Happy Birthday–July 4

Mickey Welch (1859)
George Mullin (1880)
Abe Saperstein (1903)
Chuck Tanner (1928)
Bill Tuttle (1929)
Peter Angelos (1929)
George Steinbrenner (1930)
Hal Lanier (1942)
Ed Armbrister (1948)
Wayne Nordhagen (1948)
Jim Beattie (1954)
Jose Oquendo (1963)
Vinny Castilla (1967)
Brendan Donnelly (1971)
Jay Canizaro (1973)
Jeff Harris (1974)

Best remembered as the founder of the Harlem Globetrotters, Abe Saperstein was a long-time executive in what were then known as the Negro Leagues.

Peter Angelos has been the owner of the Baltimore Orioles since 1993.

George Steinbrenner was the owner of the New York Yankees from 1973 until his death in 2010.

The staff of Happy Birthday would like to wish everyone a happy and safe Independence Day.

Outfielder Bill Tuttle played for the Twins from 1961-1963.  He was born in Elmwood, Illinois, attended Bradley University, and signed with Detroit as a free agent in 1951.  He was fairly mediocre in his first season, but had a big year in 1952 with three different clubs, earning a September call-up.  He continued to play well in the minors in 1953, and by 1954 he was in the majors to stay.  He became the Tigers’ starting center fielder, a job he held for four years.  His numbers are fairly pedestrian; his best year in Detroit was 1955, when he hit .279 with 14 homers and an OPS of .757.  After the 1957 season, he was sent to the Kansas City Athletics as part of a thirteen-player trade (it might have been easier for the owners to just swap franchises).  He was the starting center fielder there for three seasons; for the most part he did about the same as he had done in Detroit, but in 1959 he hit .300, the only time he came close to that figure and the only time he got a vote for Most Valuable Player.  On June 1, the Athletics traded him to Minnesota with a player to be named later for cash, Reno Bertoia, and Paul Giel (the player to be named later turned out to be Giel, who was returned to the Twins).  Minnesota moved Tuttle to third base to replace Bertoia (he had played some shortstop in the minors).  He was a reserve outfielder in 1962, used mostly as a defensive replacement, and was released on May 21, 1963, ending his career.  As a Twin, he hit .236/.319/.321 in 496 at-bats.  He continued to play for several years after that,toiling in AAA for the Boston, Detroit, and Yankees organizations through 1967, but never got back to the big leagues.  He later contracted oral cancer, attributed to his use of chewing tobacco, and underwent several surgeries.  As a result, he became an outspoken advocate against chewing tobacco.  Bill Tuttle passed away in Anoka, Minnesota on July 27, 1998.

Infielder Jason Kyle ”Jay” Canizaro played for the Twins in 2000 and 2002.  He was born in Beaumont, Texas, went to high school in Orange, Texas, and attended Oklahoma State.  He was drafted by San Francisco in the fourth round in 1993.  He was primarily a second baseman in the minors, although he played a fair amount of shortstop as well.  He was a rather indifferent hitter throughout much of his minor-league career, although he did hit .293 in AA in 1995.  He made his major league debut in 1996, spending about two months in San Francisco as a part-time second baseman.  He didn’t make it back until 1999, when he got a September call-up after hitting .280 at AAA Fresno.  The Giants released him at the end of spring training in 2000, and Minnesota signed him the next day.  The Twins sent him to AAA Salt Lake, but when he hit .356 in the first month of the season they brought him to the big leagues.  He shared the second base job with Denny Hocking and did better than might have been expected, hitting .269 with an OPS of .714 in 346 at-bats.  He missed all of 2001 with a knee injury.  He started 2002 with the Twins, but was sent back to AAA after two months of hitting .214, losing the second base job to Luis Rivas.  Canizaro played in AAA for Tampa Bay in 2003, but then his playing career was over.  At last report, Jay Canizaro was a sales executive for Workstrings International, which provides equipment to the oil and gas industry.

Right-hander Jeff Harris did not play for the Twins, but was drafted by them.  He was born in Alameda, California, went to the University of San Francisco, and was drafted by Minnesota in the 28th round in 1995.  He was a reliever throughout his career in the Twins’ farm system.  He did well as high as AA, but flopped in two trials at AAA Salt Lake that totaled 80.2 innings.  The Twins released him after the 2000 season and he moved to independent ball, where he became a starter.  Harris played for Chico in the Western League from 2001-2002, tried to make a team in Taiwan, failed, signed to play for a team in China, left because of the SARS epidemic, finally played for Quebec in the Can-Am League in 2003, for Aguascalientes in the Mexican League in 2004, and back to Quebec also in 2004.  Seattle bought him from Quebec in June of 2004.  He both started and relieved that season at AAA and was not particularly impressive, but he got off to a strong start in 2005, posting WHIPs below 1.00 at both AA (34.1 innings) and AAA (68 innings).  He called up in early August and was the fifth starter for the Mariners the rest of the season, going 2-5, 4.19 with a WHIP of 1.27.  He began 2006 in the Seattle bullpen, but was sent down after only 3.1 innings.  He didn’t do a lot in AAA and was released after the season.  He went to Cleveland, for whom he spent two years at AAA Buffalo before his career came to an end after the 2008 season.  Still, he got 57 innings in the big leagues, which isn’t bad for a 28th round draft choice who spent over three years in independent ball.  After his playing career, Jeff Harris was a pitching coach in the Indians’ organization from 2009-2016 and has been a scout for the Philadelphia Phillies since then.

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