Happy Birthday–October 14

Joe Start (1842)
Paul Radford (1861)
Ivy Olson (1885)
Oscar Charleston (1896)
Harry Brecheen (1914)
Ken Heintzelman (1915)
Tom Cheney (1934)
Tommy Harper (1940)
Frank Duffy (1946)
Al Oliver (1946)
Ed Figueroa (1948)
Kiko Garcia (1953)
Willie Aikens (1954)
Jesus Vega (1955)
Joe Girardi (1964)
Midre Cummings (1971)
Ryan Church (1978)
Boof Bonser (1981)
Carlos Marmol (1982)
Willians Astudillo (1991)

Outfielder Oscar Charleston is considered by some to have been the greatest player in Negro League history.

First baseman Jesus Anthony (Morales) Vega played for the Twins in 1979 and 1980 and again in 1982. He was born in Bayamon, Puerto Rico and signed with the Brewers as a free agent in 1975. Vega hit over .300 for three consecutive years in Class A, adding 23 homers in 1977 for Burlington. The Brewers were so impressed that they left him unprotected, and the Twins selected him in the off-season minor-league draft. Vega continued to hit well, first in AA, and then in AAA. He got a September call-up with the Twins in 1979 and spent about two weeks with them in May 1980. He had his first off-year in the minors in 1981, a year he split between the Twins AAA Toledo team and Tidewater in the Mets' organization. Vega was back with the Twins in 1982, and spent the whole year with them, his only full season in the big leagues. Used primarily as a part-time DH, his numbers were rather mundane, and he was back in the minors the next year. Vega hit only .258 at AAA in 1983, and the Twins let him go after the season. He went to AAA Albuquerque in the Dodgers' organization in 1984, but hit only .177 and was done. His only time in the big leagues was with the Twins: he hit .246/.275/.335 in 236 at-bats. No information about Jesus Vega's current life was readily available.

Outfielder Midre Almeric Cummings played for the Twins from 1999-2000. He was born in St. Croix, Virgin Islands, went to high school in Miami, and was drafted by the Twins in the first round in 1990. He hit over .300 in rookie ball in 1990, and did it again in Class A in 1991. The Twins were coming off a World Series, however, and were trying to win now, so they traded him to Pittsburgh with Denny Neagle during 1992 spring training for John Smiley. While his average dropped a little as he went up the minor-league ladder, he continued to hit well, and actually hit for a little power, providing 29 home runs over the 1992 and 1993 seasons. He reached AAA in 1993 at age 21, but spent three and a half years there, getting brief trials in the majors each season but failing to impress. Cummings made the Pirates out of spring training in 1997, but hit only .189 in a part-time role. Placed on waivers at mid-season, he was picked up by Philadelphia. The move paid off for the Phillies, as Cummings hit .303 in 208 at-bats with them. The Phils were underwhelmed, however, and released him in February 1998. The Reds signed him, but put him on waivers three weeks later. Cummings then went to the Red Sox, where he had his best year in the big leagues, batting .283 with an OBP of .381 in 120 at-bats. The Red Sox released him at the end of spring training of 1999, and he signed with the Twins in May. He hit well in the minors, getting a September call-up, and was with the Twins in 2000. He again played well in a reserve role, but the Twins were nowhere near first place, so he was traded to Boston at the end of August for Hector De Los Santos. Cummings was released at the end of the season, and would never spend significant time in the majors again. He hung in there, though, playing five more years in AAA for Arizona, Milwaukee, the Cubs, Tampa Bay, and Baltimore. He made brief appearances in the majors in 2001 for the Diamondbacks, 2004 for the Devil Rays, and 2005 for the Orioles before his American career ended. He played in a few games in Taiwan in 2006, but decided to retire instead. Midre Cummings appeared in 93 games for the Twins, getting 219 at-bats and batting .273/.325/.388. There is a park named after him in St. Croix. He is currently living in Tarpon Springs, Florida, a suburb of Tampa, and is the head coach of Hit and Run Baseball, which has AAU traveling teams. His U12 team won the 2008 AAU state championship.

