Happy Birthday–September 13

Mike McNally (1893)
Dutch Reuther (1893)
Pat Collins (1896)
Eddie Rommel (1897)
Rabbit Warstler (1903)
Thornton Lee (1906)
Ed Sudol (1920)
Rick Wise (1945)
Rick Dempsey (1949)
Jim Obradovich (1949)
Mike Fischlin (1955)
Erik Bennett (1968)
Bernie Williams (1968)
Denny Neagle (1968)
Brent Brede (1971)
Armando Rios (1971)
Daisuke Matsuzaka (1980)
Rickie Weeks (1982)
Andy Wilkins (1988)

Ed Sudol was a minor league first baseman from 1940-1953, never getting higher than AA.  He then became an umpire and was National League ump from 1957-1977.

We would also like to wish a very happy birthday to Papa Beau.

Catcher John Rikard “Rick” Dempsey played briefly for the Twins from 1969-1972. He was born in Fayetteville, Tennessee, went to high school in Encino, California, and was drafted by the Twins in the 15th round in 1967. He hit well in Class A in 1968 and 1969, but not so well at higher levels. He was considered an excellent receiver, however, and was called up briefly by the Twins each year from 1969-72, getting a total of 66 at-bats in which he hit .227/.320/.273. In the 1972-73 off-season, Dempsey was traded to the Yankees for Danny Walton. He spent most of 1973 at AAA Syracuse, but then stuck with the Yankees as a backup catcher from 1974-June 1976. He was traded to Baltimore in a multi-player deal that included Tippy Martinez, Scott McGregor, Doyle Alexander, Elrod Hendricks, Ken Holtzman, and Grant Jackson. Dempsey was in Baltimore for the next ten years, never a superstar, but always a competent catcher. He appeared in two World Series’ with the Orioles, 1979 and 1983, and was MVP of the 1983 series. Dempsey slumped to a .208 average in 1986, and was allowed to become a free agent. He was with Cleveland in 1987, but appeared to be done, batting only .177 as a reserve. He signed with the Dodgers at the end of spring training of 1988, and found himself on another world series team, to which he contributed by batting .251 as a back-up catcher. Dempsey was with the Dodgers for three years, played for Milwaukee in 1991, and had a last hurrah with the Orioles before calling it a career after the 1992 season. He is probably best remembered for an imitation of Babe Ruth that he once did to entertain the fans during a rain delay. After retiring as a player, Rick Dempsey remained in baseball, first as a minor league manager, then as a major league coach, and most recently as a broadcaster for the Orioles.  He does motivational speaking and according to his website, "is also an accomplished singer and entertainer, performing with the Deanna Bogart Band."

First baseman James Thomas Obradovich did not play for the Twins, but was drafted by them. He was born in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, went to high school in Fort Knox, Kentucky, and was drafted by the Twins in the 24th round of the 1967 amateur draft. He was in the Twins minor league system through 1976, with the exception of 1971-72, when he was in the military, and with the exception of a brief time in 1974 when he was in the Braves’ system. He gradually developed some power in the minors, hitting over 20 homers in both 1975 and 1976 for AA Orlando. Released by the Twins shortly before the 1977 season, he signed with the Houston organization on the same day. He had his best minor league season with AAA Charleston in 1978, when he batted .306 with 21 homers. He got a September call-up with the Astros that year. He was back in Charleston in 1979, then spent a several years in the Mexican League before his playing career came to an end. In his big-league career, Jim Obradovich batted .176 (3-for-17) with a triple and 2 RBIs. Jim Obradovich passed away on March 3, 2012 in Lancaster, Kentucky, at the age of 62.

Right-hander Erik Hans Bennett appeared in twenty-four games for the Twins in 1996. He was born in Yreka, California, went to high school in Eureka, California, and was drafted in the fourth round by the California Angels in 1989 out of Cal State-Sacramento. He did well in the minors through 1982, but hit a bump in 1983, when he had an ERA over 6.00 and a WHIP of more than 1.5 in a season split between AA Midland and AAA Vancouver. A starter to that point, he was converted to relief in 1984 and had a strong season at Vancouver. Bennett made one appearance for the Angels in 1995, pitching one-third of an inning and retiring the only batter he faced. Playing the first part of the 1995 season in Vancouver, he was placed on waivers and selected by Houston, who sent him to AAA Tucson for the rest of the year. Bennett became a free agent after that year, and was signed by the Twins. He played for Minnesota early in 1996, appearing in 24 games. He was 2-0 with one save, but also had an ERA of 7.90 and a WHIP of 1.79 in 27.1 innings. Returned to AAA Salt Lake in early June, Bennett did not pitch particularly well there and was let go after the season. He hung around in the minors for several more years, pitching in the Cleveland and Houston organizations as well as for a variety of independent teams, but did not make it back to the major leagues. After his playing career ended, Erik Bennett went into coaching and is currently the pitching coach for the Salt Lake Bees.

Left-hander Dennis Edward Neagle appeared in seven games for the Twins in 1991. Born and raised in Gambrills, Maryland, he was drafted out of the University of Minnesota by the Twins in the third round in 1989. He pitched very well in the minors and advanced rapidly, reaching the Twins for seven games in 1991, three of them starts. Coming off their World Series victory, however, the Twins were trying to win now, and so traded Neagle along with Midre Cummings to Pittsburgh for John Smiley. He spent two years in the Pirates bullpen and then most of the next three as a starter before being traded to Atlanta in late August of 1996 in a trade that included Jason Schmidt. He had two fine years in Atlanta, finishing third in the Cy Young balloting in 1997, but was traded to Cincinnati in November of 1998 in a trade that included Bret Boone and Mike Remlinger. After a solid year and a half for the Reds, he was traded to the Yankees in July of 2000. Becoming a free agent at the end of the year, he signed with Colorado, but his time there was mainly marked by poor pitching and injuries. He signed with Tampa Bay for 2005, but could not play due to injury, and his career was over. Sadly, life after baseball was not easy for Neagle; he was convicted for a couple of DUIs as well as for patronizing a prostitute. Denny Neagle was also named in the Mitchell Report. In January of 2012, he filed a lawsuit against his former financial adviser.  No result of that lawsuit could be found.  As a Twin, he was 0-1 with a 4.05 ERA in 20 innings.  He is currently on the board of directors of the Connor Cares Foundation, whose mission is to further the education and training of lifesaving personnel at all public and private pools.  The foundation is named after Neagle's nephew, who drowned at age five in a country club pool.

