Happy Birthday–October 8

Doc Crandall (1887)
Donie Bush (1887)
Ping Bodie (1887)
Wally Moses (1910)
Danny Murtaugh (1917)
Catfish Metkovich (1920)
Ed Kirkpatrick (1924)
Don Pepper (1943)
Paul Splittorff (1946)
Rick Stelmaszek (1948)
Enos Cabell (1949)
Jerry Reed (1955)
Mike Morgan (1959)
J. T. Bruett (1967)
Olmedo Saenz (1970)
Antoan Richardson (1983)
Cody Eppley (1985)

Right-hander Jerry Reed was drafted by the Twins in the eleventh round in 1973, but did not sign.

We would also like to wish E-6 a very happy birthday, and a very happy anniversary to Rhu_Ru's parents.

Catcher Richard Francis Stelmaszek did not play for the Twins, but was a coach for them for many years. Born and raised in Chicago, he was drafted by Washington in the eleventh round in 1967. He was in the Senators’ minor-league system for four seasons, with his best year coming in 1969 when he hit .288 for Class A Shelby. He reached AAA in 1971 and made his major league debut that season, going 0-for-9 as a reserve catcher for Washington. He was still a member of the Washington/Texas franchise in 1972, but was loaned to the Cincinnati and San Diego organizations at various times. He began 1973 with Texas, again as a reserve, but after going 1-for-9 was traded to California. He spent most of the year in AAA, getting 26 at-bats with the Angels. He was again in AAA at the start of 1974 when he was traded to the Cubs in late July. The Cubs were apparently without a backup catcher option that year, because Stelmaszek stayed with them the rest of the season, hitting .227 in 44 at-bats. That would be his major league swan song. He was in AAA for the Cubs in 1975, was traded to the Yankees’ AAA team in 1976, and went back to the Rangers’ organization in 1977. After that, the Twins hired him, and he managed their Class A franchise in Wisconsin Rapids from 1978-1980 (he also caught 23 games in 1978). He joined the major league coaching staff in 1981 and remained with the Twins through 2012. His tenure as a Twins’ coach was the third longest in major league history, behind Manny Mota (thirty-four years and counting with the Dodgers) and record-holder Nick Altrock, who was a coach for Washington for forty-two years.  It is unclear what Rick Stelmaszek is doing now, but it appears that he would come back to baseball if he was given the chance.

Well-traveled right-hander Michael Thomas Morgan played for the Twins for most of 1998. He was born in Tulare, California and went to high school in Las Vegas. Drafted by the Oakland Athletics with the fourth pick in the 1978 draft, Morgan was immediately placed in the big-league starting rotation at age 18. The experiment did not work, and after three starts, all losses, he was sent to AAA Vancouver for the rest of the season. He was really not yet ready for Vancouver, either, but on his second try at AAA, in 1979, he had a pretty good season. He was again promoted to the majors that year, but still was not ready. He spent all of 1980 in AAA, and then was traded to the Yankees. The Yankees sent him to AA for 1981, where he was still somewhat young for the league at 21. 1982 was Morgan’s first full season in the big leagues, and it was his best to date, but still, he was only 7-11 with a 4.37 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP. In the off-season, Morgan was traded to Toronto. He was with the Blue Jays for most of the 1983 season, pitching mostly in relief, but spent 1984 in AAA Syracuse. That off-season, the Mariners selected him in the rule 5 draft. Morgan was injured for much of the 1985 season, but when he came back in 1986, he was finally ready for the big leagues. He still wasn’t great, but he was good enough to stay in the Mariners’ rotation for the next two seasons. After that, he was traded to the Orioles, but was with them for only the 1988 season before being sent to the Dodgers. In 1989, eleven years after making his major league debut, Morgan finally had a good season, posting a 2.53 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP. He was with the Dodgers for three years, making the all-star team in 1991. Morgan then became a free agent and moved on to the Cubs, where he was very good in 1992, decent in 1993, and pretty bad in 1994. He moved to the Cardinals in June of 1995, to the Reds in September of 1996, and signed with the Twins on December 16, 1997. Now 38 years old, Morgan did a decent job for the Twins, going 4-2 in seventeen starts with a 3.49 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP. This was the late ’90s Twins, however; by August they were about 95 games out of first place, so they traded Morgan to the Cubs for Scott Downs. The Cubs hoped Morgan would help them in their playoff push, but he pitched poorly for them and became a free agent after the season. He moved on to Texas for 1999, and then to the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he pitched in relief for three years, finally retiring after the 2002 season at age 42. He was never a star, but he was in the majors for at least part of twenty-two seasons. At last report, Mike Morgan was living in Ogden, Utah, where he owns World Championship Outfitters, which takes people on private hunts with Morgan as a guide.  He also is a youth baseball instructor with Ultimate Sports.  In addition, he created the Robinson’s Transport Wounded Warrior Hunt, a hunt for members of the military who have received the Purple Heart.

