Happy Birthday–November 30

Due to personal time constraints, this is a reprint from last year, which in turn was a reprint from the year before, and has not been updated.

Mordecai Davidson (1845)
Frank Killen (1870)
Josh Billings (1891)
Firpo Marberry (1898)
Clyde Sukeforth (1901)
Steve Hamilton (1935)
Craig Swan (1950)
Juan Berenguer (1954)
Dave Engle (1956)
Steve Shields (1958)
Bob Tewksbury (1960)
Bo Jackson (1962)
Gary Wayne (1962)
Mark Lewis (1969)
Ray Durham (1971)
Matt Lawton (1971)
Shane Victorino (1980)
Rich Harden (1981)
Luis Valbuena (1985)

Mordecai Davidson was the owner of the Louisville Colonels in the late 1880s.  Under financial pressure, he tried to save money in a variety of ways, including fining players each time the team lost.  As a result, he is credited with inspiring the first baseball players' strike.  Nobody ever seems to name their kid "Mordecai" any more.

Right-handed reliever Juan Bautista Berenguer pitched four solid years for Minnesota, from 1987-1990, and is still remembered fondly by Twins fans. Born in Aguadulce, Panama, Berenguer was signed by the Mets as a free agent in 1975. He was a starting pitcher throughout his minor league career. He pitched well there, striking out more than a batter per inning, although his walk totals were uncomfortably high. He pitched briefly with the Mets in 1978-1980, with varying success, but totalling only 53 innings. The Mets traded him to Kansas City at the end of March, 1981. This was Berenguer's first full season in the big leagues, but it was not all with they Royals; they sold him to Toronto in early August. He did not have a good year, going 2-13 with a 5.26 ERA, and was released the following March. Detroit signed him, and sent him to AAA, where he had a mediocre season. He made the team in 1983, however, and pitched well for them for two years, mostly as a starter. In 1985, however, he slipped, and was traded to San Francisco after the season. He pitched very well out of the bullpen for the Giants in 1986, posting a 2.70 ERA in 73.1 innings. It didn't impress the Giants, though; they released him, and he was signed by Minnesota. Given his previous ups and downs, Berenguer was remarkably consistent in his four years with the Twins, posting ERAs in the mid-to-upper threes and WHIP of around 1.3 to 1.4. As a Twin, he was 33-13 with nine saves, an ERA of 3.70, an ERA+ of 115, and a WHIP of 1.36 over 211 appearances. At the end of the 1990 season, Berenguer became a free agent, signing with Atlanta. He was a Brave for a season and a half. He pitched well in 1991, but broke his pitching arm while wrestling with his children and missed the Braves' playoff run. He pitched poorly in 1992, was traded to Kansas City in July, and was released after the season. He played for independent teams in Minnesota from 1994-1997 before hanging up the spikes for good. At last report, Juan Berenguer was working for a Ford dealership and for a Spanish-language television station in Minnesota.

Catcher/outfielder Dave Engle's father, Roy, was a high school teammate of Ted Williams. Ralph David Engle is the brother-in-law of Tom Brunansky. Born and raised in San Diego, he went to U.S.C. and was drafted by California in the third round in 1978. A third baseman at the start of his minor league career, Engle was only in the Angels organization for one year. In February of 1979, he was traded to Minnesota with Paul Hartzell, Brad Havens, and Ken Landreaux for Rod Carew. He batted over .300 in two of his three minor league seasons, reaching the Twins in 1981. He was fifth in Rookie of the Year balloting that season, despite hitting only .258. An outfielder his first couple of years with the Twins, he was converted to catching in 1983 because a scar in his eye, the result of a childhood accident, made it difficult for him to see fly balls in the Metrodome. His bat responded to the move, as he had what was easily his best season, batting .305. The next year, however, he dropped to .266 (although he made the all-star team that year), and he never came close to batting .300 again. He also developed a problem throwing the ball back to the pitcher, limiting his ability to catch. Engle remained with the Twins until January of 1986, when he was traded to Detroit for Chris Pittaro and Alejandro Sanchez. The Tigers used him mostly at first base, but seldom used him at all; he had only 86 at-bats when he was released in August. He was with Montreal for a couple of years and Milwaukee for one, not seeing much playing time with either team. He went into coaching in 1990, although he still played a little in the minors through 1991. He remained active as a minor league manager and coach at least through 2000 and was the Mets hitting coach from at least 2001-2002.  At last report, Dave Engle was a scout for the Baltimore Orioles.

