Happy Birthday–December 1

Ed Reulbach (1882)
Willie Mitchell (1889)
Walter Alston (1911)
Calvin Griffith (1911)
Cookie Lavagetto (1912)
Marty Marion (1917)
Cal McLish (1925)
George Foster (1948)
Dan Schatzeder (1954)
Greg Harris (1963)
Larry Walker (1966)
Reggie Sanders (1967)
Kirk Rueter (1970)

As everyone reading this knows, Calvin Griffith was the long-time owner of the Minnesota Twins.  He had served in a variety of positions for the Washington Senators, including batboy, minor league player-manager, and working in the front office.  His managing career lasted from 1937-1941.  He also played for Class B Charlotte from 1939-1941.  No records of his playing career are available from 1939-1940, but in 1941 he got a hit in his only at-bat.

We would also like to wish a happy birthday to SBG’s father, Butch.

Harry Arthur "Cookie" Lavagetto was the first manager of the Minnesota Twins in 1961. He was born in Oakland, and attended Oakland Technical School. His first professional season was 1933, when he hit .312 in the Pacific Coast League at age 20. An infielder, Lavagetto got to the big leagues in 1934, playing three seasons in Pittsburgh. He was used as a part-time player, primarily at second base, getting about 200-300 at bats per year. After the 1936 season, he was traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers, which is where he became a star. He was the Dodgers' starting second baseman in 1937, then started at third for four years. His numbers as a Dodger are good, but not all that impressive: he hit .300 once, his highest home run total was 10, and he never stole more than 15 bases. Still, he made the all-star team every year from 1938-1941, and twice received MVP votes. Lavagetto lost four years to World War II, as he enlisted in the Navy. When he came back as a thirty-three-year-old in 1946, he was reduced to part-time status. Released by the Dodgers in May of 1948, he went back home to Oakland, playing three more years in the Pacific Coast League. He then went into coaching, spending three years with Brooklyn (1951-1953) and one with Oakland (1954) before joining Washington in 1955. He became manager in 1957 and came to Minnesota with the club in 1961. He was let go after 59 games that season with a record of 23-36. He became a coach for the original Mets and was thought to be the logical choice to succeed Casey Stengel as Mets manager, but a false diagnosis of lung cancer led him to take a coaching job with the Giants in 1964 so he could be closer to home. He retired in 1967 and assisted his wife in her therapy equipment business. Lavagetto is best remembered today for a pinch-hit double he hit with two out in the ninth inning of game four of the 1947 World Series, a hit which broke up a no-hit bid by Bill Bevens and won the game for the Dodgers. Cookie Lavagetto passed away from a heart attack on August 10, 1990 in Orinda, California.

Left-hander Daniel Ernest Schatzeder was with the Twins in 1987-1988. His time as a Twin was brief, but he managed to get a World Series ring in the process. A left-hander, Schatzeder was born in Elmhurst, Illinois, and attended the University of Denver. He was drafted by Montreal in the third round in 1976. He pitched well in two minor league seasons, reaching the majors in September of 1977 and coming to stay in May of 1978. He put in a couple of solid years for the Expos as a swing man, but then was traded to Detroit in December of 1979. After one decent and one poor year for the Tigers, Schatzeder was traded again in December of 1981 to San Francisco. He started poorly in 1982, and was sold to Montreal. His stints with the Expos were the best years of Schatzeder's career. He shifted more to the bullpen from 1982-1986, although he still made 36 starts over that span. He was still pitching well for Montreal in July of 1986 when he was traded to Philadelphia. He was with the Phillies for nearly a year, and in June of 1987 he was traded to Minnesota for Tom Schwarz and Danny Clay. Schatzeder did not pitch well for the Twins, but did throw 4.1 scoreless innings in the League Championship Series. Released by the Twins after the season, he was signed by Cleveland, but when the Indians released him in June the Twins took him back again for the rest of the 1988 season. The second time around, he was used mostly in the starting rotation at AAA Portland, coming back to Minnesota for ten relief appearances in September. Schatzeder was a free agent after the season: as a Twin, he had an ERA of 5.50 in 54 innings spread over 40 appearances. After leaving the Twins, he went to Houston, the Mets, and Kansas City; his last big-league appearance was as a Royal in 1991. Released by Kansas City in late May of 1991, he signed with the Mets and played at AAA for a couple of weeks, but then his career was over. Dan Schatzeder was a physical education teacher at Waubonsie Valley High School in Aurora, Illinois until his retirement in 2015.

The Greg Harris we are dealing with is Gregory Wade Harris, not Greg Allen Harris, the ambidextrous pitcher whose career covered roughly the same years. Born in Greensboro, North Carolina, Greg W. Harris attended Elon University and was drafted by San Diego in the tenth round in 1985. A starter throughout his minor league career, he advanced a level each season. His numbers at AA and AAA were not all that impressive, but he got a September callup in 1988 and was in the Padres bullpen in 1989 and 1990. He did a fine job for San Diego in those years as a setup man, and pitched well for them in 1991 as well when he made twenty starts. Harris remained an unspectacular but solid starter for the Padres through July of 1993, when he was traded to Colorado. He may have moved north and east, but his career went straight south. In a year and a half with the Rockies, Harris was four and twenty, which may work for blackbirds in a pie but not for major league pitchers. His ERA in that time was 6.60. Released by the Rockies, Harris signed with Minnesota in April of 1995. He was with the Twins for a little over a month, making seven appearances, six of them starts. It did not go well: he was 0-5 with an 8.82 ERA. Harris was sent to AAA and then was released in August. The Padres gave him a last shot in 1996, but he pitched poorly at Class A and his career was over. His career ERA for the Padres, 2.95, is second on the Padres' career list to Trevor Hoffman. Arm problems were at least partly responsible for his rapid decline; he sued his surgeon over botched operations on his pitching arm and shoulder, receiving a judgment of six million dollars. He also was the victim of some investment scams, for which he received a judgment of ten million dollars. At last report, Greg Harris was living in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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