Happy Birthday–June 14

Charlie Buffinton (1861)
Harvey Watkins (1869)
Charles Barrett (1871)
Don Newcombe (1926)
Jim Constable (1933)
Bill Fahey (1950)
Greg Brock (1957)
Mike Laga (1960)
George Tsamis (1967)
Peter Munro (1975)

Michael Hollimon (1982)

I wonder if Charlie Buffinton had a similar problem to Ty Wigginton, with people constantly calling him "Buffington".

 Harvey Watkins managed the New York Giants for 35 games in 1895.  Most of his career was spent managing the Barnum & Bailey Circus and the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show.

Charles Barrett was a long-time scout, mostly working for whatever team was employing Branch Rickey.

Left-hander Jimmy Lee “Sheriff” Constable was an original Twin, in a way, but he did not play for them.  He was born in Jonesborough, Tennessee and signed with the New York Giants as a free agent in 1951.  He pitched very well in the low minors, reaching AAA in 1954.  He stumbled in his first couple of years there, possibly because he had averaged 225 innings in his previous two seasons.  He did very well in AAA in 1956, though, making a brief appearance with the Giants in June.  He spent much of 1957 in the majors and did well on those rare occasions when he was given a chance to pitch.  1958 was his first full season in the majors, but he spent it with three different teams:  he started with the now San Francisco Giants, was chosen off waivers by Cleveland in June, and was chosen off waivers by Washington in July.  That off-season, while playing winter ball in Cuba, Constable suffered what was termed a mental breakdown and was out of baseball for three years.  The franchise kept him on the roster until April 11, 1961, when the now Minnesota Twins released him.  He came back with the Milwaukee Braves in 1962, getting back to the majors for three games.  He returned to the Giants in 1963 and was in their minor league system for two years, making four more major league appearances in 1963.  For his career, Jim Constable went 3-4, 4.87 with two saves and a WHIP of 1.53.  He appeared in 56 games, six of them starts, and pitched 98 innings.  After leaving baseball, Constable became a control analyst for Magnavox, then became a teacher back in his home town of Jonesborough.  Jim Constable passed away on September 4, 2002.

Left-hander George Tsamis was with the Twins for most of 1993.  He was born in Campbell, California, attended Stetson University, and was drafted by Minnesota in the fifteenth round in 1989.  He was a starter in the minors and had a tremendous year at Class A Visalia in 1990, going 17-4, 2.21.  As he climbed up the ladder, his ERA and his WHIP rose, but his won-lost record remained very good.  For example, in 1992 he was 13-4 for AAA Portland, but with an ERA of 3.90 and a WHIP of 1.50.  He made three poor starts for Portland in 1993, but came up to the Twins in late April and stayed the rest of the season.  Why he stayed is another question:  Tsamis was 1-2, 6.19 with a WHIP of 1.65 in 68.1 innings spread over 41 appearances.  The Twins led him go after the season, and he moved on to Seattle, pitching in the minors for the Mariners for a little over a year.  He pitched briefly in the Pirates’ system in 1995, then spent over three seasons in independent ball, pitching for Mohawk Valley, Newburgh, Meridian, Bangor, and Waterbury through 1998.  Since then, he has been managing in independent ball.  George Tsamis has been the manager of Waterbury (1999-2000), New Jersey (2001-2002) and St. Paul (2003-present).  He may, by the time you read this, have won his one thousandth game.  He is also director of player personnel for the St. Paul Saints.  He was a coach for Team USA in the 2003 Baseball World Cup.  In the off-season, George Tsamis lives in Colchester, Connecticut.

Right-hander Peter Daniel Munro did not play for the Twins, but was in their farm system for a couple of months in 2004 and for all of 2006..  He was born in Flushing, New York, went to high schol in Bayside, New York, and was drafted by Boston in the sixth round in 1993. He did well in Class A but struggled whe promoted to AA 1997 and continued to struggle in AAA in 1998.  He was traded to Toronto in late July of the latter season.  He did no better there in the rest of 1998 but began 1999 in the majors anyway.  Not surprisingly, he did not pitch well, although he did better when sent back to AAA.  He began 2000 in AAA, too, and did no better.  In August he was traded to Texas.  He spent all of 2001 in AAA and had a medicore year.  A free agent after the season, he signed with Houston for 2002 and had his first good year above Class A, pitchng well at AAA and coninuing to pitch well when promoted to Houston in late June.  He went 5-5, 3.57 in 19 appearances, 14 of them starts.  It was his only good year in the majors, though.  He started 2003 in the majors but was sent back to AAA at the end of July.  A free agent after the season, he signed wth Minnesota for 2004.  He pitched well in Rochester, going 6-3, 3.88 with a 1.22 WHIP in ten starts, but was still released at then end of May.  The Astros signed him again a week later, but he again could not succeed in the majors.  He signed with the Yankees in 2005, was in AAA all season, then signed again with Minnesota for 2006.He was in the Red Wings’ rotation all year but did not do well, going 8-12, 4.32 with a 1.45 WHIP.  He played in China in 2007 and made the all-star team there.  He came back to the United States and played for York in the Atlantic League in 2008, but was injured and ended his playing career.  Pete Munro is currently an instructor for ProSwing, a baseball instructional company located in Port Chester, New York.  He is also the owner of PDM Pitching, LLC, of Brooklyn, which “focuses on the training and development of youth athletes in all phases of development”.

Infielder Michael Travis Hollimon did not play for the Twins, but was in their farm system for two years.  Born and raised in Dallas, he attended both the University of Texas and Oral Roberts University.  He was drafted three times:  by the Dodgers in 2001, by Minnesota in 2003, and by Detroit in 2005.  He signed with the Tigers and got his professional career underway that year.  He started very well, batting around .280 with double-digit doubles, triples, and homers each of his first two years and falling a triple short of doing it a third year.  He got a cup of coffee at AAA in that third year, 2007, and started 2008 there.  He hit a wall in AAA, however; he has never had a good season higher than AA unless you count 29 games in 2011.  He got his first and so far only big league time in 2008, spending about six weeks with the Tigers as a reserve infielder.  He did well in limited playing time, going 6-for-23 with two doubles, a triple, and a homer.  He hit only .211 in AAA, though, and when he did not particularly improve in AA in 2009 he was released.  Hollimon played for independent Grand Prairie in the American Association in 2010.  The Twins gave him another chance, signing him for 2011.  He started horribly for New Britain, but played fairly well after the first month, earning a promotion to Rochester, where he continued to do well.  Back in Rochester for 2012, he again got off to a slow start, then was injured and missed the rest of the season.  He elected to retire after the season.  His career was probably not what he hoped it would be, but he got twenty-three big league at-bats and hit a major league home run, and most of us would probably give a lot to be able to say that.  Michael Hollimon is now a sports agent and vice president with SSG Baseball and is living in the Dallas area.

One thought on “Happy Birthday–June 14”

  1. I wonder if Charlie Buffinton had a similar problem to Ty Wigginton, with people constantly calling him "Buffington".

    I wrote that as a throwaway line, but apparently he actually did. I'm told the "Old Judge" tobacco baseball card series called him "Buffington" in their sets from 1886-1890.

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