Outfielder Joseph Timothy Bruett played for the Twins from 1992-1993. He was born in Milwaukee. He attended the University of Minnesota (where he is still second on the career stolen bases list) and was drafted by the Twins in the 11th round in 1988. He was in Class A for three years, hitting for a decent average, but showing no power whatsoever. After hitting .307 in Visalia in 1990, Bruett was jumped to AAA, and made his major-league debut in 1992 as a defensive replacement and pinch-runner. He began 1993 with the Twins in the same role. Returned to Portland in early May, he hit .322 with an OBP of .421. It did him no good, however; not only did Bruett not get a September call-up, when he could not repeat his success in 1994 he was sent to Cleveland. He never played for the Indians, going instead to AAA Charlotte. He moved on to Omaha in the Royals’ organization in 1995, played independent ball in 1996 with the St. Paul Saints, and then was finished. J. T. Bruett’s entire big league career was with the Twins. He appeared in 73 games, but got only 96 at-bats. He hit .250/.314/.313 with no homers and 3 RBIs. Bruett was an assistant baseball coach at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and is currently Director of Athletic Compliance at the University of Minnesota.

Outfielder Antoan Edward Richardson has not played for the Twins yet, but was in their farm system in 2013.  He was born in Nassau, Bahamas, went to high school in Delray Beach, Florida and Plantation, Florida, attended Palm Beach Community College and Vanderbilt, and was drafted by San Francisco in the thirty-fifth round in 2005.  He spent over four years in the Giants organization, playing well in Rookie and Class A ball but not doing much above that.  He was released in June of 2009 and was with independent Schaumberg in the Northern League the rest of the season.  He signed with Atlanta for 2010 but was released early in the season and went back to Schaumberg.  The Braves signed him again in late May and he was in AA most of the rest of the year.  He was in AA most of the 2011 season, too, and after a fairly good year he got a September call-up.  He appeared in nine games for the Braves, five as a pinch-runner and four as a pinch-hitter, going 2-for-4 with a stolen base.  A free agent after the season, he signed with Baltimore for 2012 and again was in AA, again having a fairly good year.  Once again a free agent, he signed with Minnesota for 2013.  He again started in AA, but after hitting .336 in 119 at-bats he was promoted to Rochester.  He was okay there, hitting .265/.381/.358.  Those numbers reveal what Richardson is:  a singles hitter who draws a lot of walks.  He also can steal bases, with 319 of them in nine minor league seasons.  He plays centerfield, and if he didn't get a chance to play center in the majors with the Twins this year it's doubtful, at age thirty, that he's ever going to.  When teams had fewer pitchers and deeper benches, he might have been a guy who'd have been a fifth outfielder/pinch-runner/defensive replacement.  He still may get a chance somewhere, but it seems more likely that the 2-for-4 he got with Atlanta in 2011 will be as much of a big league career as Antoan Richardson will ever get.

Right-hander Cody Allen Eppley did not play for the Twins, but was in their minor league system for part of 2013.  Born and raised in Dillsburg, Pennsyvania, he attended Virginia Commonwealth and was drafted by Texas in the forty-third round in 2008.  A relief pitcher his entire career, he did very well through AA but then struggled upon reaching AAA in 2010.  He apparently got off to a good start in 2011, because he was promoted to the Rangers and was with them for about a month.  He actually did fairly well in limited action, with his numbers skewed by one horrible outing where he gave up six runs in a third of an inning.  He wasn't all that good in AAA, though, and was placed on waivers at the start of the 2012 season.  The Yankees claimed him and he was in the majors most of the season.  He appears to have been something of a ROOGY, as he appeared in 59 games but pitched only 46 innings.  He did okay in that role, going 1-2, 3.33, 1.37 WHIP.  He began 2013 in New York, but was sent to AAA after only two appearances and was released in early June.  The Twins signed him about a week later and sent him to Rochester.  He made 22 appearances for Rochester, pitching 24 innings and going 2-0, 4.88, 1.50 WHIP.  The Twins released him in late August and he finished out the year with Lancaster in the Atlantic League.  His career major league numbers are 2-3, 4.61, 1.47 WHIP in 71 games (56.2 innings).  That's probably what they will stay, but you never know.  He's only 28, teams are always looking for pitching, and he did have one decent year with the Yankees.  It's always possible someone else will give him a shot.

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