Happy Birthday–April 18

Frank Navin (1871)
Sam Crawford (1880)
Duffy Lewis (1888)
Jack Scott (1892)
Steve Blass (1942)
Mike Paul (1945)
Doug Flynn (1951)
Bobby Castillo (1955)
Rich Bordi (1959)
Jim Eisenreich (1959)
Dennis Rasmussen (1959)
Rico Brogna (1970)
Steve Dunn (1970)
Brian Buscher (1981)
Miguel Cabrera (1983)
Billy Butler (1986)

Frank Navin was the owner of the Detroit Tigers from 1908-1935.

Rich Bordi was drafted by Minnesota in the fifth round in 1977, but did not sign.

We would also like to wish a happy birthday to Mrs. CarterHayes.

Right-hander Robert Castillo was with the Twins from 1982-1984.  Born and raised in Los Angeles, Castillo was drafted by Kansas City in the sixth round in 1974.  He was drafted as an outfielder, spent one undistinguished season in rookie ball, and then converted to pitching, apparently while playing in the Mexican League.  He was sold to the Dodgers in June of 1977 and in September he was suddenly in the major leagues.  His minor league numbers in 1978 and 1979 are awful, but he got chances with the Dodgers anyway and pitched much better in Los Angeles than he had in Albuquerque.  He was used mostly as a reliever for the Dodgers.  His best year in Los Angeles was 1980, when he was 8-6, 2.75 with five saves and a WHIP of 1.17.  He made 61 appearances for the Dodgers that year, pitching 98.1 innings.  He had a bad year in 1981, however, and after the season was traded to Minnesota with Bobby Mitchell for Paul Voight and Scotti Madison.  The Twins converted Castillo to starting and he did pretty well in 1982, going 13-11, 3.66 with a WHIP of 1.28.  He could not repeat his success in 1983, missing part of the year and much of 1984 with injury.  A free agent after the 1984 season, he signed with the Dodgers but had a poor 1985 and was released at the end of spring training in 1986.  He signed with Oakland in June and finished the season in the Athletics organization.  He was in spring training with Seattle in 1987, but was released in late March and his playing career was over.  As a Twin, Bobby Castillo was 23-24, 3.98 in 402.1 innings.  He appeared in 77 games, 52 of them starts.  He is best remembered today as the man who taught Fernando Valenzuela to throw a screwball.  He founded Babo Baseball, which is designed to help inner city youth programs educate and develop young baseball players into solid all-around athletes.  Bobby Castillo passed away from cancer on June 30, 2014 at age fifty-nine.

Outfielder James Michael Eisenreich was with the Twins briefly for three seasons from 1982-1984.  He was born and raised in St. Cloud, Minnesota and attended St. Cloud State.  Minnesota drafted him in the 16th round in 1980.  He hit very well in two seasons in the minors.  In 1981, Eisenreich hit .311 with 23 home runs for Wisconsin Rapids, and at the start of 1982 he was jumped straight from Class A to the majors and named the Twins’ starting center fielder.  Unfortunately, he then began to show the effects of Tourette’s Syndrome, about which little was understood at the time.  It took a long time for him to be diagnosed properly, and another long time for proper medication to be prescribed.  Eisenreich was named the Twins’ starting center fielder every year from 1982-1984, but it never lasted long, and after the 1984 season he was out of baseball.  He was out until 1987, when the Royals gave him a chance for a comeback.  He hit .382 at AA and was back in the majors by late June.  He spent all but a month in the majors in 1988, and in 1989 he finally left the minors behind for good.  Eisenreich was a regular or semi-regular for the Royals for four seasons, playing corner outfield, and hit .286 in those years.  A free agent after the 1992 season, he signed with Philadelphia, for whom he played four more seasons.  He got about 300-350 at-bats per season and hit .300 or higher every year.  A free agent again after 1996, he signed with Florida.  He was a part-time player for the Marlins but had another good year, hitting .280 and helping the Marlins win their first world championship.  He stayed with Florida at the beginning of 1998, but was traded to the Dodgers in mid-June.  Used primarily as a reserve, he did not play well in Los Angeles and retired after the season at age 39.  As a Twin, he hit .283/.348/.384 in 138 at-bats.  After his retirement, he moved back to Kansas City, where he runs the Jim Eisenreich Foundation, which helps children with Tourette’s Syndrome achieve personal success.

First baseman Steven Robert Dunn played briefly for the Twins in 1994-1995.  He was born in Champaign, Illinois, but went to high school in Fairfax, Virginia.  Minnesota drafted him in the fourth round in 1988.  He took a long time to develop, but after hitting .305 with 26 home runs in Class A Visalia in 1992, Dunn was finally promoted to AA.  He hit .309 with 14 homers in AAA Salt Lake in 1994 and was promoted to the majors for about a month.  He had another good year in Salt Lake in 1995, this time getting a September call-up.  In his two brief appearances with the Twins, Dunn went 8-for-41, with five of his hits going for doubles.  The Twins released Dunn after the 1995 season and he signed with Cleveland.  He had a decent year for AAA Buffalo, hitting .290 with 12 home runs, but it was not enough to get him back to the majors, and his playing career came to an end after that season.  After that, he moved to Tennessee, and is a social studies teacher and baseball coach at Alcoa High School in eastern Tennessee.

Third baseman Brian Phillip Buscher played for the Twins for parts of three seasons toward the end of the decade of the 2000s.  Born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, Buscher attended the University of South Carolina and was drafted by San Francisco in the third round in 2003.  He spent four uneventful years in the Giants’ system, getting as high as AA.  He was never awful, but never particularly impressive, either.  Still, the Twins obviously thought they saw something in him, because they selected Buscher in the Rule 5 draft after the 2006 season.  Something was obviously worked out, because Buscher started 2007 in the minors.  He hit .308 in New Britain and .311 in Rochester and by late July found himself in the majors.  He started 2008 back in AAA, but after hitting .319 with 12 homers in 185 at-bats he was back in the big leagues.  He had his best season in the majors to date, hitting .294 as a part-time third baseman.  Buscher was with the Twins for all but a month in 2009.  After the season, however, the Twins let Buscher go.  As a Twin, Brian Buscher hit .266/.343/.356 in 436 at-bats.  He signed with Cleveland, playing in AAA Columbus in 2010 until late June, when he was released.  That brought his playing career to an end.  He returned to the University of South Carolina to get a degree in psychology while also serving as an assistant baseball coach.  He was the head baseball coach of Heathwood Hall Episcopal School in South Carolina, managed the Columbia Blowfish in the of the Coastal Plains League, then returned to the University of South Carolina as an assistant coach in 2013.  He left the program less than a month ago for reasons that were not specified.  No information about what, if anything, Brian Buscher is currently doing was readily available.

Leave a Reply