Happy Birthday–July 13

Tom York (1850)
George Bradley (1852)
Stan Coveleski (1889)
Lee Handley (1913)
Eliot Asinof (1919)
Fritz Dorish (1921)
Ruben Gomez (1927)
Daryl Spencer (1928)
Don Pavletich (1938)
Jack Aker (1940)
Buzz Stephen (1944)
Jerry Terrell (1946)
Bill Caudill (1956)
Mark Brown (1959)
Mike Fitzgerald (1960)
Pat Rapp (1967)
Ryan Ludwick (1978)
Yadier Molina (1982)
Shin-Soo Choo (1982)

We would also like to wish a happy birthday to uncleWalt’s cousin.

Right-hander Ruben Gomez appeared in six games for the Twins in 1962.  He was born in Arroyo, Puerto Rico, and played in independent ball (much more prevalent at the time) for nearly three years.  He played briefly for Havana in the Washington organization in 1951, then was in AAA briefly for the Yankees in 1952.  He then went to the New York Giants, starting 1953 in the majors and not looking back.  He was in the Giants’ rotation for six seasons, making the move to San Francisco with them.  He struggled with his control, leading the league in walks in 1954.  He averaged over 200 innings a season, though, and 1954 was actually his best year:  he went 17-9, 2.88.  He became the first Puerto Rican to pitch in a World Series that year.  He was traded to Philadelphia after the 1958 campaign, and his career hit hard times after that.  He had a poor year in 1959 and moved to the bullpen, but continued to struggle.  He was back in the minors for part of 1960 and all of 1961.  He was traded to Cleveland before the 1962 season and did well in AAA, earning his way back to the majors.  He did not pitch particularly well when he got there, however, and was traded to Minnesota in late August for Jackie Collum, a player to be named later (Georges Miranda) and cash.  He finished the year there, starting two games and relieving in four.  He allowed 11 runs (10 earned) on 17 hits and 11 walks in 19 innings.  The Twins released him the following January.  He went back to the Indians in 1963 and pitched well in AAA, but did not make it back to the majors.  He then went to the Mexican League for three years.  The Phillies then picked him up, and he started 1967 in the Philadelphia bullpen.  He did not do badly, but was let go in early May and went back to the Mexican League.  He continued to pitch in winter ball through 1977.  Ruben Gomez passed away from cancer in San Juan, Puerto Rico on July 26, 2004.

Louis Robert “Buzz” Stephen made two starts for the Twins in 1968.  He was born in Porterville, California and attended Cal State–Fresno.  He was drafted by Minnesota with the second pick of the June Secondary draft in 1966.  He did very well at Class A St. Cloud that season, but less well after that.  He won 11 games at AA Charlotte in 1968, though, which was good enough to get him a September call-up.  He made two starts for the Twins, giving up seven runs (six earned) on eleven hits and seven walks in 11.1 innings.  He was 1-1, 4.76.  He was then chosen by Seattle in the expansion draft.  He was in the minors for the Seattle/Milwaukee organization through June 15, 1970, then was traded to the Baltimore chain.  He did not do particularly well in either place, and his playing career was over after the 1970 season at age 26.  At last report, Buzz Stephen was living in his home town of Porterville, California.

Infielder Jerry Terrell played for the Twins from 1973-1977.  He was born in Waseca, Minnesota, grew up in Elysian, Minnesota (where an uncle of this author once lived), attended high school in Waterville, Minnestoa, and was drafted by Minnesota in the eighteenth round in 1968.  He was up and down in the minors.  Terrell hit .296 for Class A Auburn in 1968, missed all of 1969 due to military service, fell to .279 in Class A Lynchburg in 1970 and .231 in AA Charlotte in 1971, but came back to hit .290 in AAA Tacoma in 1972.  He never had any power and drew only a fair number of walks.  He was with the Twins at the start of the 1973 season and stayed there five years, with the exception of a couple of months in 1975.  He got the most playing time of his career his rookie year, when he started in over half the team’s games.  He never had a regular position for very long, but generally played quite a bit.  He made the bulk of his starts at shortstop in his career, but he also played second and third, made a handful of starts at first, and even played a few games in the outfield.  His best year offensively was 1975, which oddly was the year he was sent back to the minors to start the season.  He came back in early June to hit .286 with 16 doubles for an OPS of .669, all career highs.  Terrell became a free agent after the 1977 season and signed with Kansas City.  He was with the Royals for three years, but played sparingly in 1979 and was back in AAA for much of 1980.  His playing career then ended.  Terrell remained in baseball for quite some time after that as a minor league manager and as a scout; however, no information about what Jerry Terrell is currently doing was readily available.

Right-hander Mark Brown made six appearances for the Twins in 1985.  He was born in Bellows Falls, Vermont, went to high school in Windsor, Connecticut, and attended the University of Massachusetts–Amherst.  While growing up, he was a bat-boy for an American Legion team that included Carlton Fisk.  He was drafted by Baltimore in the sixth round in 1980.  He moved up through the Orioles chain, doing pretty well and reaching AAA in 1982.  He was mostly a relief pitcher in the minors, although he made some starts as well.  As a result of relieving and battling injuries much of his career, he never pitched more than one hundred innings in a minor league season.  He was called up to the Orioles in early August of 1984 and stayed the rest of the season.  He appeared in nine games pitching 23 innings.  Late in 1985 spring training, Brown was traded to Minnesota for Brad Havens.  He was in AAA Toledo most of the season, pitching well, and was called up for about six weeks in the middle of the year.  He pitched 15.2 innings in six games.  He allowed 13 runs (12 earned) on 21 hits in 7 walks for an ERA of 6.89, then lost his roster spot to Steve Howe.  Early in 1986, the Twins released Brown, and he signed with Baltimore again.  He played at AAA for them that season, then his playing career came to an end.  At last report, Mark Brown was living in Rochester, New York, and was instructing youth on the art of pitching.  He also speaks to various youth groups on the importance of getting a good education.

2 LTEs written in response to Happy Birthday–July 13

• UncleWalt

I apologize for any confusion Jeff A. If my moniker is UW and the wife is AuntieWalt, then my kids are CousinWalts, coined by AMR after one of the WGOM caucuses. I’m not the smartest guy, but I didn’t get it at first either.

My oldest is 9 today. We took the future GM to the Wild’s prospect scrimmage last night. His big gifts were Parise and Suter jersey T-shirts. Forget $200 jerseys. How about$27 T-shirts? Yikes! But he was amped.

• Jeff A

Sorry about that. I’ll fix it for next year. Tell the little Walt happy birthday from us!