Happy Birthday–August 2

Dummy Kihm (1873)
Pop Kelchner (1875)
War Sanders (1877)
Red Ames (1882)
John F. Kieran (1892)
Fuzzy Hufft (1901)
Tom Burgmeier (1943)
Bombo Rivera (1952)
Danny Sheaffer (1961)
Tim Wakefield (1966)
Matt Guerrier (1978)
Colby Lewis (1979)
Humberto Quintero (1979)
Grady Sizemore (1982)
Huston Street (1983)
Luke Hughes (1984)

A deaf mute, Dummy Kihm had 2,245 hits in seventeen minor league seasons.

Pop Kelchner was a scout for fifty years, most of them for the St. Louis Cardinals.

What was War good for?  Absolutely nothing.  In twelve games, War Sanders was 2-8, 5.64, 1.61 WHIP.  He also was 1-for-21 at the plate.

John F. Kieran was a long-time sportswriter in New York and was a panelist on the quiz show "Information, Please".

Fuzzy Hufft had 1,400 hits over seven seasons in the Pacific Coast League and served honorably in both World Wars.

We would also like to wish a happy birthday to UncleWalt’s youngest child.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–August 2

Bernardino Femminielli – My Baby Takes My Money

Huh, well, if no one will watch this train wreck of a video, then here's an even more train wreckier video!

28 small 2015

NSFW: Some scantily clad ladies dancing in the background. Perhaps lyrics too? No clue there.

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Tiny Tim & The Enchanted Forest – Earth Angel

AMR's fortnight was a nice change of pace (many thanks, sir). I'm going to focus on trying to dig up some more off the beaten path bands as well. Stuff you've never heard of before. Real indie stuff, you know?

11 Jan 1970

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Where They Stand: Through July 31

With just over a month left in the minor league season, I thought there might be some interest in seeing which Twins affiliates are involved in pennant races.

Rochester is 62-48, third in the International League North, six games behind Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.  The Red Wings are second in the wild card race, five games behind Lehigh Valley.

Chattanooga is 55-50 overall, but 19-16 in the second half, good for third place in the Southern League North, 1.5 games behind Montgomery.  The second place team, Jackson, is already qualified for the playoffs because they won the first half, so the race is actually between Montgomery and Chattanooga.

Fort Myers is 53-53 overall, but 19-18 in the second half, good for fourth place in the Florida State League South, two games behind St. Lucie and Jupiter.

Cedar Rapids is 58-47 overall, but 22-14 in the second half, good for second place in the Midwest League Western, three games behind Clinton.  The top two teams in each division qualify for the playoffs, so the Kernels right now are in position to make them.  They are two games ahead of Burlington and Quad Cities for that playoff spot.

Elizabethton is 18-19, third in the Appalachian League West, two games behind Johnson City.  The top two teams in each division go to the playoffs.  The Twins are 1.5 games behind second place Greeneville.

The GCL Twins are 16-16, third in the GCL South, two games behind the GCL Orioles.

The DSL Twins are 22-25, fifth in the DSL South, 9 games behind the DSL Mariners1.

So, not bad.  Only one team currently in a playoff position, but six of the seven still have a shot.  We'll try to update you on this every few days or so as the seasons wind down.

Happy Birthday–August 1

Frank Grant (1865)
Joe Shaute (1899)
George Sisler, Jr. (1917)
George Bamberger (1923)
Masaichi Kaneda (1933)
Pedro Cisneros (1939)
Tony Muser (1947)
Milt May (1950)
Pete Mackanin (1951)
Greg Gross (1952)
Dave Anderson (1960)
Gregg Jefferies (1967)
Shigetoshi Hasegawa (1968)
Brian Bohanon (1968)
Kevin Jarvis (1969)
Adam Jones (1985)
Madison Bumgarner (1989)
Kennys Vargas (1990)

Infielder Ulysses F. "Frank" Grant is considered one of the best African-American baseball players of the nineteenth century.

The son of the Hall of Famer, George Sisler, Jr. was a long-time minor league executive, winning the Minor League Executive of the Year award three times.  He served as International League president from 1965-1976 and is a member of the International League Hall of Fame.

Masaichi Kaneda won four hundred games over a twenty-year career in Japan.

Pedro Cisneros was commissioner of the Mexican League from 1982-99 and was the editor of the first Mexican League Encyclopedia.

We would also like to wish a very happy birthday to brianS' sister-in-law.

