Happy Birthday–June 16

Max Surkont (1922)
Ernie Johnson (1924)
Richard Jacobs (1925)
Bob Miller (1926)
Ken Johnson (1933)
Joe Decker (1947)
Ron LeFlore (1948)
Salome Barojas (1957)
Wally Joyner (1962)
Calvin Schiraldi (1962)
Kevin Young (1969)
Chris Gomez (1971)
Kerry Wood (1977)
Joe Saunders (1981)
Jonathan Broxton (1984)
Justin Haley (1991)
Zack Weiss (1992)

Richard Jacobs was the owner of the Cleveland Indians from 1986-2000.

The Bob Miller born today, although a pitcher, is not the Bob Miller who pitched for the Twins.

We would also like to wish a very happy birthday to socaltwinsfan.

Right-hander George Henry ”Joe” Decker played for the Twins for four years in the mid-1970s.  He was born in Storm Lake, Iowa, went to high school in Petaluma, California, and was drafted by the Cubs in the ninth round in 1965.  He took a while to get started, pitching one year in rookie ball and two at Class A.  His first good season in the minors came in 1968, a season split between A and AAA.  He followed that up with a good year at AAA Tacoma, making his major league debut as a September call-up in 1969.  He was with the Cubs for much of the next two years, sometimes starting, sometimes relieving, but not pitching particularly well in either role.  Decker returned to the minors for most of 1972 and after the season was traded to Minnesota with Bob Maneely and Bill Hands for Dave LaRoche.  He was in the Twins’ starting rotation the next two years and pitched pretty well, winning 16 games in 1974 with a 3.29 ERA.  He pitched 248.2 innings, however, by far the most of his career.  After that he struggled with injuries and was never an effective pitcher again.  The Twins released him in June of 1976 and he signed with Detroit, finishing the year at AAA.  He signed with the Cubs for 1977, was released on Independence Day, and finished the season in the Mexican League.  Decker signed with Seattle for 1978 and had a couple of decent years in AAA, making it back to the majors for about six weeks in 1979.  He was apparently out of baseball in 1980-1981, then attempted a comeback in 1982, pitching in AAA for Seattle for two more seasons before ending his playing career after the 1983 campaign.  As a Twin, Joe Decker was 29-34, 4.09.  He pitched in 89 games, 80 of them starts, and worked 503.1 innings.  He continued to enjoy playing baseball, and pitched in the Seniors League in 1989-1990.  He moved to Fraser, Michigan, where he passed away on March 2, 2003 following a fall down stairs.  He is buried in his original home town of Storm Lake, Iowa.

Infielder Christopher Cory Gomez played for the Twins in 2003.  He was born in Los Angeles, went to high school in Lakewood, California, and attended Cal State–Long Beach.  He was drafted by Detroit in the third round in 1992.  He did not hit particularly well in the minors, but made the big leagues in mid-July of 1993.  In 1994 he hit .257 with 8 homers as a part-time middle infielder, which was good enough for fourth in Rookie of the Year voting.  He stayed with the Tigers in a mostly regular middle infield role until June of 1996, when Gomez was traded to San Diego.  He was immediately installed as the regular shortstop for the Padres, a position he held through 1998.  He was not particularly good, but he hit around .260 and so was considered good enough to keep the job.  In 1999, however, Gomez started dealing with injuries, and was out much of the 2000 season.  He batted poorly in 2001 and was released in late June.  Tampa Bay signed him and he bounced back, hitting .302 the rest of the way.  He went back to his typical .265 in 2002 and was released after the season.  Minnesota signed him and he played in 58 games as a utility infielder.  His line was .251/.279/.354 in 175 at-bats.  Gomez moved on to Toronto for 2004 and had a good year, for him, batting .282 as a part-time player.  He went to Baltimore in 2005 and went on to have the best years of his career.  His playing time was limited, but as an Oriole for nearly three seasons Gomez hit .302 in 520 at-bats.  Despite that, the Orioles put him on waivers, and he was selected by Cleveland in early August.  Gomez played for Pittsburgh in 2008, hitting .273, and then became a free agent again.  He signed with Baltimore again for 2009, but was released at the end of spring training and his playing career was over.  His career covered 16 seasons, which is not bad for a guy with a lifetime OPS of .685.  At last report, Chris Gomez was a coach with OC Sun Devils Baseball in Orange County, California.

Right-hander Justin Case Haley pitched in ten games for the Twins in 2017.  He was born in Sacramento, went to high school in Fair Oaks, California, attended Sierra College and Cal State-Fresno, and was drafted by Boston in the sixth round in 2012.  He reached AA in 2014, making six excellent starts.  He struggled in a full season of AA in 2015, but he pitched well in the Arizona Fall League, was dominant in AA in 2016 and was still pretty good when promoted to AAA that season.  He was left unprotected from the Rule 5 draft after the season and was chosen by the Angels.  He was immediately sold to San Diego, then traded to Minnesota for Miguel Diaz, who had been drafted by the Twins in the same Rule 5 draft.  He started the season with Minnesota and did okay in a groundskeeper role.  He developed problems with his shoulder at the end of April, went on the disabled list, was probably brought back too quickly, went back on the disabled list.  The Twins returned him to Boston in July, and he came back to make seven strong starts for Pawtucket.  In 18 innings as a Twin, he had an ERA of 6.00 and a WHIP of 1.56.  If you throw out one terrible outing on May 7, however, his ERA is 4.08 and his WHIP is 1.30, numbers which aren't bad at all.  He spent most of 2018 in AAA, appearing in four games for the Red Sox in June.  He became a free agent after the season and went to Korea for 2019, where he has been okay, but no more than that.  He turns twenty-eight today.  It's possible that Justin Haley could still have a decent major league career, but the odds are certainly against it at this point.

Right-hander Zachary D. Weiss has not pitched for the Twins, but is in their farm system in 2019.  Born and raised in Irvine, California, he attended UCLA and was drafted by Cincinnati in the sixth round in 2013.  He was a relief pitcher in college and has remained one throughout his minor league career.  He did really well in AA in 2015 but then missed all of 2016, presumably due to injury.  He came back in 2017 to again have a fine year in AA.  In 2018, he made one appearance in the majors with the Reds on April 12, and it did not go well.  He faced four batters, giving up two walks and two home runs,  He was charged with four runs and had an ERA of infinity.  That remains his career major league ERA, as he spent most of the season back in AA.  A free agent after the season, he signed with Minnesota and has done okay in four appearances with Pensacola but poorly in six games in Rochester.  His career ERA in AA is 2.45, but his career ERA in AAA is 9.14.  There's obviously a difference between AA and AAA, but it's not that huge.  He turns twenty-seven today.  Zack Weiss is going to have to prove something in AAA soon if he's going to get a chance to lower that infinite major league ERA.

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