In Major League Baseball history, only 11 players were born on February 29, a day that appears once every four years. By comparison, 47 players were born on February 28, and 45 were born on March 1.
Of the eleven players born on February 29, Pepper Martin might be the most famous. The Wild Horse of the Osage was a key member of the Gashouse Gang, in particular during the 1931 World Series versus the Philadelphia Athletics when he hit .500 in 24 at bats. Though Pepper Martin didn't play up to some expectations of being the next Ty Cobb, his 13 year featured 4 trips to the All Star Game, and a .418 World Series career batting average over 15 games. After his playing days, Martin went to have a 14 year career as a minor league manager, winning 1,036 games.
Al Rosen, the 4 time All Star and 1948 World Series Champion with the Cleveland Indians is the oldest living player born on Leap Year Day. During the next Leap Year, he will be 23 Leap Years old. Though Rosen's playing career ended in 1956, his single season and all-time franchise numbers continue to sprinkle the team records. Later in life Rosen joined the front office of the New York Yankees, Houston Astros, and most successfully with the San Francisco Giants. With the Giants, Rosen oversaw a turnaround from last place in 1985 to an NL pennant in 1989.
Perhaps the most well known in the modern times of baseball is Terrence Long, an 8 year Major League veteran whose career took off with the Moneyball Oakland Athletics. Though his career peak was rather short, 2000 through 2003, Long did finish as a runner up to Kazuhiro Sasaki for the AL Rookie of the Year in 2000. Terrence Long turns 38 this year, but he'll need to wait another year to celebrate his birthday.
Bill Long, unrelated to Terrence Long, is another Leap Year birthday celebrated in Major League Baseball. Long had the definition of a solid, if average, major league career. His career finished with a 27-27 record and a 4.37 ERA over 6 seasons. He served up his first home run to Hall of Famer Eddie Murray. The last two homers he allowed were slugged by future Hall of Famer Barry Bonds. He turns 60 this year.
Steve Mingori was a key member of the Kansas City Royals during the franchise's first postseason stretch of success. For his career, he has a 3.03 ERA, but during 1976-1979, Mingori turned it up a notch and had a 2.68 ERA over 218 innings during those three years. Mingori passed away in 2008 at the age of 64.
Ralph Miller, a player with a brief stint with the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Senators in the 1920's, earned himself a World Series Championship as a member of the Senators in 1924.
Last of the key players born on Leap Year Day, Dickey Pearce, is certainly not the least important. Dickey Pearce has been credited with possibly being the first player to be paid for playing ball, as well as the pioneer of the shortstop position and popularizing the fair-foul hit, which was abolished before the modern day bunt replaced it. Dickey Pearce's professional record starts when he was 35 years old, but he played ball for more that a decade prior to professional leagues were established.
Jerry Fry, Al Autry, Ed Appleton, and Roy Parker round out the rest of the players in MLB history with Leap Year Birthdays.