Happy Birthday–May 16

Cy Rigler (1882)
Watty Clark (1902)
Earl Halstead (1912)
Stubby Overmire (1919)
Dave Philley (1920)
Rube Walker (1926)
Billy Martin (1928)
Rick Reuschel (1949)
Rick Rhoden (1953)
Jack Morris (1955)
Tack Wilson (1956)
Mark Funderburk (1957)
Bob Patterson (1959)
Mitch Webster (1959)
Doug Brocail (1967)
Jim Mecir (1970)

Cy Rigler was a National League umpire from 1906-1935.

Earl Halstead was a scout, a minor league general manager, and a minor league umpire.  He also invented the first pitching machine that could throw curve balls.

Dave Philley played five of his eighteen major league seasons in Philadelphia, three for the Athletics and two for the Phillies.

Second baseman Alfred Manuel “Billy” Martin played for the Twins for about four months in 1961 and later became a coach and manager for them.  He was born and raised in Berkeley, California and began playing professional baseball in 1946.  He played for unaffiliated teams for four years, the last two of them for Oakland in the Pacific Coast League.  The Oaks traded him to the Yankees after the 1949 season.  He opened 1950 with AAA Kansas City, but was in New York by season’s end.  Martin was a Yankee through June of 1957, although he missed nearly two years due to military service.  His batting record was decent but unspectacular, despite which he finished 25th in MVP voting in 1953 and made the all-star team in 1956.  He moved quite a bit after that, perhaps in foreshadowing of his managerial career.  Martin played for New York and Kansas City in 1957, for Detroit in 1958, for Cleveland in 1959, and for Cincinnati in 1960.  He was a regular through 1958, going to part-time status in 1959 and 1960.  He signed with the Milwaukee Braves for 1961, but was traded to Minnesota for Billy Consolo on June 1.  Martin was the Twins’ regular second baseman the rest of the season, hitting .246/.275/.361, numbers which are only slightly lower than his career numbers.  He became a scout for the Twins from 1962-1964, a coach from 1965-May of 1968, manager in Denver the rest of 1968, and the Twins manager in 1969.  His Twins won the division that year, but he did not get along with management and was fired after the season.  He managed in Detroit from 1971-1973, in Texas from 1973-1975, in New York from 1975-1978 and again in 1979, in Oakland from 1980-1982, and in New York in 1983, 1985, and 1988.  The teams he managed won six divisional titles, two league championships, and one World Series.  He won the Manager of the Year Award in 1981.  Billy Martin passed away as the result of an automobile accident on December 25, 1989 in Johnson City, New York.

Right-hander John Scott Morris pitched for the Twins in 1991.  Born and raised in St. Paul, he attended BYU and was drafted by Detroit in the fifth round in 1976.  His minor league statistics are not overly impressive, but Morris was rushed through the system, spending only one year at AA and less than a full year at AAA before making his major league debut in August of 1977.  He was with the Tigers all of 1978 but was seldom used, making only 28 appearances, seven of them starts.  He started 1979 in the Tigers’ rotation and stayed there for twelve seasons.  In those years, he might not have ever been the best pitcher in the league but he was usually among them, finishing in the top ten in Cy Young voting five times.  He logged over 190 innings in eleven of those twelve seasons and over 235 in nine of them.  He won twenty games twice, made the all-star team four times, and received MVP support three times.  He was a free agent after the 1990 season and signed with Minnesota in February of 1991.  He had a fine season for the Twins, going 18-12, 3.43.  He finished fourth in Cy Young voting and thirteenth in MVP balloting.  He also pitched a legendary ten-inning shutout in game seven of the World Series.  Morris became a free agent again after the season and signed with Toronto.  He again pitched very well, winning 21 games.  He finished fifth in Cy Young voting and again thirteenth in MVP balloting, and again played for a World Series champion.  The next year, however, he was injured, and was never the same pitcher again.  He struggled through a bad season in Toronto in 1993 and another bad season for Cleveland in 1994.  He signed with Cincinnati for 1995, but opted to retire instead.  He was one of the Twins’ radio broadcasters from 2006-2011, worked for MLB Network in 2012, was a broadcaster for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2013, and has been back with the Twins since 2014, working on Fox Sports North pre-game and post-game shows and sometimes filling in for Bert Blyleven as game analyst.

Outfielder Michael “Tack” Wilson appeared in five games for the Twins in 1983.  He was born in Shreveport and signed with the Dodgers as a free agent in 1975.  Throughout his minor-league career, he hit for a high average with a high number of walks and no power.  His best year was 1982, when he hit .378 in his third year at AAA Albuquerque.  In late March of 1983 the Dodgers traded him to Minnesota for Ivan Mesa.  He started the season with the Twins as a reserve outfielder but appeared in only five games, four of them as a pinch-runner, before being sent back to AAA Toledo.  He went 1-for-4, with his lone hit being a double.  He had another fine season at AAA, hitting .325, but fell to .287 in 1984.  He was allowed to become a free agent after that season, signing with San Francisco.  He was at AAA for the Giants for two years, again doing well in the first one and not as well in the second.  A free agent again after the 1986 season, he signed with California in March of 1987.  He hit .314 in AAA that year and got a September call-up.  He again was used primarily as a pinch-runner, going 1-for-2 with five runs scored.  Wilson moved to the Texas organization for 1988, split 1989 between the AAA teams of Texas and Milwaukee, and played in AAA for Oakland in 1990.  He does not show up in the playing records again until 1997, when he played in the independent Texas-Louisiana League.  He has been a minor-league coach in the organizations of Atlanta, the Cubs, Toronto, and the White Sox.  He has been with the Diamondbacks organization since 2015, and will be the batting coach for their Arizona Rookie League team in 2017.

Outfielder Mark Clifford Funderburk played for the Twins in parts of two season in the 1980s.  He was born in Charlotte, North Carolina and drafted by Minnesota in the sixteenth round in 1976.  He was a power hitter in the minors with generally low to middling averages, although he hit .310 with 31 homers in 1979 in Visalia.  In 1981, he hit .223 with 18 home runs with Toledo, which somehow earned him a September call-up.  He went 3-for-15 in eight games.  He dropped down to AA Orlando in 1982 and did better, but the Twins released Funderburk after the season.  Kansas City signed him, but he played in only 17 games in AAA Omaha before being released in late May of 1983.  Funderburk was out of baseball until November of 1984, when Minnesota gave him another chance.  He hit .283 with 34 homers in Orlando, earning another September call-up.  This time he was given some playing time, mostly at DH, and hit .314 with seven doubles and two homers in 70 at-bats.  He split 1986 between AA and AAA and was in AA all of 1987, playing well but not getting another shot at the big leagues.  His playing career ended after the 1987 season:  as a Twin, he hit .294/.337/.482 in 85 at-bats.  He hit 214 home runs in 11 seasons in the minors.  He was a coach for a while, coaching for the Twins’ AA team in Nashville in 1993-1994.  At last report, Mark Funderburk was working in the construction industry in his home town of Charlotte.

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