Right-hander Stephen Mack Shields came to Minnesota in 1989, at the end of his major league career. Born and raised in Gadsden, Alabama, he was drafted by Boston in the tenth round in 1977. His minor league record is a rather mixed bag, as was his usage, as he was sometimes a starter, sometimes a reliever. He did not get to AAA until his seventh minor league season, in 1983. He was a free agent after that season and signed with the Braves. He was in their organization for three seasons, reaching the majors for the first time in 1985 and spending parts of that and the next season with Atlanta. 1985 was the only year he was used as a spot starter; the rest of his career was in the bullpen. He was traded to Kansas City at the end of 1986, and was traded again that off-season to Seattle. Shields again split the year between the majors and AAA in 1987, became a free agent, and signed with the Yankees for 1988. He came the closest he would come to a full season in the majors that year, coming to New York May 1 and staying there the rest of the year. He pitched 82 innings that year, the most he had in a major league season. The Yankees traded him to Minnesota in March of 1989 for Balvino Galvez. Shields spent about a month with the Twins that season, from mid-May to mid-June. He made eleven appearances, pitching 17.1 innings and posting a 7.79 ERA. He was with AAA Portland the rest of the season, did not do particularly well there either, and was released after the season ended, bringing his playing career to a close. At last report, Steve Shields had returned to Gadsden and was the Environmental Services Supervisor for the city.

Right-hander Robert Alan Tewksbury was with the Twins from 1997-1998, at the end of a fairly substantial career. Born in Concord, New Hampshire, he attended Merrimack Valley High School in Penacook, New Hampshire. He went to both Rutgers and Saint Leo University and was drafted by the Yankees in the 19th round in 1981. He pitched very well throughout his minor league career, making his major league debut with the Yankees in April of 1986. He pitched well for them in 20 starts that year, but got off to a poor start in 1987 and was traded to the Cubs as part of a package for Steve Trout. Tewksbury was apparently injured much of 1988, as he made only 11 appearances, ten of them in the minor leagues. He pitched well in those appearances, but became a free agent at the end of the year. Tewksbury signed with the Cardinals and pitched well again in AAA in 1989, posting a 2.43 ERA in 28 starts. That convinced the Cardinals, and Tewksbury was in their starting rotation for the next five years. Control had never been a problem for him, but he became an extreme control pitcher in those years, twice leading the league in fewest walks per nine innings with 0.8 and twice leading the league in strikeout/walk ratio despite striking out fewer than 100 batters. He made the all-star team in 1992, when he won 16 games, led the league in winning percentage, and finished third in Cy Young voting. He had a poor year in 1994, however, and was allowed to become a free agent. He did not sign until early April, when he joined the Texas Rangers. He was fairly average for the Rangers, and was fairly average the next year with San Diego. Tewksbury was again a free agent after the 1996 season, and signed with Minnesota. He was a Twin for two years, and was fairly average for them, too. In two seasons for bad Twins teams, Bob Tewksbury was 15-26 with a 4.49 ERA and an ERA+ of 104. The Twins would likely have brought him back in 1999 had he chosen to continue his career, but he had shoulder problems and elected retirement instead.  He then went back to school and got a masters' degree in psychology at Boston University. At last report, Bob Tewksbury was doing commentary on Red Sox games and was working for the Red Sox as a sports psychologist. He also does a lot of charitable work, primarily with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. He was inducted into the Saint Leo Sports Hall of Fame in 1999.

