Happy Birthday–October 5

Henry Chadwick (1824)
John Reilly (1858)
Claude Ritchey (1873)
Jim Bagby (1889)
Sam West (1904)
Si Johnson (1906)
Andy Kosco (1941)
Dan Fife (1949)
Onix Concepcion (1957)
Randy Bush (1958)
Rey Sanchez (1965)
Brandon Puffer (1975)
Zack Littell (1995)

Henry Chadwick is often considered the father of baseball.  He wrote the first rule book, created the box score, and was the first to keep track of singles, doubles, triples, and home runs.

Outfielder Andrew John Kosco played for the Twins from 1965-1967. He was born in Mom A’s original home town of Youngstown, Ohio, went to high school in Struthers, Ohio, and was signed by the Tigers as a free agent in 1959. Kosco’s early minor league record is mixed, at best. He hit .273 with 22 homers for Class B Durham in 1960, and hit .284 for Class A Knoxville in 1962. However, he hit .208 in 1963 in a year split between the Class AA teams of the Tigers and Cubs. His sixth minor-league season, in 1964, found Kosco back in Class A, in the Northern League. The Tigers gave up on him and released him in early June, but he was still only 22, so the Twins gave him a chance. He was clearly too good for the Northern League, hitting .346 with 28 homers in 1964. Promoted to AAA Denver in 1965, Kosco continued to bash the ball, hitting .327 with 27 homers before getting called up to the Twins in August. He was with Minnesota all of 1966, but received little playing time, starting only 35 games and hitting only .222. He started 1967 in Minnesota, but got only 28 at-bats before being sent back to Denver in early May. He had another good year there, but the Twins apparently gave up on him and sold him to Oakland. The Athletics left him unprotected, and Kosco was chosen by the Yankees in the rule 5 draft. He finally got regular playing time in 1968, but hit only .240 with 15 home runs. This was a low-offense era, so that’s better than it might sound, but it still was nothing to get excited about, and the Yankees traded Kosco to the Dodgers after the season. He was a mostly-regular for the Dodgers in 1969, but his numbers did not signficantly improve, and he was reduced to part-time status in 1970. He spent the rest of his career moving around. Kosco was traded to the Brewers for 1971, split 1972 between California and Boston, and went to the Reds in 1973. He actually had a pretty good season for Cincinnati, hitting .280 with nine home runs in 118 at-bats, but in 1974 he slumped to .189 and was released. He signed with Philadelphia and spent 1975 playing for AAA Toledo, but he did not play well there, and his career was over. As a Twin, Andy Kosco hit .216/.243/.295 with 3 home runs and 23 RBIs in 241 at-bats spread over three years. He studied law during the off-seasons, but after his playing days were over, Kosco went into the insurance business and had a successful career as an insurance salesman in his home town of Youngstown. He remains active in attending various baseball association alumni events.

Right-hander Danny Wayne Fife played for the Twins from 1973-1974. He was born in Harrisburg, Illinois, went to high school in Clarkston, Michigan and attended the University of Michigan. He was drafted by the Tigers in the secondary phase of the 1971 June draft. He had a fine year in Class A that season, and did well again in AA in 1972. The Tigers, however, were trying to get another division championship out of an aging team, and so traded Fife along with some cash to the Twins for Jim Perry in March of 1973. He did not pitch particularly well for AAA Tacoma, but was still promoted to the Twins in August. Control, which had not been that much of a problem in the low minors, bothered him in Tacoma, and continued to bother him in Minnesota. Fife made the Twins at the start of 1974 but did not stay long, going back to Tacoma after pitching only 4.2 innings in four games. He had an awful season in Tacoma that year, and in 1975 found himself back in AA Orlando. He appeared in only eight games there, pitching better but not all that well, and then his career was over. As a Twin, Dan Fife was pitched 56.1 innings in 14 games, seven of them starts. He was 3-2 with a 5.43 ERA. Fife became a successful high school baseball and basketball coach in Clarkston, Michigan and was the athletic director of Clarkston Community Schools until  his retirement in 2016.  He was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 2019.  His son, Dane Fife, is an assistant basketball coach at Michigan State.

