Happy Birthday–January 9

Bill Thomas (1905)
Johnny Washington (1916)
John Kibler (1928)
Julio Navarro (1936)
Ralph Terry (1936)
Masaaki Mori (1937)
Al Clark (1948)
Joe Wallis (1952)
Ivan DeJesus (1953)
Otis Nixon (1959)
Stan Javier (1964)
Jay Powell (1972)
Gabriel Moya (1995)

Bill Thomas pitched in the minors from 1924-1952. He set records for games pitched (1,016), wins (383), losses (347), innings (5,995), hits allowed (6,721), and runs allowed (3,098).

Outfielder/first baseman Johnny Washington played in the Negro Leagues for nearly twenty years.

John Kibler was a National League umpire from 1963-1989.

Masaaki Mori was involved with twenty-seven pennant winners in Japan, sixteen as a player, three as a coach, and eight as a manager.

Al Clark was a long-time American League umpire.

Outfielder Otis Junior Nixon was with Minnesota in 1998, near the end of his long career. A native of Columbus County, North Carolina, Nixon was chosen by the Yankees with the third pick of the 1979 draft. His minor league career showed what Nixon would become at his best--he had no power whatsoever, but hit for a high average, drew a lot of walks, and stole a lot of bases. His best year in the minors was 1982, a year which he split between AA Nashville and AAA Columbus. Combined, he hit .282, drew 108 walks, and stole 107 bases. He remained in the minors for 1983, however (with the exception of 14 big league at-bats), and that off-season was traded to Cleveland. Nixon made the Indians out of spring training in 1984, but hit only .154 and found himself back in the minors by mid-June. He was a seldom-used reserve outfielder in 1985 and 1986, was back in the minors much of 1987, and then became a free agent, signing with Montreal. The Expos finally gave him a chance to play, making him a semi-regular, but he didn't do much; he hit only .237 in three years with Montreal, although he did steal 133 bases. In April of 1991, the now 32-year-old Nixon was traded to Atlanta. His lifetime batting average at that point, in over eleven hundred at-bats, was .228. There was certainly no reason to think that he would suddenly learn to hit, but he did, batting over .290 in each of his first two seasons with the Braves. Nixon was a Brave for three seasons, stealing 160 bases in that time. A free agent after the 1993 season, he signed with the Red Sox. He had a good year in Boston in 1994, but was traded to Texas after the season in a deal involving Jose Canseco. He was with the Rangers for 1995, went to Toronto in 1996, and was traded by the Blue Jays to Los Angeles in August of 1997. A free agent again after that season, he signed with Minnesota for 1998. Now 39, Nixon did everything the Twins could have expected him to do that season, hitting .297/.361/.344 with 37 stolen bases despite missing a month with a broken jaw. He signed with Atlanta for 1999, but hit only .205, and his career was over. After hitting .228 through age 31, Nixon batted .284 from ages 32-39. His career spanned 17 seasons, and he stole 620 bases, stealing more bases in the 1990s than anyone else. He is tied for the major league record with six stolen bases in a game.  His brother, Donell, also played in the major leagues. Otis Nixon was the CEO of On-Track Promotions, working with several communities to provide baseball camps with a Christian emphasis throughout the southeast United States.  He also started the Otis Nixon Foundation, assisting formerly incarcerated and homeless individuals to re-assimilate into society.  His book "Keeping It Real", was released in October of 2009.  Unfortunately, in recent years, Nixon has had trouble keeping it real.  He was implicated in a fraud scheme in 2013 in which he allegedly promised that he could help prisoners get early parole for a fee.  He also was arrested in May of 2013 for possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia.  The results of those legal troubles could not be found, but he apparently was arrested for violating probation in January of 2014, was arrested again on drug charges in September of 2014, and was arrested again for contributing to the delinquency of a minor and permitting an unlicensed person to drive in November of 2015.  He was reported as missing in April of 2017, but was found a few days later with no explanation made public for where he had been.  He has stayed out of the news since then, which seems like it would be a good sign.  We hope that Otis Nixon is getting his life straightened out at this point.

Left-hander Gabriel Jose (Barrios) Moya appeared in seven games for the Twins in 2017.  He was born in Cabimas, Venezuela and signed with Arizona as a free agent in March of 2012.  He has been a reliever throughout his minor league career except for 2014, when he was a starter.  That was the only bad year of his minor league career, so the powers that be put him back in the bullpen.  He was promoted to Class A in 2016, soon proved himself to be too good for the Midwest League, and spent most of the year in high-A.  He was in AA most of 2017, although he was clearly too good for that league, too, going 6-1, 0.77, 24 saves, 0.77 WHIP with 87 strikeouts in 57.1 innings.  Arizona traded him to the Twins at the trade deadline in 2017 for John Ryan Murphy.  The Twins gave him a September call-up and he did well other than giving up a couple of home runs. He started 2018 in the majors but again was hurt by the gopher ball and was sent to Rochester after just five appearances.  He dominated in AAA and came back to the Twins in July, where he did much better.  His numbers for 2018 were 3-1, 4.71, 1.32 WHIP, but if you throw out April it's 3-1, 3.73, 1.28.  He turns twenty-four today.  One expects that he will be in the Twins' bullpen at the start of the 2019 season.

Leave a Reply