Happy Birthday–June 6

Ed McKean (1864)
Fresco Thompson (1902)
Bill Dickey (1907)
Wild Bill Wright (1914)
Hector Espino (1939)
Merv Rettenmund (1943)
Bud Harrelson (1944)
Bobby Randall (1948)
Dave Bergman (1953)
Max Venable (1957)
Tony Graffanino (1972)
Brooks Kieschnick (1972)
David Lamb (1975)
Mark Ellis (1977)
Jeremy Affeldt (1979)
Matt Belisle (1980)

 Wild Bill Wright was a star in the Negro Leagues in the 1930s and 1940s.

Hector Espino is considered the greatest player in the history of the Mexican League, hitting 453 home runs there.

Second baseman Robert Lee Randall played for the Twins in the late 1970s.  He was born in Norton, Kansas, went to high school in Gove, Kansas, and attended Kansas State.  He was drafted by the Dodgers in the second round of the June Secondary draft in 1969.  He never showed power in the minors, and his average was up and down; his best year was 1974, when he hit .338 for AAA Albuquerque.  After the 1975 season, Randall was traded to Minnesota for Danny Walton.  He was instantly installed as the regular second baseman, but when he proved inadequate offensively he was platooned with Rob Wilfong for the next three years.  He was a solid defensive player, but never hit well enough to justify his place in the lineup.  His batting average sometimes made him look adequate–his highest was .270 in 1978–but he had no power and did not draw walks, so his highest OPS was .650, also in 1978.  Randall was a fine bunter, achieving double-digit sacrifice bunts every season.  The Twins released Randall at the end of spring training of 1980, signed him again on May 16, released him again on June 3, signed him again on June 18, and released him again on July 16, this time for good.  He never played for another team.  Bobby Randall’s career numbers are .257/.310/.311 in 1,325 at-bats.  He then went into college coaching, serving as an assistant coach at Iowa State from 1981-1984, head coach at Iowa State from 1985-1995, and head coach at Kansas from 1996-2002.  He also got a master's degree in economics at Kansas State.  At last report, Bobby Randall was living in Manhattan, Kansas and was a professor of economics and statistics at Manhattan Christian College.

Infielder David Christian Lamb appeared in seven games for the Twins in 2002.  He was born in West Hills, California, went to high school in Newbury Park, California, and was drafted by Baltimore in the second round in 1993.  It took him a while to get started, but he hit right around .300 from 1997-1998 in the minor leagues.  The Orioles did not put him on the 40-man roster, however, and he was selected by Tampa Bay in the Rule 5 draft after the 1998 season.  He was with the Devil Rays in 1999 as a utility infielder, batting .226.  Tampa Bay waived him in February of 2000 and the Mets picked him up.  He was in the big leagues for about three weeks, again as a reserve, and had a poor year in AAA.  He became a free agent after the season, signed with Anaheim, was released at the end of spring training of 2001, signed with Colorado, was unspectacular in AA, was released in August, and signed with Florida the same day, going to AAA for the rest of the year.  Lamb signed with Minnesota for 2002.  He had a solid season in AAA Edmonton, hitting .309 with ten homers, and got a September call-up.  He went 1-for-10, but replaced Denny Hocking on the ALCS roster that year, appearing in two games but not getting a time at bat.  Lamb was back with the Twins’ AAA team, now at Rochester, for 2003.  He had a mediocre season and his playing career came to an end.  At last report, David Lamb was a batting and fielding instructor for Hitting Zone, a baseball instructional facility located in Westlake Village, California.

Right-hander Matthew Thomas Belisle has been with the Twins since the start of the 2017 season.  Born and raised in Austin, Texas, he was drafted by Atlanta in the second round in 1998.  He was a starter in the minors and did fairly well for the most part.  He had good control, not walking more than 2.5 batters per nine innings after leaving rookie ball.  He reached AAA in mid-2003 and had made three solid starts for the Braves there when he was traded to Cincinnati in mid-August.  He got a September call-up with the Reds that year but spent all of 2004 in AAA, where he had his first poor season.  Still, he made the Reds out of spring training in 2005 and spent the whole season with them, mostly in the bullpen, even though he did not pitch very well.  He didn't do very well in 2006 either, and continued to struggle when moved into the starting rotation in 2007.  He started 2008 in the rotation, too, but after six starts he went back to AAA.  He became a free agent after that season and signed with Colorado for 2009.  He started 2009 in the Rockies bullpen, but was inconsistent and was sent down after two months, coming back as a September call-up.  In 2010, however, something clicked, and he pitched well in the Rockies' bullpen for the next four seasons.  His best season there was probably 2010, when he appeared in 76 games and went 7-5 with 1 save, 2.93 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP.  He led the league in appearances in 2012 with 80.  He had a poor year in 2014, however, became a free agent and signed with St. Louis for 2015.  He posted a 2.67 ERA for them, but just a 1.46 WHIP.  His control deserted him, as he issued four walks per nine innings, easily the most of his career up to that point.  He again became a free agent and signed with Washington, where he found his control and was again a very good pitcher, posting a 1.76 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP in 2016.  Once again a free agent, he signed with Minnesota for 2017.  He was terrible for the first two months of the season but pitched very well after that, posting an ERA of 1.71 and a WHIP of 0.65 in the second half.  Once more a free agent, he signed with Cleveland for 2018.  He struggled in April but refused an assignment to AAA.  He became a free agent, but re-signed with the Indians eight-days later and is currently pitching for Columbus.  If he's healthy, there's no real reason to think he can't still pitch.  On the other hand, he turns thirty-eight today, so the time he has to prove that may be limited.  We wish him well, though.

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