Happy Birthday–July 27

Davy Force (1846)
Joe Tinker (1880)
Rube Walberg (1896)
Biz Mackey (1897)
Benny Bengough (1898)
Zack Taylor (1898)
Leo Durocher (1905)
Kazuto Tsuruoka (1916)
Ray Boone (1923)
Harry Wendelstedt (1938)
Larry Biittner (1945)
Bump Wills (1952)
Rich Dauer (1952)
Brian Kingman (1954)
Shane Rawley (1955)
Len Barker (1955)
Dave Dombrowski (1956)
Tom Goodwin (1968)
Shane Bowers (1971)
Enrique Wilson (1973)
Alex Rodriguez (1975)
Tsuyoshi Nishioka (1984)

Biz Mackey was a star in the Negro Leagues from 1923-1945.

Kazuto Tsuruoka was a star in Japan from 1939-1952 and was a very successful manager from 1953-1966.

Harry Wendelstedt was a National League umpire from 1966-1998.

Dave Dombrowski has been the general manager of the Montreal Expos, the Florida Marlins, and the Detroit Tigers.

We would also like to wish a very happy anniversary to Mr. and Mrs. Rowsdower.

Left-hander Shane William Rawley pitched for the Twins in his last season, 1989.  Born and raised in Racine, Wisconsin and drafted by Montreal in the second round in the 1974 June Secondary draft.  He had some pretty good years in the Expos’ organization; the best was 1976, when he went 11-6, 2.69 for AA Quebec.  He would not reach the majors for them, though, because in late May of 1977 he was traded to Cincinnati, and after the 1977 campaign he was traded again, this time to Seattle.  He started 1978 in the Mariners’ bullpen, where he stayed for four years.  He was never spectacular, but he did a decent job four them, generally posting ERAs around four.  Shortly before the 1982 season, the Mariners traded him to the Yankees in a multi-player deal.  He started 1982 as a reliever, but was converted to starting (which he had done in the minors) in early July.  He was a solid starter for them through 1983, but got off to a terrible start in 1984 and was traded to Philadelphia.  It was a good trade for the Phillies, as Rawley had some fine years for them, making the all-star team in 1986 and winning seventeen games in 1987.  His ERA was up in the latter year, however, and when he did not improve in 1988 he was traded with cash to Minnesota for Eric Bullock, Tom Herr, and Tom Nieto.  Rawley did not have a very good year for the Twins in 1989, going 5-12, 5.21, 1.57 WHIP.  He became a free agent after the season, but no one signed him and he retired.  He was never a big star, but Shane Rawley was a solid big leaguer for more than a decade, and there are not a lot of people who can say that.  After his playing career ended, he founded Fielders’ Choice Sports Complex in Racine, Wisconsin.  He currently owns and operates Shaners Sports Bar and Pizzeria in Sarasota, Florida.