Outfielder Brent David Brede played for the Twins in 1996-1997. He was born in Belleville, Illinois, went to high school in Trenton, Illinois, and was drafted by the Twins in the fifth round in 1990. He struggled some in the minors, but had a breakout year in AAA Salt Lake in 1996, batting .348 with 38 doubles and 11 home runs. That earned him a September call-up with the Twins in which he hit .300 in 20 at-bats. He again hit well in 1997 in a year split between Salt Lake and Minnesota, but he was left unprotected in the expansion draft, and was chosen by Arizona. Brede again hit well in AAA Tucson in 1998, but batted only .226 with the Diamondbacks, and was released after the season. He went to Japan in 1999, and then came back to the United States to play for AAA Nashville in the Pirates organization in 2000. He batted only .249, however, and his career was over. He hit .324/.417/.480 in 1176 AAA at-bats, but could never get anyone to just put him in the lineup and see what he could do in the majors. As a Twin, he hit .276/.346/.390 in 210 at-bats.  At last report, Brent Brede was a high school basketball coach and social studies teacher in Trenton, Illinois, where as a high school student he played on a state champion basketball team. He also operates a baseball instructional school in Trenton and coaches youth baseball there.

Outfielder Armando Rios did not play for the Twins, but was in spring training with them in 2005. He was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, went to high school in Villa Fontana, Puerto Rico, attended North Carolina—Charlotte and LSU, and signed with San Francisco as a free agent in 1994. He hit well throughout the minor leagues, never posting a batting average lower than .280, and gradually developed power as well, hitting double-digit home runs each year after 1996. His best minor league season was 1998, when he hit .301 with 26 homers for AAA Fresno. Rios got a September call-up that season. He started 1999 in San Francisco as a reserve outfielder, but despite the fact that he was hitting .306 he was sent back to the minors in late June. In 2000 he was finally in the majors to stay, but was still a reserve, hitting in the .260s in consecutive seasons in a part-time role. At the July deadline in 2001 he was traded to Pittsburgh in a trade involve Jason Schmidt. He again hit in the .260s in 2002, but got even less chance to play in Pittsburgh than he had in San Francisco and was released after the season. He signed with the White Sox for 2003 and again hit well in AAA, but again did not get much of a chance to play in the majors. A free agent after the season, he signed with Florida, was released in spring training after only thirteen at-bats, went to the Mexican League, was in AAA with the Orioles for about three weeks in July, was sent to St. Louis, was with them for about a month in AAA, and was released in late August despite the fact that he was hitting .333. The Twins took him to Spring training in 2005, but he did not make the team. He played for the independent Long Island Ducks in 2005 and then his playing career was over. Rios hit .301/.379/.494 in 830 AAA at-bats and .269/.341/.445 in 1021 major league at-bats, but he never got a chance as more than a reserve at the major league level. He was one of the players named in the Mitchell Report, admitting to using performance-enhancing drugs to help recover from injuries to his knee, elbow, and shoulder. At last report, Armando Rios was living in Puerto Rico and was the president of Fundacion Armando Rios there.  He has also been involved in some baseball clinics in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

First baseman Andrew Robert Wilkins has not played for the Twins, but was in their minor league system in 2017.  He was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, went to high school in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, attended the University of Arkansas, and was drafted by the White Sox in the fifth round in 2010.  He hit 23 home runs in Class A in 2011 and 17 in AA in 2012.  He batted just .239 in the latter season, but had an OBP of .335.  He did well when he repeated AA for the first half of 2013 and was okay in AAA in 2013 as well, but for some reason (or for no reason) his walks went down significantly.  He had an outstanding year in AAA in 2014, batting .293 with 30 home runs, but the White Sox had Jose Abreu at first base, so Wilkins did not get promoted until September and played only sporadically then.  He was waived in March of 2015 and selected by Toronto, then was sold to the Dodgers in early May.  He was not as outstanding in AAA as in 2014, but still had a solid season. He had an interesting off-season after 2015:  he was waived by the Dodgers and selected by Baltimore in early September, waived by Baltimore and selected by Seattle in early December, waived by Seattle and selected by Texas two weeks later, and waived by Texas and selected by Milwaukee a week and a half after that.  He did not have a particularly good year in AAA for the Brewers in 2016, although he got about a month and a half in the majors as a pinch-hitter.  A free agent after the 2016 season, he started the 2017 season with SugarLand in the Atlantic League before signing with the Twins in mid-June.  He went to AA Chattanooga and had a fine year.  He remained in the Twins organization in 2018 and split the season between Chattanooga and Rochester.  He showed some power in Chattanooga but did not hit for average in either place.  In his two brief major league trials, he has played in 43 games but has started only 12 of them, getting just 67 at-bats.  It must be admitted that he hasn't done much with them, batting just .134/.194/.224.  He turns thirty today.  He may be able to play in the minors or independent ball for another year or two if he chooses, but it appears that Andy Wilkins has very little chance to play in the major leagues again.

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