Happy Birthday–July 21

Johnny Evers (1881)
Howie Shanks (1890)
Moe Drabowski (1935)
John Bateman (1940)
Denis Menke (1940)
Mike Hegan (1942)
Jim Manning (1943)
John Hart (1948)
Al Hrabosky (1949)
Mike Cubbage (1950)
Dave Henderson (1958)
Mike Bordick (1965)
Lance Painter (1967)
Kimera Bartee (1972)
Brian Buchanan (1973)
Geoff Jenkins (1974)
Willie Eyre (1978)
C. C. Sabathia (1980)

Right-hander Jim Manning made five appearances with the Twins in 1962.  He was born in L'Anse, Michigan, went to high school in Ewan, Michigan, and signed with the Twins as a free agent in 1961.  He had a fairly mediocre year in Class D Wytheville in 1961, but started 1962 in the majors.  He lasted almost a month, making four relief appearances and one start.  He did not give up any earned runs in the relief appearances, but allowed six runs (four earned) on seven hits in 2.1 innings in the start, so his stats show an ERA of 5.14 in seven innings.  Those are also his lifetime numbers, as he never made it back to the big leagues again.  He spent the rest of 1962 in Class A Charlotte, had solid years in AA in 1963-1965, but never got any higher and was let go by the Twins after the 1965 season.  He was at AA York in the Washington organization in 1966, then his playing career was over at age 23.  It seems odd that the Twins would jump him from Class D to the majors at age 18, but not give him another chance when he was a little older and had some success at AA.  As you might guess, there are lots of people in the world named "Jim Manning".  No information about what this Jim Manning has done since his playing career ended was readily available.

Infielder Mike Cubbage played for the Twins from 1976-1980.  Born and raised in Charlottesville, Virginia, he attended the University of Virginia and was drafted by Washington in the second round of the June Secondary draft in 1971.  He played more second base than third in the minors, although he saw time at both positions.  He hit for high averages throughout the minors, topping .300 every year but 1972, when he hit .281 for Class A Burlington.  Cubbage was in the majors with Texas briefly at the start of 1974 and came up to stay in mid-June of 1975, playing as a reserve second baseman.  On June 1 of 1976, he was traded to Minnesota with Jim Gideon, Bill Singer, Roy Smalley, and $250,000 for Bert Blyleven and Danny Thompson.  He was the mostly regular third baseman for the next few years, sharing the position with Dave McKay, Jerry Terrell, and Larry Wolfe but getting the majority of the playing time.  He hit for a decent average with a fair number of walks, but had little power.  In 1979 he began losing playing time to John Castino, and in 1980 he actually saw more playing time at first base than at third, starting 59 games there.  He really didn't hit enough for a third baseman, so his offense was completely inadequate at first.  As a Twin, he hit .266/.336/.378 in 1,681 at-bats.  Cubbage became a free agent after the 1980 season and signed with the Mets.  He was mostly a pinch-hitter for the Mets, missing two months with an injury.  He played in AAA for them in 1982, then his playing career came to an end.  He remained in the Mets' organization, however, managing for them in the minors from 1983-1989 and coaching for them in the majors from 1990-1996.  He then coached for Houston in 1997-2001 and for Boston from 2002-2003.  At last report, Mike Cubbage was a scout for the Tampa Bay Rays.  He is a cousin of former major league players Chris Haney and Larry Haney.

