Happy Birthday–February 5

Bill Rariden (1888)
Max Flack (1890)
Roger Peckinpaugh (1891)
Joan Payson (1903)
Jack Murphy (1923)
Don Hoak (1928)
Al Worthington (1929)
Hank Aaron (1934)
Norm Miller (1946)
Mike Heath (1955)
Roberto Alomar (1968)
Eric O'Flaherty (1985)
Mark Hamburger (1987)

Joan Payson was the original owner of the New York Mets.

Jack Murphy was a longtime sportswriter in San Diego who helped bring the Padres to the city.  The baseball stadium was named in his honor for many years until the naming rights were sold.

Right-handed reliever Allan Fulton “Red” Worthington was in the Minnesota bullpen from 1964-1969, serving as their closer for all but the last of those seasons.  He was born in Birmingham, Alabama, attended high school in Phillips, Alabama, and then attended the University of Alabama.  Worthington signed with the Cubs as a free agent in 1951.  He was only in the Cubs' system one year before being sent to the Giants in what is described as an "unknown transaction."   Worthington was a starter in the minors and had a decent minor league career, but nothing out of the ordinary.  Three of those minor league years, 1953-1955, were spent in Minneapolis with the Millers.  He made some appearances with the Giants in 1953-1954, pitching in a total of 30 games, 18 of them starts, and having fair-to-middling success.  He came up to the Giants for good in 1956.  He was mostly a starter that year, but after again posting mediocre numbers he was shifted primarily to the bullpen in 1957.  He did a little better there, but was still nothing special, and so he was traded to Boston in March of 1960.  Worthington started the 1960 season in Boston, but didn't stay long--after six appearances he was sent back to the minors, not returning until September, by which time he had been traded to the White Sox.  He was in the minors for all of 1961 and 1962, mostly starting and pitching quite well, but not getting another shot in the majors.  After the 1962 season, Cincinnati selected Worthington in the Rule 5 draft, and he was in the Reds bullpen for all of 1963.  He did very well, posting a 2.99 ERA in 50 appearances and getting ten saves.  He got off to a poor start in 1964, however, was sent to the minors, and then was sold to Minnesota in late June.  It was as a Twin that Worthington finally blossomed.  He posted a 1.37 ERA over the rest of 1964, pitching in 41 games (72.1 innings) and getting 14 saves, good for seventh in the league.  He was in the top six in the league in saves every year through 1968, leading the league in 1968 with 18, and posted an ERA well below three every year.  He was thirty-nine years old after that season and was going to retire, but the Twins convinced him to comeback in June.  Ron Perranoski was now the closer, but Worthington was a valuable man in the bullpen for the Twins' division winning team.  He retired again after the 1969 season, this time for good.  After his retirement, Worthington was an insurance salesman for a few years before returning to the Twins as pitching coach in 1972 and 1973.  After that, Worthington, a born-again Christian, became the baseball coach at Liberty Baptist College for 13 years.  After that, he became the school's athletic director and pitching coach until his retirement.  He wrote an autobiography in 2005, "I Played and I Won".  The baseball facility at Liberty has been named in his honor.  At last report, Al Worthington was retired and living in Sterrett, Alabama, where he was a deacon in the Baptist Church.

Right-handed reliever Mark John Hamburger did not play for the Twins, but was in their farm system for most of two seasons.  He was born in St. Paul, went to high school in Arden Hills, Minnesota, attended Mesabi Range Community College (the only big leaguer that school has produced) and was signed as a free agent by Minnesota in 2007.  In almost two seasons in the low minors for the Twins, he struck out 52 batters in 51.2 innings.  He posted a 4.17 ERA in 36.1 innings at Elizabethton in 2008, however, and was traded to Texas in late August for Eddie Guardado.  Unfortunately, Everyday Eddie, while still a fan favorite, could do no more for Minnesota.  Hamburger, meanwhile, overcame a bad 2009 to pitch very well in 2010 and 2011.  He reached AAA early in 2011 and made the majors at the end of August that year.  He made five relief appearances for the Rangers, going 1-0, 4.50, 1.00 WHIP with six strikeouts in eight innings.  His future looked bright, but 2012 was a major step backward for him.  He started at AAA Round Rock, was terrible in twenty-one appearances, and was waived in late June.  San Diego claimed him, but he was no better in AAA there and was waived again a month later.  This time Houston claimed him, and in 17 AAA appearances he was better, but still not very good.  He was released in February and spent 2013 pitching for St. Paul in the American Association.  He was a starting pitcher there and did okay, but nothing special.  Still, the Twins re-signed him in September.  He had to serve a fifty-game suspension he received shortly after being released by the Astros due to a failed drug test.  He made eight appearances for New Britain and fourteen for Rochester and while he didn't blow people away he did all right.  He was again in Rochester in 2015 with a similar result.  He became a free agent and played for St. Paul in the American Association in 2016, having a fine year as a starter.  He pitched in Australia that winter and led the league in wins, ERA, strikeouts, WHIP, and innings pitched and was tied for first in complete games and shutouts.  A year ago, we said, "It seems pretty certain that Mark Hamburger will be pitching somewhere this summer.  Somewhere turned out to be back in St. Paul, where he had another solid season.  He again pitched in Australia this winter, and while his numbers don't look all that good one needs to remember that the league ERA was well over five.  He turns thirty-one today.  The guess here is that he'll be back with St. Paul again this summer.