977        4/25/98
RAMIREZ, ARAMIS                   06/25/1978        5/26/98