Outfielder Kimera Bartee did not play for the Twins in either the majors or the minors, but did belong to their team for a short time.  Born and raised in Omaha, he went to Creighton, then was drafted by Baltimore in the fourteenth round in 1993.  A speedy singles hitter, Bartee hit fairly well in the minors through 1995.  At that point, he came to the Twins with Scott Klingenbeck as the player to be named later in the trade that sent Scott Erickson to Baltimore.  This happened in mid-September; that December, the Twins left Bartee unprotected in the Rule 5 draft and Baltimore took him back.  They waived him in spring training, and he was chosen by Detroit.  He stayed with the Tigers all of the 1996 season and wasn't awful as a reserve outfielder, hitting .253 in 217 at-bats and stealing 20 bases.  He went back and forth from AAA Toledo to Detroit from 1997-1999, but never hit above .200 again in a major league season.  Bartee went to the Reds' organization for 2000, signed with Anaheim for 2001, was traded to Colorado in mid-July for Chone Figgins (a trade that worked out well for the Angels), went to the Cubs for 2002, and played for Long Island in the independent Atlantic League from 2003-2004 before ending his playing career.  His major league numbers are .216/.282/.298 in 416 at-bats.  Bartee has remained in baseball since his playing career ended.  He was a coach in the Baltimore minor league organization from 2005-2007, and is currently the minor league outfield/baserunning coordinator for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Outfielder Brian Buchanan played for the Twins from 2000-2002.  He was born in Miami, went to high school in Fairfax, Virginia, attended the University of Virginia, and was drafted by the Yankees in the first round in 1994.  He hit well in the minors for them, but without as much power as one might suspect; his best home run season in the Yankees' system was 14 in 1997.  In February of 1998, Buchanan was traded to Minnesota with Cristian Guzman, Eric Milton, Danny Mota, and cash for Chuck Knoblauch.  Sent to AAA Salt Lake, he hit well for them.  His best year was 2000, when he hit .297 with 27 homers and 103 RBIs despite being in the majors for a month of that season and again in September.  2001 was Buchanan's first full year in the majors, and he didn't do badly as a reserve outfielder, hitting .274 with 10 homers in 174 at-bats.  He remained with the Twins through mid-July of 2002, when he was traded to San Diego for Jason Bartlett.  As a Twin, he hit ,258/.319/.428 in 414 at-bats.  He did a decent job as a reserve outfielder for the Padres in 2003 but slumped in 2004, went to AAA, and was released in late August.  The Mets signed him the next day and he finished the season for them.  Buchanan signed with Tampa Bay for 2005, was released at the end of spring training, signed with Colorado, was released in late July, signed with Minnesota, and was in Rochester through the end of the season.  He signed with Cincinnati for 2006, was released in mid-May, finished the season with the St. Paul Saints, and played in Japan in 2007.  He then signed with Kansas City and played in AAA Omaha from 2008-2009, retiring after the 2009 campaign.  Brian Buchanan is currently managing Idaho Falls in the Royals' minor league system.

Right-hander William Mays Eyre pitched for the Twins in 2006.  He was born in Fountain Valley, California, attended the College of Eastern Utah (the only major league player that school has produced), and was drafted by Minnesota in the twenty-third round in 1999.  He started slowly, but began pitching well when shifted to the bullpen in 2001.  He reached AAA in 2003 and had a fine year for Rochester in 2005, going 10-3, 2.72 with seven saves and a WHIP of 1.29.  Eyre then spent all of 2006 in Minnesota, his only full year in the majors to date.  He did not do particularly well, going 1-0, 5.31 with a WHIP of 1.64 in 59.1 innings spread over 42 games.  He was allowed to become a free agent after the 2006 season and signed with Texas.  He began 2007 in AAA, but was quickly called up to the majors, where he remained most of the season.  His numbers were not any better than they had been with Minnesota, and in late August he was injured.  He missed all of 2008 with Tommy John surgery but came back in 2009, reaching the majors for about two months in four different stints.  Eyre remained in the Texas organization in 2010, pitching well for AAA Oklahoma City.  He moved on to the Oakland system for 2011 and is having a good year for AAA Sacramento.  He is the brother of former major league pitcher Scott Eyre.  He turns 33 today, so he will obviously never be a star, but it would not be that surprising to see him back in the majors again at some point.

4 thoughts on “Happy Birthday–July 21”

  1. I got to see Buchanan play 1B for the Saints. It was clear that a major-leaguer on the downward slide at the end of his career was still way above most of the other players there. We were sitting on the 1B side and I cheered quite loudly for him. I had a lot to drink at that point (it was a hot day game and the seats have no shade), so I'm afraid it may have sounded like heckling to him. I hope not, that's not how it was intended.

  2. I would be more surprised if Groundskeeper Willie never makes it back to the majors. Good player for a team that doesn't want to push their prospects into a long relief role. He won't embarrass the team if the starter got shelled, and if you need him in extra innings, he could surprise you. In a pinch, could possibly spot start, maybe in one of those bullpen games, where you hope two long relievers can go at least three IP a piece.

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