Monday night in St. Petersburg, Evan Longoria hit a big home run on his 26th birthday. Which means ... Trivia Time!
Via @EliasSports Evan Longoria is 2nd player to homer in a postseason game played on his birthday (Willie Aikens, 1980 Royals vs Phillies)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 8, 2013
Just a few notes about Willie Mays Aikens ...
Aikens didn't hit one home run on his 26th birthday. He hit two home runs. That was in Game 1, which the Royals lost in Philadelphia despite Aikens' feat. A few days later in Kansas City, he did it again. I remember this particularly well, because I was there. At the time, Aikens was just the second player with multiple multiple-homer games in one World Series. The first was Babe Ruth.
Also, his name isn't Willie Mays Aikens. It's just Willie Aikens, and he was named after his mother's brother Willie. It's been said that the obstetrician who delivered Willie was Dr. Mays. It's also been said that the doctor (whatever his name) predicted that young Willie would become a "famous ballplayer." As Bill Deane points out in his essential book, Baseball Myths: Debating: Debunking, and Disproving Tales from the Diamond, this would have been perfectly natural, considering that Willie Mays had so recently starred in the 1954 World Series.
But the facts remain: Willie was named after his uncle, and Mays never appeared on his birth certificate. And yet somehow, all the standard sources still list his full name as Willie Mays Aikens. Makes for a good story.
Postscript: It seems surprising that only two players have homered on their birthday in the postseason. Anybody want to run some quick, back-of-the-envelope math and see if this seems at all likely?