Happy Birthday–January 31

Bob "Death to Flying Things" Ferguson (1845)
Zane Grey (1872)
George Burns (1893)
Pinky Hargrave (1896)
Pedro Cepeda (1906)
Don Hutson (1913)
Jackie Robinson (1919)
Ernie Banks (1931)
Hank Aguirre (1931)
Nolan Ryan (1947)
Fred Kendall (1949)
Ted Power (1955)
Ed Wade (1956)
Francisco Oliveras (1963)
Yuniesky Betancourt (1982)
Caleb Thielbar (1987)

Better known as an author of western novels, Zane Grey played outfield for two years in the low minors, batting .323 in 86 games.  He also wrote several books about baseball.

Pedro Cepeda is the father of Orlando Cepeda and is considered by some to have been a better player; he was known as the Babe Ruth of Puerto Rico.

Don Hutson, a charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, played in the low minors from 1936-1937, hitting .301 in 194 games.

Ed Wade was the general manager of the Philadelphia Phillies from 1998-2005 and the Houston Astros from 2007-2011.

Right-hander Francisco Javier (Noa) Oliveras made his major league debut with the Twins, pitching for them in 1989.  He was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico and signed with Baltimore as a free agent in 1980.  He played his first full season at AA in 1982 at age 19 and did quite well, posting a 3.55 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP.  He struggled after that, however, not posting another ERA below four until 1987, when he again spent most of the season at AA.  He became a minor league free agent after the 1987 season and signed with Minnesota.  Most of his time in the Twins' organization was spent in AAA, but he was in the majors for the months of May and June of 1989.  He pitched about like you'd expect someone with his track record to pitch:  in 12 games, eight of them starts, he went 3-4, 4.53 with a WHIP of 1.42 and an ERA+ of 92.  Oliveras began 1990 with AAA Portland, but was traded to San Francisco at the end of May for a player to be named later, who turned out to be Ed Gustafson.  He played for the Giants most of the rest of 1990, nearly all of 1991, and most of 1992, working primarily as a reliever.  He did a good job for them, posting an ERA in the mid-threes and WHIPs around 1.2.  He became a free agent after the 1992 season and signed with Texas.  Things did not go well for him there:  he failed to make the team, had a poor year in AAA, and was released after the season.  He showed up in 1998, playing for Nashua in the independent Atlantic League, but other than that he was done as an active player.  No information about Francisco Oliveras since then was readily available.

Left-handed reliever Caleb John Thielbar pitched for the Twins in 2013.  He was born in Northfield, Minnesota, when to high school in Randolph, MInnesota, attended South Dakota State, and was drafted by Milwaukee in the eighteenth round in 2009.  He pitched very well in rookie ball, but struggled when promoted to Class A in 2010 and was released after the season.  He spent most of 2011 with St. Paul in the American Association, but signed with Minnesota in mid-August and made three good appearances with Fort Myers before the season ended.  He started 2012 in Fort Myers but got all the way to Rochester before the season ended.  He began 2013 in Rochester, was promoted to Minnesota in May, and stayed there the rest of the season.  He was not charged with a run in his first seventeen appearances (19.2 innings) and his ERA was less than one through thirty-six appearances (31.2 innings).  For the season, he was 3-2, 1.76, 0.83 WHIP in 49 appearances (46 innings).  He was often used as a LOOGY, as he faced one batter in six of his appearances and two in five others.  However, he was also effective in getting right-handed batters out in 2013 when given the chance.  Caleb Thielbar will presumably be an important part of the Twins' bullpen in 2014.

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