Happy Birthday–April 13

Herman Long (1866)
Kid Elberfeld (1875)
Jake Stahl (1879)
Claude Hendrix (1889)
Ben Cantwell (1902)
Pete Quesada (1904)
Roxie Lawson (1906)
Bill Deegan (1935)
John Stephenson (1941)
Jeff Bittiger (1962)
Mark Leiter (1963)
Doug Strange (1964)
Ricardo Rincon (1970)
Kevin Ohme (1971)
Steve Pearce (1983)
Hunter Pence (1983)

Air Force General Pete Quesada was one of the original owners of the expansion Washington Senators.  He also was the first head of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Bill Deegan was an American League umpire from 1971-1980.

Right-hander Jeffrey Scott Bittiger pitched in three games for the Twins in 1987. He was born in Jersey City and went to high school in Seacaucus, New Jersey. Bittiger was drafted by the Mets in the seventh round in 1980. His minor league numbers were fairly solid–his best year was 1982 with AA Jackson, when he went 12-5, 2.96 with a WHIP of 1.22 and 190 strikeouts in 164 innings. He was promoted to AAA in 1983 and spent three seasons at AAA Tidewater, where his numbers may not have been eye-popping but were not too bad, either. The Mets traded Bittiger to Philadelphia prior to the 1986 season. He won 13 games at AAA and pitched well enough to get a September call-up, but the Phillies gave up on him and released him after the season. He signed with Atlanta, was released at the end of spring training, and signed with Minnesota in mid-April of 1987. He spent most of the season at AAA, but was called up in September and started a game during the Twins’ stretch run, defeating the White Sox and giving up only a run on six hits in seven innings. He then made two poor relief appearances, however, and was released after the season. As a Twin, Jeff Bittiger was 1-0, 5.40, giving up five runs on eleven hits in 8.1 innings. His one good start must have impressed Chicago, however, as the White Sox signed him for 1988. Bittiger got the most big-league playing time of his career that season; after seven excellent starts at AAA, he came up to Chicago in mid-May and stayed the rest of the season. He was mostly used in relief, although he made occasional starts. He was unexceptional, but decent enough for the White Sox to keep him in AAA for 1989. He was in AAA almost all season, making only two appearances in the majors but having another fine season at AAA. The White Sox traded him to the Dodgers after the season. He moved on to the Indians organization for 1991, the Athletics’ system for 1992, and the Royals’ chain for 1993, not doing too badly but never getting another chance in the majors. He played in the Northern League in 1994, went back to the Oakland organization for 1995, and then played for the Fargo-Moorhead Red Hawks in the Northern League from 1996-2002. Jeff Bittiger is a scout for the Oakland Athletics. He is also a player personnel consultant for the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, as well as being on the staff of the Lehigh Valley Baseball Academy. His son was a shortstop for Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Left-hander Kevin Arthur Ohme was drafted by the Twins, but did not play for them. Born in Palm Beach, Florida, he was drafted by Minnesota in the ninth round in 1993. He was in the Twins’ farm system for seven seasons, used mostly in relief, although he made 11 starts for AA Hardware City in 1995. He pretty much topped out at AA, posting an ERA of 3.85 in two seasons there. He had three seasons for AAA Salt Lake, with an ERA over five in the first two. Even the third season, 1999, when his ERA was 3.83, was deceiving, as he had a WHIP of 1.52 that year. The Twins let him go after 1999 and he went to Japan for two years, playing for the Nippon Ham Fighters. He came back to the United States in 2002 and signed with St. Louis. Ohme had two undistinguished years at AAA Memphis, but in 2003 he appeared in two major league games for the Cardinals, giving up no runs on three hits in 4.1 innings. The Cardinals did not re-sign him after that season, but he went to spring training with the Angels for 2004. That spring, he injured his elbow and needed Tommy John surgery. It did not work out, and Kevin Ohme’s playing career ended. He is one of the few players to retire with a major league ERA of 0.00. He also got a hit in his only major league at-bat, giving him a lifetime average of 1.000. Kevin Ohme is currently the Minister of Recreation for the First Baptist Church of Brandon, Florida. He also coaches youth baseball.

Outfielder/first baseman Steven Wayne Pearce did not play for the Twins, but went to spring training with them in 2012.  Born and raised in Lakeland, Florida, he attended Indian River Community College in Fort Pierce, Florida, then went to the University of South Carolina.  He was drafted by Pittsburgh in the eighth round in 2005.  He hit well in the low minors.  He started 2007 in Class A, then went to AA, then to AAA, and finished the year in the majors as a September call-up, hitting .294.  He shuttled back and forth between AAA and the majors for the rest of his time with the Pirates, playing in 185 major league games over five seasons.  He was mostly a first baseman in the minors, but played mostly outfield for Pittsburgh.  He hit fairly well in AAA, but was never put into a major league lineup regularly to show what he could do.  A free agent after the 2011 season, he signed with Minnesota for 2012, but was released in late March.  That started an eventful year for him:  he signed with the Yankees, was sold to Baltimore in early June, was selected off waivers by Houston in late July, was sold to the Yankees in late August, and was selected off waivers by Baltimore again in late September.  He remained with Baltimore in 2013 and got almost a full season in the majors, although that full season consisted of 119 at-bats.  He actually did fairly well, hitting .261 with an OPS of .782.  At that time, we wrote, "One wishes he had gotten a chance to show what he could do in the majors as a regular, but he's thirty-one now, so the chances are that won't happen."  Well, he wasn't quite a regular in 2014, but he played in 102 games, and he showed us what he could do, hitting .293 with 21 homers and an OPS of .930.  He was essentially a utility player in 2015, starting games in left field, right field, first base, second base, and DH.  He could not repeat his 2015 success, batting only .218 with 15 homers and an OPS of .711.  A free agent after the season, he signed with Tampa Bay and was having a fine season as a part-time player for them when he was traded to Baltimore on August 1.   He did little for the Orioles in limited playing time and was again a free agent.  He signed with the Blue Jays for 2017 and had a decent season as a part-time outfielder.  He is again with Toronto for 2018  He turns thirty-five today.  What we've said for the last two years still applies:  A slump could probably end his career at any time, but it's also possible that he'll be around for a few more years yet.

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