Happy Birthday–July 31

Joe Sugden (1870)
Laughing Larry Doyle (1886)
Art Nehf (1892)
Allen Russell (1893)
Elmer Riddle (1914)
Curt Gowdy (1919)
Hank Bauer (1922)
John Vukovich (1947)
Dave Dombrowski (1956)
Leon Durham (1957)
Mike Bielecki (1959)
Scott Bankhead (1963)
Ted Barrett (1965)
Gabe Kapler (1975)
Rene Rivera (1983)

Hall of Fame broadcaster Curt Gowdy was the voice of the NBC Game of the Week from 1965-1975.

Dave Dombrowski was the general manager of the Montreal Expos/Florida Marlins and of the Detroit Tigers and is currently the president of baseball operations for the Boston Red Sox.

Ted Barrett has been a major league umpire since 1994.

Catcher Rene Rivera appeared in forty-five games for the Twins in 2011.  Born and raised in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, he was drafted by Seattle in the second round in 2001.  He spent the next seven years in the Mariners organization not doing much on offense, but still got three stints in the majors.  One assumes he was considered an excellent defensive catcher.  His best year in the minors appears to have been 2003, when he hit .275 with nine home runs for Class A Wisconsin.  He had a decent partial season at AA San Antonio in 2005 as well.  He actually hit .396 for Seattle that season, but it was only in 48 at-bats.  The next year, given 99 at-bats in the majors, he hit .152.  He became a minor league free agent after the 2007 season and started bouncing around.  He was in the Dodgers’ organization in 2008, in the Yankees’ system in 2009, and in the Mets’ chain in 2010.  The Twins signed him for 2011.  Rivera split the season between Rochester and Minnesota.  His half-season in Rochester was actually one of his better ones, as he hit .268 with an OPS of .775.  It did not translate to the majors, however, as he hit .144/.211/.202 for the Twins in 104 at-bats.  He stayed in the Twins’ organization through 2012, serving as a part-time catcher for Rochester, then signed with the Padres for 2013.  He actually was having a pretty good year in AAA Tucson when he was called up to the Padres as a reserve catcher in early July.  He stayed the rest of the year and had what by his standards was a good year, batting .254 (with an OPS of .596).  He made the Padres in 2014, got his first full season in the majors at age 30, and did better than anyone had a right to expect, hitting .252 with an OPS of .751.  After the season he was traded to Tampa Bay in a three-team multi-player trade that also included Washington.  He was the Rays backup catcher in 2015 and did nothing offensively, but played a substantial amount anyway.  The Rays released him at the end of March in 2016 and he signed with the Mets a few days later.  He started out in AAA but came up to the majors in late April and was the Mets backup catcher until August of 2017, when he was claimed on waivers by the Cubs.  He actually hit quite well for them in limited play down the stretch, but was a free agent again after the season and signed with the Angels for 2018.  He was waived in late August and finished out the season with Atlanta.  He signed with San Francisco for 2019, was released in spring training, and signed with the Mets, for whom he played a little over a month last year. He is once again the Mets' reserve catcher in 2020.  His major league numbers, at this writing, are .221/.272/.353 in 1423 at-bats. He turns thirty-seven today, and there’s no real reason to think he belongs in a major league uniform.  On the other hand, there never really has been, yet he's played in all or part of twelve major league seasons.  He's just one of these guys who hangs around as a backup catcher forever.