Infielder Pete Mackanin played for the Twins from 1980-1981.  Born and raised in Chicago, he was drafted by Washington in the fourth round in 1969.  He did not do much in the minors until 1973, when out of nowhere he hit .302 at AAA Spokane.  He spent two months with Texas that year, used mostly as a reserve shortstop behind Toby Harrah.  He showed that 1973 was no fluke by hitting .291 at Spokane in 1974, getting a September call-up.  The Rangers traded him to Montreal after the 1974 season.  That turned out to be a break for Mackanin, as he got a chance to play regularly for the Expos.  He was their starting second baseman for two seasons, but did not hit, batting in the .220s both years.  He lost his starting job in 1977 and spent most of 1978 in AAA before being chosen off waivers by Philadelphia in September.  He was apparently injured most of the 1979 campaign, as he played in only thirteen games in the majors and none in the minors.  After that season, Mackanin was traded to Minnesota for Paul Thormodsgaard.  In 1980 he shared second base with Rob Wilfong, although he also played a little shortstop.  He took more of a utility role in 1981.  As a Twin, he hit .252/.279/.346 in 544 at-bats.  He became a free agent after the 1981 season and signed with the White Sox, but was released in spring training of 1982.  He signed with Texas and spent the next three seasons in AAA, two of them in the Rangers' organization and one in the Cubs' chain.  He remained in baseball after his playing career ended.  He coached and managed in the minors for several years, then became the third base coach for Montreal from 1997-2001.  He was back in the minors for a couple of years, then became the bench coach for Pittsburgh.  He was their interim manager for about a month in 2005, then went back to the minors.  He became an advance scout for Cincinnati in 2007 and was their interim manager for half of that season.  He scouted for the Yankees in 2008, then became bench coach for Philadelphia in 2009.  He became the Phillies third base coach in 2014 and became their manager in 2015 when Ryne Sandberg resigned in late June.

Right-hander Kevin Jarvis appeared in six games for the Twins in 1997.  He was born in Lexington, Kentucky, went to high school in Tates Creek, Kentucky, and attended Wake Forest.  He was drafted by Cincinnati in the twenty-first round in 1991.  He did very well in the minors, going 10-2 with a 3.54 ERA in AAA Indianapolis in 1994.  He was on a shuttle between Indianapolis and Cincinnati that year, making four brief appearances with the big club.  Things went downhill from there, though.  He split 1995 between the majors and AAA, not pitching particularly well in either league.  He was in the Reds' rotation for much of 1996, but did not fare any better.  He began 1997 in the Cincinnati bullpen, was waived on May 2 and chosen by Detroit, was waived again on May 9 and selected by Minnesota.  He appeared in six games for the Twins, two of them starts.  In thirteen innings, he was 0-0, 12.46, 2.39 WHIP, allowing 18 runs on 23 hits and 8 walks.  The Twins waived him on June 17 and he was chosen by Detroit, where he finished the season.  He spent much of 1998 in Japan, but signed with Cincinnati for about two weeks in late August-early September.  He moved on to the Oakland organization in 1999 and to the Rockies' chain in 2000.  He pitched well at AAA in those years, but did nothing in the majors.  He signed with San Diego in 2001 and got his only full season in the majors, going 12-11, 4.79 and leading the league in home runs allowed.  He battled injuries in 2002-2003, but was in the Padres' rotation when healthy, with similar results.  He was traded to Seattle after the 2003 season.  The Mariners released him May 6, he signed with Colorado May 11, was released by the Rockies on July 6, and signed with Pittsburgh July 16, spending the rest of the season in AAA.  He signed with St. Louis for 2005, making four appearances for the Cardinals, moved on to Arizona for 2006 (appearing in five big league games), went to Boston at the end of August, appeared in four more, and then his career was over.  He had a career ERA of over six, yet appeared in parts of twelve major league seasons, made 118 starts and 69 relief appearances, and pitched 780.2 major league innings.  His lowest season ERA was 4.37, even including seasons where he pitched very few major league innings.  He holds the record with six seasons with an ERA above seven.  When you look at all the guys who pitch well in the minors year after year and can't get a shot, it's amazing that Kevin Jarvis got as many chances as he did.  At last report, he was a scout for the Los Angeles Angels.

First baseman Kennys Vargas has played for the Twins in 2014 and 2015.  Born and raised in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, he signed with the Twins as a free agent in 2009.  He hit well at every stop in the minors, but was promoted slowly.  He spent 2009-2011 in rookie ball, was in Class A in 2012-2013, reached AA in 2014, then was suddenly promoted to the majors on the first of August of that year.  He did pretty well, although he was much better in August than he was in September.  A first baseman, he was mostly used at DH because the Twins had some guy named Mauer at first base.  He started 2015 with the Twins, did not hit well in April, hit very well for the first half of May, was sent back to tear up the International League for three weeks, came back to Minnesota for a month, then was suddenly demoted all the way back to AA.  He hit well in AA and hit well when promoted to AAA.  He started 2016 in AAA, but came back to the Twins in early July and has hit well.  He has hit at every level, and there's no reason to think he won't hit in the majors.  In fact, so far his major league line is .266/.316/.435, and it's safe to say there are plenty of good players who did worse in their first 448 major league at-bats.  If the Twins just leave him in the lineup and let him play, there's no reason to think Kennys Vargas won't have a solid major league career.