Robinson Cano and Darren O'Day don't have much in common. Cano, the son of a major leaguer, signed out of the Dominican Republic as a teenager and has developed into an All-Star and MVP candidate. You won't find O'Day on any MVP ballots and the side-arming right-hander has never been a top prospect. The Florida native wasn't even drafted and is far from a franchise player; two teams have already exposed him to waivers.
But the players do have something in common. Both were born 28 years ago today; Cano in San Pedro de Macoris and O'Day in Jacksonville. Their current clubs acquired them in different ways, but neither player joined his current organization with much fanfare. Cano signed a modest six-figure bonus in 2001, without the hype that surrounded international prospects like Michael Ynoa, Miguel Sano or Felix Heredia.
The Angels, who signed O'Day as a non-drafted free agent, lost him to the Mets in the 2008 Rule 5 draft. The Mets then exposed him to waivers and saw the Rangers claim him last April. It was easily one of the shrewdest claims of Jon Daniels' tenure as GM (the Alexi Ogando claim is another). O'Day has posted a 1.99 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 117.2 innings since joining the Rangers.
Neither move made headlines at the time, but both players are contributors as their respective teams try to advance to the World Series. Interestingly enough, Cano and O'Day have never faced each other. It seems unlikely that Ron Washington would bring the sidearmer in to face Cano, who bats left-handed, but as observers of the 2010 postseason will tell you, stranger things have happened. It'd be fitting if the two met for the first time tonight as they celebrate their 28th birthdays with the season at stake.