Outfielder Robert Randall Bush played for the Twins from 1982-1993. He was born in Dover, Delaware, and attended the University of New Orleans. He was drafted by the Twins in the second round in 1979, and was never a member of any other organization. He did little his first couple of years in the minors, but had a breakout year in 1981, hitting .290 with 22 homers for AA Orlando. He got off to a strong start in 1982 at AAA Toledo, and was in Minnesota by the first of May. Bush was a semi-to-mostly regular outfielder and DH for the Twins from 1983-1989, getting about 300 to 400 at bats every season except 1985, when he had only 234. He would hit around .250 to .260 consistently, usually providing about 10-15 homers. Bush was reduced to more of reserve/pinch hitting role from 1990-93. He had an excellent year in that role in the world championship season of 1991, hitting .303 with six home runs in 165 at-bats. The vagaries of small sample size caught up with him the next year, as he slumped to .214. Bush got off to a poor start in 1993, was released in late June, and decided to retire. Randy Bush played in parts of 12 seasons for the Twins, appearing in 1,219 games. He batted .251/.334/.413, with 96 home runs and a career OPS+ of 102. Bush was the head baseball coach at his alma matter from 2000-2004, and is currently an assistant general manager for the Chicago Cubs, serving as interim GM before the hiring of Theo Epstein.

Right-hander Brandon Duane Puffer never reached the big leagues with the Twins, but he was drafted by them. He was born in Downey, California, went to high school in Mission Viejo, California, and was drafted by Minnesota in the twenty-seventh round in 1994. The Twins apparently didn’t think much of him; they used him in relief in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League for two years, and despite the fact that he pitched fairly well, they released him in May of 1996. He was in the Angels’ organization for two years, and reached Class A, but after a good year in 1997 he was again released. Puffer was persistent, however, and signed with the Reds. He made it to AA briefly in 1998, but was back in Class A in 1999. Despite posting an ERA under two in the Midwest League, he was released again after the season. Puffer signed with Colorado, was released in May of 2000, went to Somerset of the independent Atlantic League, and signed with Houston in July. He finally put things together in the Astros’ organization, or maybe he just got with a team that would give him a chance. He dominated the AA Texas League in 2001, and after starting well in AAA in 2002, Puffer was promoted to Houston in mid-April. It would be wonderful to report that his persistence paid off in a long and successful major-league career, but it was not to be. Puffer suffered control trouble in the majors, something that had not been that much of a problem in the minor leagues. He split 2003 between Houston and AAA New Orleans, but was released after the season. Puffer signed with San Diego for 2004, and was promoted to the Padres in mid-May, but was sold to Boston in July and spent the rest of the year in AAA Pawtucket. Released again after the season, he moved on to AAA Fresno in the Giants’ organization for 2005, making it back to the big leagues for three games. Those were his last games in the big leagues. Puffer played with the Houston, Oakland, and Texas organizations from 2006-2008, but did not made it back to the majors. Sadly, in July of 2009, Brandon Puffer was found guilty of burglary of a habitation with intent to commit a felony (sexual assault) therein. He was sentenced to five years in prison, but was paroled in 2011.  He appears to have gotten his life straightened out, working for the Round Rock Express from 2012-2014. and speaking at Fellowship of Christian Athletes camps.  He was an insurance agent for IHC Financial Group in the Austin, Texas area from 2014-2016, then returned to the Round Rock Express as pitching coach from 2016-2017.  At last report, Brandon Puffer was the co-founder and an instructor at GPS Texas Baseball in Georgetown, Texas.

Right-hander Zack Stuart Littell first came up to the Twins in 2018.  He was born in Mebane, North Carolina, went to high school in Haw River, North Carolina, and was drafted by Seattle in the eleventh round in 2013.  He was not impressive in his first few years in the minors, although it should be noted he was quite young.  He made a substantial improvement in 2016, when he went 13-6, 2.66, 1.16 WHIP in a season split between low-A and high-A.  He was traded to the Yankees before the 2017 season, then was traded again at the July deadline, this time to Minnesota for Jaime Garcia.  He went a combined 19-1, 2.69, 1.22 WHIP in a season split between high-A and AA.  He spent most of 2018 in AAA Rochester, doing decently enough although not outstanding.  He was called up to the Twins three times that season, making one start in June, one in July, and then getting a September call-up.  He went 0-2, 6.20, 1.77 WHIP, but those numbers are skewed by his bad first major league start in June.  He started 2019 back in Rochester, but made a couple of big-league appearances in May and came up to stay in mid-June.  He made a transition from starter to short reliever in the majors and made it very well.  He went 6-0, 2.68, 1.16 WHIP.  If you throw out one bad game in May, his number are off the charts:  0.83 ERA, 0.98 WHIP in 32.2 innings (28 games).  In 2020, however, he spent most of the year on the injured list, appearing in just six games.   He turns twenty-five today.  If he can get healthy again, there's no obvious reason Zack Littell can't have a solid major league career.