Happy Birthday–August 10

Jim Clinton (1850)
Odell Hale (1908)
Willie Wells (1908)
Taffy Wright (1911)
Buddy Lewis (1916)
Bob Porterfield (1923)
Rocky Colavito (1933)
Tom Brookens (1953)
Tim Brookens (1953)
Jerald Clark (1963)
Andy Stankiewicz (1964)
Gerald Williams (1966)
Sal Fasano (1971)
Brandon Lyon (1979)
Dan Johnson (1979)
Wilson Ramos (1987)

Willie Wells is considered, along with Pop Lloyd, one of the two greatest shortstops in the history of the Negro Leagues.

Tim Brookens is the twin brother of Tom Brookens and played four years in the minors, reaching AA.

We would also like to wish a happy birthday to freealonzo's son.

Outfielder Jerald Dwayne Clark played for the Twins in 1995.  He was born in Crockett, Texas, attended Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, and was drafted by San Diego in the 12th round in 1985.  He hit over .300 every season in the minors, the last three of them in AAA.  His best season was 1989, when he hit .313 with 22 homers and an OPS of .926 for AAA Las Vegas. Clark made brief appearances with the Padres in 1988-90 before sticking with the club in 1991. He spent two full years in San Diego, playing fairly regularly in left field, but did not hit very well.  He was left unprotected and was taken by Colorado in the expansion draft. He was a mostly-regular for the Rockies in 1993 and had his best major league season, batting .283 with 13 homers.  It was not enough for the Rockies, however, and Clark opted to go to Japan in 1994.  The Twins signed him as a free agent, and he spent 1995 with Minnesota, appearing in 36 games. He had a good year as a reserve outfielder, batting .339/.354/.550 in 109 at-bats. The Twins apparently attributed it to small sample size, however, as he was let go after the season. He played for Calgary in the Pittsburgh organization in 1996, but did not make it back to the big leagues, and called it a career after playing nine games for Duluth-Superior in the Northern League in 1997. After his baseball career ended, Jerald Clark got a bachelor’s degree in computer science and is now selling real estate in San Diego. His brother, Phil Clark, played in the majors from 1992-96.

Catcher Wilson Abraham (Campos) Ramos played in seven games for the Twins in 2010.  He was born in Valencia, Venezuela, and signed with Minnesota as a free agent in 2004.  He hit well every year in the minors other than 2010, hitting .317 at AA New Britain in 2009.  After a good year of winter ball, he got off to a horrible start at AAA Rochester.  Still, due to an injury to Joe Mauer, he was brought up to the Twins for a little over a week in May of 2010.  He came in with a bang, getting seven hits in his first nine at-bats before going 1-for-18 in his other five games.  As a Twin, Wilson Ramos hit .296/.321/.407 in 27 at-bats.  Sent back to Rochester, he struggled for a while, but got things going in July, raising his average to .241.  On July 29, 2010, he was traded to Washington with Joe Testa for Matt Capps.  He was sent to AAA Syracuse, hit well, and got a September call-up.  He was the mostly-regular catcher for the Nationals in 2011 and had a fine year, finishing fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting.  Things then went pretty badly for him for a while, although it really wasn’t his fault.  He was kidnapped in Venezuela after the 2011 season, and fortunately he was released unharmed.  He played in only 25 games in 2012 before tearing his ACL, an injury which ended his season.  He missed a couple more months in 2013 and has missed about that same amount of time in 2014.  He played a full season in 2015, but had by far the worst season of his career.  A year ago, we wrote "all the injuries of the past may be taking their toll...It's hard to know where his career is going at this point."  Where his career was going was to the all-star game, as in 2016 he is had by far the best season of his career.  He batted .307 at this writing with an OPS of .850.  A free agent after the season, he signed with Tampa Bay for 2017.  Unfortunately he was injured again and missed the first half of the season with, again, a torn ACL.  He came back in late June and has played regularly but hasn't accomplished much.  Adding to his problems, he was hit in the head by a broken bat in late July and needed six stitches.  He turns thirty today.  It could be that the ACL is still bothering him and that he'll come back when healthy.  Or it could be that all the injuries have taken their toll and that he'll never be the player he might have been.  As it always does, time will tell.

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