Happy Birthday–May 27

Frank Snyder (1894)
Pinky Higgins (1909)
Terry Moore (1912)
George O’Donnell (1929)
Jerry Kindall (1935)
Fred Bruckbauer (1938)
Jim Holt (1944)
Gary Nolan (1948)
Terry Collins (1949)
Mark Connor (1949)
Mark Clear (1956)
Ed Nunez (1963)
John Jaha (1966)
Jeff Bagwell (1968)
Frank Thomas (1968)
Todd Hundley (1969)
Jose Berrios (1994)

Terry Collins was the manager of Houston from 1994-96, of Anaheim from 1997-99, and of the Mets from 2011-2017.

Mark Connor pitched in the Twins’ minor league system from 1971-1972 before he suffered a career-ending arm injury.  He has been a pitching coach for the Yankees, Arizona, Toronto, Texas, and Baltimore.  He also was the head baseball coach at the University of Tennessee.

Right-hander George Dana O’Donnell did not pitch for the Twins, but he was in their farm system briefly in 1961.  He was born in Winchester, Illinois and signed with the St. Louis Browns as a free agent in 1949.  His career shows how the minors have changed over the years.  He pitched well for two seasons in Class D for the Browns, throwing 241 innings there in Appleton in 1950.  He moved to the Pittsburgh organization in 1951, winning 22 games and pitching 243 innings for Class B Waco.  In 1953 he was pitching for Hollywood in the Pacific Coast League and worked 281.1 innings.  He started 36 games that season and relieved in nine others.  He began 1954 in the majors with the Pirates, starting the year in the rotation but moving to the bullpen in mid-June.  He did much better as a reliever than as a starter, but he was sent out in late July with a record of 3-9, 4.53 and a WHIP of 1.44.  Those would be his career numbers, as he never got back to the majors.  He stayed in baseball for several years after that, though, being used mostly as a reliever while making occasional spot starts.  He had some fine years at AAA for Pittsburgh, regularly posting ERAs around three through 1957, but could not get another chance.  He moved on to the Dodgers’ organization in 1959 and came to the Twins in 1961.  They sent him to AAA Syracuse, where he made eight appearances and went 1-1, 6.75 in 16 innings.  That brought his playing career to an end. While his major league career doesn’t look like much, he went 127-93 in the minors with an ERA of 3.44 and a WHIP of 1.25.  After leaving baseball, he went back to Winchester to work on the family grain farm.  He later worked as a hearing officer in the Illinois Driver’s License Bureau, eventually becoming chief hearing officer.  George O’Donnell was retired and living in Springfield, Illinois when he passed away on December 19, 2012 at the age of 83.

Infielder Gerald Donald Kindall was with the Twins for most of two seasons in the mid-1960s. Born and raised in St. Paul, he attended the University of Minnesota and was signed by the Cubs as a free agent in 1956. He was signed as a “bonus baby”, meaning under the rules of the time that he had to be kept in the major leagues for two years. He rarely played his first season, getting only 55 at-bats, but was used a little more as a utility infielder in 1957. He was clearly not ready for the big time, as he hit in the .160s both years. He was sent to the minors for the next two years (with the exception of six big-league at-bats in 1958), and did not hit there, either, averaging .229 in AA and .236 in AAA. He started 1960 in AAA, but came up to the majors in mid-May and stayed for six years. He was used as a reserve middle infielder for the Cubs in 1960-1961, hitting in the .240s.  After the 1961 season, Kindall was traded to Cleveland.  He was their regular second baseman in 1962, his first year as a regular, and appears to have been very good defensively.  Unfortunately, he hit .232, and was back to a reserve role in 1963.  He continued in that role until mid-June of 1964, when he was part of a three-team trade in which the Twins got Kindall and Frank Kostro, Cleveland got Billy Moran, and the Angels got Lenny Green and Vic Power.  He stayed a reserve that season, but in 1965 he was the Twins’ mostly-regular second baseman.  He again fielded well, but again did not hit, and after batting .196 in the regular season he was replaced by Frank Quilici for the World Series.  His playing career came to an end after that season, and he then embarked on a long and successful college coaching career at the University of Arizona, where his teams won three College World Series championships during his tenure from 1973-1996.  The university’s baseball field has been named in his honor.  He has written numerous books and made numerous videos to teach kids how to play baseball.  He also broadcast baseball on the Big Ten Network.  He is a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.  Jerry Kindall passed away on December 21, 2017 in Tucson, Arizona after suffering a stroke.