Left-hander Gary Anthony Wayne was with the Twins from 1989-1992. A native of Dearborn, Michigan, Wayne attended the University of Michigan and then was drafted by Montreal in the fourth round. He was a starter early in his minor league career and struggled in that role. Switched to relief in 1986, he had consecutive strong years, first in Class A, then in AA. He suffered a broken foot in 1988, making only eight appearances, and was left unprotected in the Rule 5 draft. Minnesota selected him, and he was with the Twins at least part of the next four seasons, spending all of 1989 in Minnesota and splitting 1990-1992 between the Twins and AAA. For the most part, he did a solid job for the Twins. In 147 appearances, he posted an ERA of 3.44, an ERA+ of 120, and a WHIP of 1.31. In March of 1993, the Twins traded Wayne along with Rob Wassenaar to Colorado for Brett Merriman. His career went downhill after that; he had a poor year for the Rockies in 1993, became a free agent, signed with the Dodgers, was sent to the minors in early June of 1994, and never made it back to the majors. Gary Wayne's career ended after the 1994 season. At last report, Gary Wayne was the managing director of Integrity Debt Solutions in Denver and was also a licensed investment advisor for Infinity Wealth Management.

Outfielder Matthew Lawton played for the Twins from 1995-2001. He is variously listed as Matthew Lawton Jr. and Matthew Lawton III. Lawton was born in Gulfport, Mississippi, attended Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, and was drafted by the Twins in the 13th round in 1991. He had some solid, though unspectacular, years in the minor leagues, advancing a level per season. He made a brief appearance with the Twins in September of 1995, was a part-time player in 1996, and won a starting spot in the Twins' outfield in 1997. In 1998, he hit .278 with 21 homers, and the Twins promoted him as a rising superstar. Possibly trying to live up to that, Lawton hit only .259 with 7 homers in 1999. The next year, 2000, was Lawton's best as a Twin--he topped .300 for the only time in his career and made his first all-star appearance. He was having another solid season in 2001 when the Twins traded him to the Mets at the end of July for Rick Reed. Lawton finished out the year with the Mets, then was traded to Cleveland, where he stayed for three seasons. He was a part-time player his first two years, partly due to injuries, and hit for more power (15 homers each season) but a lower average. A regular again in 2004, he responded with a fine season, hitting .277 with 20 homers and making his second all-star appearance. The Indians traded Lawton to Pittsburgh after the season, and he began bouncing around. He was traded to the Cubs at the end of July of 2005 and moved to the Yankees at the end of August. A free agent after the season, he was suspended for ten games in November for using steroids, a charge which he admitted. Lawton signed with Seattle for 2006, but was seldom used and was released at the end of May, bringing his playing career to a close. As a Twin, Lawton hit .277/.379/.428 with 72 homers and an OPS+ of 107. At last report, Matt Lawton had returned to his his hometown of Gulfport.  In April of 2013, he was arrested in what apparently was some sort of domestic dispute, although details are hard to come by.  It appears, though, that either the charges were dropped or it was never that serious to begin with, because in 2015 he coached his son's 11-12-year-old team to the Southwest Regional in Cal Ripken Baseball.

Right-hander James Richard Harden did not pitch for the Twins, but went to spring training with them in 2013 and was on their disabled list for a while.  Born and raised in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, he attended Central Arizona College and was drafted by Oakland in the seventeenth round in 2000.  A starter his entire career, he reached AA in 2002 and AAA in 2003.  He got to the majors in late July of 2003 and was there to stay with the exception of rehab starts, of which he had at least one every year.  He was not the most durable of pitchers, but he was always effective when healthy.  His best year for Oakland was 2005, when he went 10-5, 2.53 with a 1.06 WHIP in 128 innings.  He then made only thirteen starts over the next two seasons.  He came back in 2008 and was doing very well when he was traded to the Cubs in mid-season.  2008 was the best year of his career; he went a combined 10-2, 2.07, 1.06 WHIP in 25 starts.  He only pitched 148 innings, but he struck out 181 men in those innings.  He was still decent in 2009, but slid to 9-9, 4.09, 1.34 WHIP.  It was all downhill for Harden after that.  A free agent, he signed with Texas for 2010 but had a poor year.  A free agent again, he went back to Oakland for 2011 but could not get much done for them, either.  He missed all of 2012 while recovering from shoulder surgery, but signed with Minnesota for 2013.  Unfortunately, it did not go well for him.  He did not throw a pitch in either the majors or the minors and was released around the first of August, ending his playing career.  No information about what Rich Harden is currently up to was readily available.

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