Right-hander Boof Bonser pitched for the Twins from 2006-2008. He was born in St. Petersburg, Florida. He attended Gibbs High School there, played in the 2000 Florida high school all-star game, and was drafted by San Francisco in the first round in 2000. Born John Paul Bonser, he had his name legally changed to Boof in 2001. He pitched well in Class A in 2001 and 2002. He was not quite as good in AA in 2003, though not terrible. In the 2003-2004 off-season, he was traded along with Francisco Liriano and Joe Nathan for A. J. Pierzynski, a trade that worked out fairly well for the Twins. He had two fairly decent years in the Twins system, one in AA and one in AAA. In 2006, Bonser got off to a very good start for AAA Rochester, and was promoted to the Twins in May. He was in the Twins starting rotation for the rest of that year and all of the next one. He got off to a poor start in 2008, however, and after twelve starts was moved to the bullpen, where he spent the rest of the season. Bonser was injured early in 2009 spring training, tearing his labrum and his rotator cuff, and spent the entire year on the disabled list. When he came back, he was no longer with the Twins, getting traded in December of 2009 for a player to be named later (Chris Province). As a Twin, Boof Bonser appeared in 96 games, 60 of them starts. He was 18-25 with a 5.12 ERA, a 1.45 WHIP, and an ERA+ of 84. He pitched poorly in Pawtucket in nine games in 2010, made two appearances for the Red Sox, and was released in late June. Oakland signed him a few days later, and after sending him to Sacramento for a month brought him up in early August. He made thirteen appearances, but did not do especially well.  He signed with the Mets for 2011, but made only one appearance in AAA.  He signed with San Francisco for 2012 and made eleven appearances, seven of them starts, for AAA Fresno.  He stayed with Fresno in 2013, making fifteen starts, but did not do well and was released in late June.  He signed with Cleveland a couple of days later but made only three appearances for AAA Columbus before being released again.   He then signed with a team in Taiwan, where he finished the 2013 season.  He started 2014 in Taiwan as well, but then came back to the United States and made twelve appearances for Bridgeport in the Atlantic League.  He did very well there, but retired after the season.  At last report, Boof Bonser was a pipefitter for General Dynamics Electric Boats in the Norwich, Connecticut area.

Catcher/infielder/outfielder Willians Jose Astudillo made his Twins debut in 2018.  He was born in Barcelona, Venezuela and began his professional career with the Phillies entry in the Venezuelan Summer League at age seventeen in 2009.  He batted .312 there in 2010, but was still made to repeat the league in 2011.  He batted .361 and was finally promoted in 2012, but still only to the Gulf Coast League.  He batted .318 there.  He missed all of 2013, but came back in 2014 to bat .333 in the Sally League.  That got him to high-A for 2015, where he batted .314.  He was a minor league free agent at that point and signed with Atlanta.  They put him in AA and he did not do as well, batting .267 with an OPS of just .626.  He signed with Arizona for 2017 and bounced back to bat .342 with an OPS of .928 in AAA.  The Twins signed him for 2018, brought him to the majors for two weeks in July, then brought him up again in late August.  He went on a tear, batting .355/.371/.516 in 93 at-bats.  He made the Twins out of spring training in 2019 and got off to a really good start, but then faded, was injured, went to AAA, and came back as a September call-up.  He appeared in only eight games for the Twins in 2020.  His big league numbers so far are .294/.319/.428 in 317 plate appearances.  As you know, his calling cards are putting the ball in play--his highest walk total in a season has been nineteen, but his highest strikeout total has been twenty--and being willing to play any position.  He turns twenty-nine today.  He doesn't really look like a ballplayer, which is probably one of the reasons he was held down for so long.  His versatility is a plus, and his popularity (both with players and with fans) is another.  It will help him if MLB continues with expanded rosters--he'd be useful as a third catcher/utility player.  If not, well, we probably still haven't seen the last of him, but it will probably take injuries for him to get a significant amount of playing time.

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