Right-hander Frederick John Bruckbauer appeared in one game for the Twins in 1961.  He was born in New Ulm, Minnesota, went to high school in Sleepy Eye, and attended the University of Minnesota.  He signed with Washington as a free agent in 1959.  He was in the low minors for two seasons, posting fair-to-middling results.  At the start of the 1961 campaign he found himself back in his home state of Minnesota with the brand new Minnesota Twins.  He made his debut on April 25, the first native Minnesotan to pitch for the Twins.  He came into a game against Kansas City at the start of the fourth inning with the Twins trailing 7-2.  He faced four batters, allowing three hits and a walk.  He was charged with three runs in a game the Twins would lose 20-2.  That was also Bruckbauer’s major league swan song–he never appeared in another big league game, giving him a lifetime ERA of infinity.  He went to AAA the rest of the season, having a mediocre year.  He pitched eight games of AA ball in 1962, and then his playing career was suddenly over at the age of 24.  He is the last pitcher to retire with an ERA of infinity.  His career was apparently cut short by injuries, primarily to his shoulder.  After leaving baseball, Bruckbauer moved to Madison, Wisconsin and worked for John Deere for more than thirty years, then retired to Naples, Florida.  Fred Bruckbauer passed away in Naples on October 14, 2007.

Outfielder James William Holt played for the Twins from 1968-1974.  Born and raised in Graham, North Carolina, Holt signed with Kansas City as a free agent in 1965.  He had a couple of good years at Class A, but was left unprotected, and the Twins chose him in the Rule 5 draft in November of 1967.  He was in the majors all of 1968 but was used sparingly, batting .208 in 106 at-bats.  Holt went back to AAA in 1969 and hit .336 with 11 homers and 12 triples in Denver.  That got him a September call-up, and in 1970-1971 he was a semi-regular outfielder, starting almost half of the Twins’ games and appearing in many others either as a pinch-hitter or a defensive substitute.  He hit around .260 in those years, but did not show much power or much patience at the plate.  Holt went back to AAA in 1972 and again showed he was too good for that league, hitting .333 at Tacoma and again getting a September call-up.  In 1973 Holt got the most playing time of his career, starting 90 games in the outfield and 24 at first base.  He responded with the best year of his career, hitting .297 with 11 homers and an OPS of .783.  That was as good as it would get for Holt, however; he became a part-time first baseman in 1974, and in mid-August was traded to Oakland for Pat Bourque.  He did little for the Athletics (although he did have a key pinch-hit in the World Series), and by 1976 was back in AAA.  He hit .379 there but failed to impress anyone, and his career ended.  As a Twin, Jim Holt hit .272/.310/.352 in 1,444 at-bats.  He returned to North Carolina and became a firefighter.  He helped start a company called Firequip, which produces a wide range of fire hoses.  At last report, Jim Holt had returned to his home town of Graham, North Carolina.

Right-hander Jose Orlando Berrios made his debut with the Twins in 2016.  Born and raised in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, he was drafted by Minnesota in the first round in 2012.  He pitched very well in two rookie leagues in 2012, came the closest he has come to struggling in the minors in 2013 with Cedar Rapids (3.99 ERA, 1.40 WHIP), had an excellent 2014 split between Fort Myers and New Britain, and did very well in a 2015 split between Chattanooga and Rochester.  He pitched very well in seventeen starts in Rochester in 2016, but not as well in fourteen starts in Minnesota.  His numbers in those starts were, to be honest, terrible:  3-7, 8.02, 1.87 WHIP.  Not to worry, though--in 2017 he dominated the International League for six starts, then had a fine season with the Twins, going 14-8, 3.89, 1.23 WHIP.  In 2018, in what we assume will be his first full season in the majors, he is 5-4, 3.82, 0.91 WHIP.  Two years ago, after his first four major league starts, we wrote, "Despite his shaky start, the chances are still good that Jose Berrios will have a successful major league career."  That doesn't make us Nostradamus, of course, but so far we have every reason to think it will be an accurate prediction.

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