Happy Birthday–June 22

Carl Hubbell (1903)
Walt Masterson (1920)
Han Urbanus (1927)
Faye Throneberry (1931)
Russ Snyder (1934)
Ron Hodges (1949)
Dave Tomlin (1949)
Greg Booker (1960)
Brant Brown (1971)
Esteban Yan (1975)
Willie Harris (1978)
Luis Maza (1980)
Ian Kinsler (1982)
Engelb Vielma (1994)

Han Urbanus is in the Dutch Baseball Hall of Fame.  He pitched over 150 consecutive complete games over a period of eight years.

The brother of Marv Throneberry, outfielder Faye Throneberry spent much of his career with the Twins franchise while it was still in Washington (1957-1960).  In December of 1960, he was chosen by the Los Angeles Angels in the expansion draft.

Right-handed reliever Gregory Scott Booker appeared in six games for the Twins in 1989.  The son-in-law of Jack McKeon, he was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, went to high school in Burlington, North Carolina, and then attended Elon University in Elon, North Carolina (a school also attended by Dick Such).  He was drafted by San Diego in the tenth round in 1981.  Mostly a starter in the minors, he did not have very good numbers there at all, although much of his time was spent in hitter-friendly Las Vegas in the PCL.  Despite never posting a minor league ERA under 5.25 or a WHIP under 1.6, Booker got a September call-up in 1983.  He went back-and-forth between San Diego and Las Vegas from 1984-1986.  He was almost exclusively a reliever in the majors, making only four career starts.  His major league numbers are substantially better than his minor league totals, although it should be noted that Booker never pitched as many as seventy innings in a major league season.  His only two full seasons in the majors were 1987-1988, and he pitched pretty well in those years, posting ERAs in the low threes and WHIPs around 1.35.  He did not pitch as well in 1989, was sent back to AAA in June.  In late June, his father-in-law traded him to Minnesota for Fred Toliver.  Most of his time with the Twins was in AAA, but he came up to the majors in September.  He appeared in six games and pitched 8.2 innings.  Had no record, giving up four runs on eleven hits for a 4.15 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP.  The Twins allowed him to become a free agent and he signed with the Cubs, but he was released at the end of spring training.  He signed with the Giants for 1990 and was in AAA most of the year, playing in two major league games in late May.  That was the end of his playing career.  He has stayed in professional baseball since then, coaching in the Indians and Rockies organizations, and was the major league pitching coach for San Diego from 1997-2003.  He was the pitching coach of the Syracuse Chiefs in the International League from 2010-2013.  At last report, Greg Booker was a scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers.  His son, Zach Booker, played in the minors from 2007-2011.

Infielder Luis Alberto Maza did not play for the Twins, but was in their minor league system for several years.  Born and raised in Cumana, Venezuela, he signed with the Twins as a free agent in 1997.  Partly due to his age, Maza was in the low minors for several years, not reaching AA until 2004.  He hit .311 there that year and was promoted to AAA in 2005.  He had a bad year in Rochester in 2006, hitting only .207, and became a free agent after the season.  He signed with the Dodgers, played very well in the minors, and reached the majors in mid-May of 2008, staying for two months.  He hit only .228, however, and so far this has been Maza’s only time in the majors.  He hit .378 in Albuquerque that year, and followed it up with a .300 season last year.  When he did not get a call back to the big leagues, Maza again became a free agent, this time signing with Philadelphia.  He moved on to Houston in late June, but was released in early August.  He signed with Grosseto in the Italian Baseball League for 2011 and played for Rimini in that same league in 2012.  He did not play anywhere during the regular 2013 or 2014 seasons but he continued to play winter ball in Venezuela through the winter of 2015-16.  No information about what Luis Maza has done since then was readily available.

Infielder Engelb Stalin Vielma did not play for the Twins, but was in their minor league system from 2012-2017.  He was born in Maraciabo, Venezuela and signed with Minnesota as a free agent in September of 2011.  He rose through the Twins system at a steady pace, playing in the DSL in 2012, the GCL and the Appalachian League in 2013, Class A in 2014, high-A in 2015, and AA in 2016.  He started 2017 in AA but went to AAA about at third of the way through the season.  He apparently is consider a superior fielder, because he has never posted an OPS of .700 or better at any level.  His best mark was .690 in that third of a season in AA Chattanooga in 2017.  His highest batting average was .286 in that same third of a season--for a full season his highest is .271 in 2016.  The Twins waived him in September of 2017, which started an interesting off-season for him.  The Giants selected him, but waived him in November.  He was selected by Philadelphia, who waived him in December.  He selected by Pittsburgh, who waived him in January.  A week later, he was traded to Baltimore for a player to be named later or cash.  He started the season with the Orioles but played sparingly, appearing in just six games and batting only seven times (1-for-7 with a single and a walk).  He is currently on the disabled list for AAA Norfolk.  He turns twenty-four today.  We wish him well, and have no reason to root against him, but the fact is that the best thing you can say for him right now. is that he's young enough to improve.  So far, it seems that the best he's likely to do is be a utility infielder, and he's going to have to go some to even be successful at that.

Leave a Reply