Happy Birthday–August 8

Jocko Milligan (1861)
Cupid Childs (1867)
Cecil Travis (1913)
Ken Raffensberger (1917)
Johnny Temple (1927)
Frank Howard (1936)
Jose Cruz (1947)
Mike Ivie (1947)
Al Woods (1953)
Ray Fontenot (1957)
Dave Meier (1959)
Ron Karkovice (1963)
Matt Whiteside (1967)
Craig Breslow (1980)
Anthony Rizzo (1989)

Outfielder Alvis Woods appeared in twenty-three games for the Twins in 1986.  Born and raised in Oakland, he attended Laney College in Oakland, went to the University of San Francisco, and was drafted by the Twins in the June Secondary Draft of 1972.  He was in the Twins' minor league system for four seasons, going up a level a year and reaching AAA in 1976.  He posted good batting averages and good OBPs in the minors, but showed little power with the exception of 1973, when he improbably hit eighteen home runs for Class A Wisconsin Rapids.  He was taken by Toronto in the expansion draft and was their regular left fielder in their inaugural season of 1977.  He did about as much as you could reasonably expect him to do, batting .284 with an OBP of .336 but a slugging average of just .382.  He batted just .241 in 1978 and spent some time back in AAA, but came back in 1979 to reclaim the starting left field job with an average of .278.  He had his best season in 1980, batting .300 with fifteen home runs and an OPS of .844.  He apparently was dealing with some sort of injury the last month of the season, though, because despite his fine season he was mostly used as a pinch-hitter or DH throughout September.  He was only twenty-six at that point, and probably people thought he had taken a big step forward.  Unfortunately, he went backward after that.  He batted just .241 in 1981, and by 1982 the Blue Jays started using people like Jesse Barfield and Lloyd Moseby, leaving Woods behind.  He was traded to Oakland after the 1982 season, but was released late in spring training and signed back with Toronto.  He spent 1983 and 1984 in AAA, where he was okay but not really anything special.  He was a free agent after the 1984 season, and somebody in the Twins organization apparently still liked him, because the Twins signed him for 1985.  He had a good year in AAA Toledo for them that year, and in 1986 got about a month and a half with the big club, playing for them for two weeks in May and then getting a September call-up.  He was used almost exclusively as a pinch-hitter and did quite well in that role, batting .321/.375/.571 with two home runs in just twenty-eight at-bats.  He was thirty-two by then, though, and the Twins were ready to get serious about trying to win, so Woods became a free agent again.  He spent 1987 in the Mexican League, then retired.  It was not a bad career:  618 major league games, nearly 2000 at-bats, batted .271/.326/.387.  He became a deputy sheriff in San Francisco after leaving baseball.  A linkedin page says that he still has that position, but given his age it seems more likely that he has retired and that the page has simply not been updated.

Left-hander Silton Ray Fontenot appeared in 15 games for the Twins in 1986.  He was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, went to high school in LaGrange, Louisiana, and was drafted by Texas in the 34th round in 1979.  He was traded to the Yankees in October of that year in a multi-player deal that included, among others Mickey Rivers, Oscar Gamble, and Gene Nelson.  He pitched quite well in the minors, especially when he was moved to the bullpen in 1983.  He made it to the majors that year and spent two years with the Yankees, pitching pretty well in relief, before being traded to the Cubs in the 1984-85 off-season in another multi-player deal which included, among others, Ron Hassey and Henry Cotto.  After a year and a half in Chicago, he was traded to Minnesota along with Julius McDougal and George Frazier for Dewayne Coleman and Ron Davis.  He appeared in fifteen games for the Twins that year, getting no wins, losses, or saves in 16.1 innings with a 9.92 ERA.  The Twins released him after the season.  He signed with the Giants before the 1987 season, but did not make it out of spring training.  Houston picked him up, but released him after he pitched poorly in AAA, and he did not appear in organized baseball again.  At last report, Ray Fontenot had moved back to Louisiana and was a business development manager for Polaris Engineering and Construction.

Outfielder David Keith Meier played for the Twins in 1984-1985.  He was born in Helena, Montana, went to high school in Fresno, California, attended Stanford, and was drafted by Minnesota in the fifth round in 1981.  He hit well at all of his minor league stops, posting an average of well over .300 every year but one.  He hit .336 in AAA Toledo in 1983 and made the Twins out of spring training in 1984.  He was with the Twins for two full seasons, but struggled to get playing time in an outfield that featured Kirby Puckett, Tom Brunansky, and Mickey Hatcher.  He batted .247/.317/.323 with the Twins in 251 at-bats.  Meier was released by the Twins after the 1985 season, and was out of baseball in 1986 before attempting a comeback with the Rangers in 1987.  He hit .320 with 18 homers at AAA Oklahoma City, but got only a September call-up and was allowed to become a free agent after the season.  He was traded to the Cubs for the 1988 season and again had a tremendous year in AAA, hitting .305 with 20 homers in AAA Iowa, but again got only a September call-up.  After that he apparently decided to call it quits, as his playing career came to an end.  At last report, Dave Meier was a sports agent with Reynolds Sports Management and was living in Fresno.

Left-hander Craig Andrew Breslow was with the Twins for part of the 2008-2009 seasons and again for part of the 2017 season.  He was born in New Haven, Connecticut, went to high school in Trumbull, Connecticut, and was drafted by Milwaukee in the twenty-sixth round in 2002.  A reliever throughout his career, he did very well in rookie ball in 2002 but struggled when promoted to Class A in 2003.  The Brewers released him in July of 2004 and he finished the year playing for independent New Jersey.  San Diego signed him in March of 2005, and after pitching very well in AA and decently in a brief stint at AAA, he reached the majors in July 0f 2005.  Breslow became a free agent after that season and signed with Boston.  He spent most of his two years with the Red Sox in AAA, although he got into thirteen games with the big club in 2006.  He was waived in March of 2008 and selected by Cleveland.  He appeared in only seven games for the Indians before being waived again, and was chosen by Minnesota.  He pitched very well for the Twins in 2008 and not so well in early 2009.  The Twins put him on waivers in May of 2009 and he was chosen by Oakland, where he pitched quite well.  He stayed there through the end of 2011, then was traded to Arizona.  He did a good job for the Diamondbacks, but was again traded at the end of July, this time to Boston, where he stayed through the 2015 season.  He pitched extremely well through 2013, but not so well after that.  He signed with Miami for 2016, was released in July, and signed with Texas, for whom he made three appearances in AAA and was released again.  Two years ago, we wrote, "He has not had a good year since 2013, and he turns 36 today...one suspects that the playing career of Craig Breslow is nearly at its end".  The Twins thought they knew better and signed him for 2017.  It turned out we were right:  he went 1-1, 5.23, 1.61 WHIP and was released in late July.  He signed with Cleveland in August of 2017 and appeared in seven games (4.1 innings).  He signed with Toronto for 2018, was released at the end of March, but was signed again in early April.  He did not pitch well in the minors for them, either at AA or AAA, and his playing career came to an end after that season.  As a Twin, he was 2-5, 3.75, 1.31 WHIP with 1 save in 84 innings (89 games).  He is currently working for the Chicago Cubs as the director of pitching and a special assistant to the general manager.

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