Happy Birthday–October 12

Sam Field (1846)
Charlie Morton (1854)
Pop Smith (1856)
Malachi Kittridge (1869)
Pete Hill (1882)
Dixie Davis (1890)
Rick Ferrell (1905)
Joe Cronin (1906)
Al Smith (1907)
Bob Sheppard (1910)
Al Unser (1912)
John Kennedy (1926)
Tony Kubek (1935)
Glenn Beckert (1940)
Herman Hill (1945)
Garth Iorg (1954)
Jim Lewis (1955)
Sid Fernandez (1962)
Jose Valentin (1969)
Derrick White (1969)
Tanyon Sturtze (1970)
Tony Fiore (1971)

Hall of Famer Joe Cronin, of course, played for the Washington franchise from 1928-1934, managing the team in the latter two years. He married Clark Griffith’s niece, which did not keep Griffith from trading him to Boston after the 1934 season.

If there was a Hall of Fame for public address announcers, Bob Sheppard would be the first one in.

Jose Valentin is the brother of ex-Twin Javier Valentin.

First baseman/outfielder Derrick White was drafted by Minnesota in the 23rd round in 1989, but did not sign. He played in the major leagues for Montreal, Detroit, the Cubs, and Colorado, playing in three seasons and totaling 116 at-bats.

Outfielder Herman Alexander Hill played for the Twins in 1969 and 1970. He was born in Tuskegee, Alabama. The youngest of thirteen children, he moved with his family to New Jersey, where Hill became an all-state football player in Freehold, New Jersey. He was signed by the Twins in 1966 as a free agent. He got off to a slow start in rookie ball in 1966, but did better with Class A Orlando the next year, although he did not hit with any power. He did not have a strong season for AA Charlotte in 1968, but hit .300 for AAA Denver in 1969 and got a September call-up that year. His numbers went back down in 1970, when the Twins moved their AAA team from Denver to Evansville, but he was brought up to the Twins for three weeks in mid-summer and received another September call-up. Hill was primarily used as a defensive replacement and pinch-runner both years in the majors, playing in 43 games but getting only 24 at-bats. He had only two hits, for a batting average of .083, but he scored 12 runs. In October of 1970, the Twins traded Hill, along with Charlie Wissler, to St. Louis for Sal Campisi and Jim Kennedy. Sadly, Herman Hill never got to play for the Cardinals. His career and life were cut short when he drowned in the Caribbean, near Valencia, Venezuela (where he was playing winter ball) on December 14, 1970. An excellent swimmer, it is believed that his drowning was caused from suffering a stroke while in the water.

Right-hander James Martin Lewis appeared in six games for the Twins in 1983. He was born in Miami and went to Carol City High School, which appears to be the same high school attended by Randy Bush. He also attended the University of South Carolina. He was signed by the Mariners as a free agent in 1977. A starter in his early minor league career, he earned a September call-up in 1979 by winning 13 games with an ERA of 3.69 at AAA Spokane. He was hit hard in both major league appearances that year. In the off-season, Lewis went to the Yankees in a multi-player deal involving Ruppert Jones and Juan Beniquez. He was in AAA Columbus for three seasons, pitching pretty well for the most part, although 1981 was a down year for him. He made one major league appearance for the Yankees, in June 1982. Lewis was chosen by the Twins in the minor league draft in December of 1982. He did not pitch particularly well in AAA Toledo, but he did have 11 wins, and this was the early '80s Twins, so they called him to the majors for a couple of weeks in June of 1983, using him in six games. The Twins released Lewis after the season, and he signed with Seattle. He won 22 games in two years for the Mariners' PCL team, but his ERA was over five. He appeared in two more major league games for the Mariners in 1985, but his career was over after the season. As a Twin, he had no record in 18 innings with a 6.50 ERA. It appears that this is the Jim Lewis who is now working for a company called MetalTech Systems, Inc., a manufacturing company based in South Carolina, although this could not be confirmed.

Palmballing right-hander Anthony James Fiore pitched for the Twins from 2001-2003. He was born in Oak Park Illinois, went to high school in River Grove, Illinois, attended Triton Junior College (also attended by Kirby Puckett and Jarvis Brown), and was drafted by the Phillies in the 28th round in 1992. His numbers in the low minors were not eye-popping, but were still decent. Despite that, he spent nearly five years in rookie and Class A ball before getting promoted to AA for five games in 1996. He moved to AAA for nine games in 1997, staying there for a full season in 1998. Again, his numbers were neither great nor awful. He got off to a poor start in 1999, however, and was released in May. The Twins signed him and sent him to AAA Salt Lake, where he did okay, but the Twins weren't impressed and released him. Fiore moved on to Tampa Bay, pitched well in AAA Durham, and finally made his major league debut with the Devil Rays in August of 2000. He pitched in 11 games without much success, and was back in Durham at the start of 2001. He pitched well there again, however, and was back in Tampa Bay by May. Fiore was released after only three games, and the Twins signed him again. He again pitched well in AAA, and was with the Twins in September. He stayed with them for 2002, his only full year in the big leagues, and had a pretty good year: 10-3, 3.16 ERA, 1.29 WHIP. In 2003, however, things were different, and by mid-June, Fiore was back in the minors, never to return to the big leagues. The Twins released him after the 2003 season, and he pitched for the AAA teams of Houston, Baltimore and Detroit through 2006. He also pitched for the independent Long Island Ducks in that time, as well as pitching for Italy in the World Baseball Classic. As a Twin, he appeared in 73 games, making 2 starts. He pitched 133.1 innings, going 11-5 with a 3.92 ERA, a 1.33 WHIP, and an ERA+ of 115. At last report, Tony Fiore was the senior sales manager for United Sales & Leasing of Tampa, Florida.

One thought on “Happy Birthday–October 12”

  1. It's also Dr. Chop's birthday. This is the second year in a row that I've been traveling over her birthday, and the fourth in 5 years that we've been apart on this date. I think I'll be staying around New Orleans next year for Dr. Chop's birthday.

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