Happy Birthday–December 31

King Kelly (1857)
Tom Connolly (1870)
Bobby Byrne (1884)
Syl Johnson (1900)
Tommy Byrne (1919)
Guy LaValliere (1931)
Alfredo Meli (1944)
Joe Simpson (1951)
Jim Tracy (1955)
Rick Aguilera (1961)
Esteban Loaiza (1971)
Brian Moehler (1971)
Julio DePaula (1982)

Tom Connolly was a major league umpire for many years.  He umpired the first World Series game in 1903.  He once went ten years without ejecting a player.

It does not appear that Bobby Byrne and Tommy Byrne are related.

Minor league catcher Guy LaValliere is the father of major league catcher Mike LaValliere.

Alfredo Meli is a member of the Italian Baseball Hall of Fame.  He was the first man to win Italian championships as a player, a manager, and a general manager.  He also founded the Italian Baseball Federation for the Blind.

Nobody ever makes a fuss about the last baby of the old year.

Right-hander Richard Warren Aguilera was with the Twins for at least part of 11 seasons. He was born in San Gabriel, California and went to high school in West Covina, California. He then attended Brigham Young University and was drafted by the Mets in the third round in 1983. A starter in the minors, he pitched quite well for a little over two seasons, getting called up to the Mets in June of 1985. Placed in the starting rotation, he again did quite well, and did well again in 1986, his first full season in the majors. The Mets had a pretty strong rotation then; even though Aguilera was doing fine, he was always considered the fifth starter, and when he stumbled a little at the start of 1987 he was sent back to the minors for a couple of months. Aguilera was injured much of 1988. In 1989, he was shifted to the bullpen, where he was having a very good year when he was traded to Minnesota at the end of July along with Tim Drummond, Kevin Tapani, David West, and a player to be named later (Jack Savage) for Frank Viola. Aguilera was placed in the rotation for the rest of 1989 and, once again, pitched very well. In 1990, however, he became the Twins' closer, a job he held (with an interruption) through May of 1999. He took to the job immediately, making the all-star team three consecutive years (1991-1993) and receiving MVP consideration in 1991. In July of 1995, with the Twins out of playoff contention, Aguilera was traded to Boston for Frankie Rodriguez and a player to be named later (J. J. Johnson). He was a free agent after the season, and came back to Minnesota for 1996 with the promise that he would be allowed to start, something Aguilera had wanted to do again for some time. It did not go well--Aguilera was injured part of the season, did not pitch well when healthy, and his replacement as closer, Dave Stevens, was not up to the job. Aguilera went back to closing in 1997, and remained the Twins closer until May of 1999, when he was traded to the Cubs with Scott Downs for Kyle Lohse and Jason Ryan. He remained with the Cubs through 2000, then retired. As a Twin, Rick Aguilera was 40-47 with a 3.50 ERA and 254 saves.  He was the head baseball coach at Santa Fe Christian School in Solana Beach, California through 2008, when it appears he retired from that position.  He continued to live in Rancho Santa Fe, California at last report and is available for personal appearances and/or endorsements. Rick Aguilera was inducted into the Twins' Hall of Fame in 2008.

Right-hander Julio Cesar DePaula pitched in 16 games for Minnesota in 2007. Born in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, DePaula signed with the Twins as a free agent in 1999. He remained in the Dominican for a few years, not making his debut in the Gulf Coast League until 2002. He was converted to relief in 2003 and had a tremendous year for Elizabethton, when despite his experience he was still only twenty years old. He continued pitching well through the minors but was brought along slowly, not reaching AA until 2006 and not reaching AAA until 2007. He had a very good year for Rochester in 2007 and was with the Twins for about six weeks that season. In twenty innings, he was 0-1, 8.55. Those numbers look worse than they really were--they are skewed by three really bad outings in which he gave up 15 of his 19 earned runs. Back in Rochester in 2008, DePaula did not pitch well and was let go after the season. He signed with Tampa Bay for 2009 and spent the entire season at AAA Durham. He was a minor-league free agent at the end of the season and went to Korea for 2010, where he did not pitch all that well.  He played briefly for independent St. Paul in 2011.  In 2012 he pitched for independent Bridgeport and for two teams in the Mexican League.  He had a fine year pitching for York of the Atlantic League in 2013 and was doing well for them in 2014 when he was signed by Baltimore in late June.  Sent to AA, he did not pitch well there and became a free agent after the season.  He signed with Arizona for 2015 but pitched poorly in three AAA appearances and was released.  He finished the season pitching in Mexico, where he did fairly well.  He pitched in the Atlantic League and in Mexico in 2016 and did not do well.  He pitched in the Atlantic League again in 2017 and did okay, but nothing special  He turns thirty-five today.  He's pitching in Venezuela this winter, so he's apparently not ready to quit just yet.  He'll never be in the majors again, but if he can find someone who'll let him keep pitching in 2018, more power to him.