Happy Birthday–September 16

Heinie Mueller (1899)
Hillbilly Bildilli (1912)
Gary Ross (1947)
Robin Yount (1955)
Orel Hershiser (1958)
Tim Raines (1959)
Mickey Tettleton (1960)
Mel Hall (1960)
Mark Parent (1961)
Chris Pittaro (1961)
Paul Shuey (1970)
Desi Relaford (1973)
Bobby Korecky (1979)
Brandon Moss (1983)
Gordon Beckham (1986)
Robbie Grossman (1989)

Infielder Christopher Francis Pittaro played in twenty-five games for the Twins from 1986-1987. Born and raised in Trenton, New Jersey was drafted out of the University of North Carolina by the Tigers in the sixth round in 1982. He had a couple of solid, but certainly not eye-popping, years in the minors, but after a hot spring training in 1985 he was proclaimed the Next Big Thing by Sparky Anderson. He wasn’t. Pittaro batted .242 with an OPS of .621 in 28 games for the Tigers in 1985 and had an awful year in AAA Nashville, hitting .194. It seems likely that he could not handle the pressure placed on him, although it also seems likely that he was really never all that good in the first place. In January of 1986, Pittaro was traded to the Twins with Alejandro Sanchez for Dave Engle. He spent three years at AAA for the Twins, posting decent but unspectacular numbers. Pittaro appeared briefly for the Twins in 1986 and 1987, playing in 25 games but getting only 33 at-bats. In those at-bats, he hit .182/.206/.182 with no extra-base hits and no RBIs. After his playing career ended in 1988, Pittaro became a minor-league coach and manager, was the director of professional scouting for the Oakland Athletics, and at last report was a special assistant to the general manager for Oakland, living in Hamilton, New Jersey. His father, Francis “Sonny” Pittaro, was an infielder in the Washington/Minnesota organization from 1960-1962, reaching as high as Class B.

Right-hander Robert John Korecky appeared in sixteen games for the Twins in 2008. He was born in Hillside, New Jersey, went to high school in Saline, Michigan, and was chosen in the 19th round of the 2002 draft by Philadelphia out of the University of Michigan. He had a couple of good years in the low minors for the Phillies, becoming a full-time reliever in 2003. After that season, Korecky became the player to be named later in the trade that also sent Nick Punto and Carlos Silva to the Twins for Eric Milton. He continued to post good numbers in the minors with the exception of 2005, when he had Tommy John surgery and missed almost the entire season. Korecky appeared in 16 games for the Twins in 2008, notching a 2-0 record and a 4.58 ERA with a 1.53 WHIP in 17.2 innings. He was placed on waivers in February of 2009 and was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks. He spent most of the 2009 season at AAA Reno, although he did appear in five games for Arizona. A free agent after the season, he signed with the Angels for 2010, but did not make the team and instead played for the Winnipeg Goldeyes in the Northern League.  He signed with Toronto in 2011 and had two fine years in the minors for them, but did not get another chance in the majors.  He had a down year in 2013 in AAA for the Blue Jays, but bounced back to pitch extremely well there in 2014 and even appeared in two more major league games.  He was again in the Blue Jays' organization in 2015, but while his ERA was all right the rest of his numbers really weren't.  He was worse in AAA for the Blue Jays in 2016, and his playing career came to an end.  A fine batter in high school, Bobby Korecky holds the Michigan High School record for most hits in a season and was the first pitcher to get a hit in an American League game since the designated hitter rule was implemented in 1972. No information about what Bobby Korecky has been doing since 2016 was readily available.

Outfielder Robert Edward Grossman has played for the Twins since 2016.  He was born in San Diego, attended high school in Cypress, Texas, and was drafted by Pittsburgh in the sixth round in 2008.  He attracted attention in 2011 when he followed up a fine campaign with Class A Bradenton with an outstanding stint in the Arizona Fall League.  He was in AA in 2012 when he was traded to Houston at mid-season.  His 2013 season was split between AAA and the Astros, for whom he was okay but nothing special.  He was a starting outfielder for Houston for most of 2014 and drew quite a few walks, but really didn't do much else:  his line was .237/.333/.337.  He got off to a slow start as a reserve in 2015 and was sent back to AAA, where he spent most of the season.  The Astros gave up on him after that and he signed with Cleveland for 2016.  He was doing well for them in AAA, but they still released him in mid-May.  The Twins signed him the same day and quickly brought him to Minnesota, where he has remained.  He had a fine season for them offensively in 2016, batting .280/.386/.443.  He has not done as well since then, but he has still been a fairly decent offensive player.  He turns twenty-nine today and will be a free agent at the end of the season.  Management seems to like him, so he might well be back in 2019.  At any rate, it seems likely that Robbie Grossman will be on somebody's roster next season.

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