Two of the three Twins named "Shane" were born on this day.  Right-hander Shane Patrick Bowers made five starts for the Twins in 1997.  He was born in Glendora, California, attended Loyola Marymount, and was drafted by Minnesota in the twenty-first round in 1993.  He pitched well in the low minors, attracting attention by going 13-5, 2.16 at Class A Ft. Myers.  He did fairly well in AA in 1996 and 1997, and given the state of Twins pitching at that time, that was good enough to get him a shot at the big leagues.  He came up in late July and made five starts, pitching fairly well in the first one but poorly after that.  He went 0-3, 8.05, 1.84 WHIP in 19 innings.  He finished 1997 in AAA Salt Lake and stayed there through 1999.  He had good won-lost records, but high ERAs and high WHIPs.  He became a free agent after the 1999 season and signed with Philadelphia.  He was in AAA for them in 2000 and did somewhat better, but not enough.  Bowers went to Japan for two seasons, playing for the Yokohama Bay Stars in 2001-2002.  He was out of baseball in 2003, then tried to make a comeback with the Phillies in 2004.  He again pitched well in AA but could do nothing in AAA, and his playing career came to an end.  At last report, Shane Bowers was scouting in southern and central California for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Infielder Enrique (Martes) Wilson was in the Twins’ organization for his first two professional seasons.  Born and raised in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, he was signed by the Twins as a free agent in 1992.  He did pretty well in their low minors, hitting .341 in 44 at-bats in the GCL in 1992 and batting .289 with 13 homers in Elizabethton in 1993.  The Twins apparently did not think that much of him, however, sending him to Cleveland in March of 1994 as the player to be named later in a trade that brought Shawn Bryant to the Twins’ organization.  Wilson did not develop power, but he hit .304 at AA in 1996 and .306 in AAA in 1997, earning a September call-up.  He was in Cleveland for three games at the start of 1998, then spent a few months in AAA before being recalled for good in early August.  He started nearly half of the Indians’ games in 1999, but did not have a regular position, playing short, third, and second.  He was playing well as a reserve infielder for Cleveland in 2000, but was traded to Pittsburgh in late July.  He was off to a slow start in 2001 when the Pirates traded him to the Yankees in mid-June.  He stuck with the Yankees through 2004 despite the fact that he did very little offensively for them.  He became a free agent after the 2004 season, and that was the beginning of the end for him.  Wilson signed with Baltimore, was released in mid-May, went to the Cubs, and was released in late July.  When he did play in 2005, it was mostly in the minors, as he got only 22 major league at-bats that season, all with the Cubs.  They were the last big league at-bats he wold get.  Wilson signed with the Red Sox, went to AAA, and was released at the end of July, ending his playing career in the United States.  He returned to the Domincan Republic, however, and continued to play baseball.  Wilson played for the Dominican Republic team in the 2007 Pan-American Games and also played in the Dominican Winter League, playing for Toros Del Este through 2010.  No information about what Enrique Wilson has done since then was readily available.

Infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka was with the Twins from 2011-2012 and remains in their organization.  Born and raised in Osaka, Japan, he began playing for Chiba Lotte in the Japanese Pacific League in 2003 at the age of eighteen.  He was a part-time player his first couple of seasons, becoming a regular in 2005.  He played both second base and shortstop in Japan early in his career, but became a full-time shortstop in 2006.  He hit for high averages in Japan and showed decent power, although it is difficult to say how Japanese numbers translate.  He was highly regarded in Japan, however.  After the 2010 season, Chiba Lotte put him up for bids from American teams, and the Twins won the right to sign him, which they did.  He was installed as the Twins’ second baseman at the start of the 2011 season, but was had his leg broken on a slide into second base in the year’s sixth game.  When he came back, he was the team’s shortstop, but he didn’t hit, nor did he field the position as well as expected.  He was with Rochester in 2012, appearing in only three major league games in August.  He hit better in Rochester, but not particularly well.  He was released after the 2012 season and returned to Japan, where he is doing better but has not returned to his pre-Twin levels of production.  As a Twin, he hit .215/.267/.236 in 233 at-bats.  He turns 31 today.  It was nice to see the Twins try to make a strong move, but it clearly didn't work out very well.  We wish Tsuyoshi Nishioka the best of luck with the rest of his career in Japan.

9 thoughts on “Happy Birthday–July 27”

  1. Even when it happened, I was excited to see them go after him, but disgusted by how quickly they moved to free up the SS position. Trading Hardy rather than forcing Nishi (or Lexi) to earn that job is probably my least favorite memory of the Bill Smith Debacle.

    1. -2.4 rWAR in just 256 plate appearances. Hardy has 15.6 WAR since the trade for Jim Hoey (-0.6 rWAR)

          1. That assumes the Twins extended him. Looks like he would have been a free agent after the 2013 season so it's just 13.6 rWAR.

            1. Stop it ...yer killing me ...

              No. Seriously. Stop it.

              [edit] how anyone can turn Johan Santana into Jim F^(k!n& Hoey boggles the mind.

              1. Well, he turned Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett into Delmon F^(k!n& Young, so let's just say he had a gift.

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