Happy Birthday–November 18

Deacon McGuire (1863)
Jack Coombs (1882)
Les Mann (1892)
Gene Mauch (1925)
Roy Sievers (1926)
Danny McDevitt (1932)
Cal Koonce (1940)
Jim Shellenback (1943)
Steve Henderson (1952)
Luis Pujols (1955)
Mike Felder (1961)
Jamie Moyer (1962)
Dante Bichette (1963)
Ron Coomer (1966)
Tom Gordon (1967)
Gary Sheffield (1968)
Shawn Camp (1975)
David Ortiz (1975)
Steve Bechler (1979)
C. J. Wilson (1980)

Roy Sievers was a star for the franchise when it was in Washington in the 1950s.

There are seventy-six current and former major league players born on this day. I'm pretty sure that's the most on any day.

Gene William Mauch managed the Twins from 1976-1980. He became much more famous as a manager than he had ever been as a player. Born in Salina, Kansas, he attended Fremont High School in Los Angeles and was signed as a free agent by Brooklyn in 1943. An infielder, he had a very good year for Class B Durham in 1943, and started 1944 with the Dodgers. After five games, Mauch went briefly to AA Montreal, and then went into the military. Upon his return in 1946, he was sent to AAA St. Paul. Mauch was traded to Pittsburgh in 1947. He began that year in AAA as well, but after hitting .300 there in 58 games, he was promoted to the Pirates. He stayed in the big leagues through 1950, spending time with Brooklyn, the Cubs, and the Boston Braves. Mauch was apparently injured for some of 1951, as he played only 19 games for Boston and 37 games at AAA. Most of the rest of his career was spent in the minors, with the exception of 1957, when he played in 65 games for the Red Sox. Mauch posted a lifetime batting line of .239/.333/.312, with an OPS+ of 75. His playing career ended with two years as the player-manager of AAA Minneapolis in 1958-59. He became a major league manager in 1960, when he was hired to manage the Philadelphia Phillies. He remained their manager through 1968, most famously in 1964, when his team lost a 6 1/2 game lead with 12 games to play. He became manager of the expansion Montreal Expos in 1969, holding that job through 1975. Mauch became the manager of the Twins in 1976, replacing Frank Quilici. With the Twins, Mauch did his best to make a lot out of a little, twice keeping the Twins in contention for much of the season despite limited talent. By 1980, however, the loss through free agency of pretty much every good player on the team became too much for him, and he resigned in August. Mauch moved on to twice manage the California Angels, from 1981-82 and from 1985-87. In 1982 and 1986 Mauch had the Angels within one game of the World Series, but never was able to win that one game. As a manager, Mauch was known for emphasizing fundamentals and small ball and using the entire roster. He was criticized for not getting to the World Series, but many times he got his team closer to it than it had any right to be.  As Bill James once said, Mauch's problem was that he took over too many challenges and not enough ball clubs. Gene Mauch passed away from lung cancer on August 8, 2005.

Left-hander Daniel Eugene McDevitt appeared in sixteen games for the Twins in 1961, near the end of his major league career. Born in New York, he attended St. Bonaventure University and was signed by the Yankees as a free agent in 1951. He spent two years in the low minors, posting a 2.35 ERA for Class C Greenwood in 1952, and then missed two years due to service in the United States Army. Upon his return in 1955, he struggled for a couple of years, but put things together in 1957, posting a 2.30 ERA in 94 innings of AAA before being promoted to Brooklyn, where he went 7-4 with a 3.25 ERA the rest of the way. McDevitt was the starting pitcher for the last Dodgers home game in Brooklyn, winning 2-0. He started 1958 with the Dodgers, now moved to Los Angeles, but struggled early and was sent back to AAA. He came back to the majors in 1959, and this time stayed there for three years. He had a couple of decent seasons for the Dodgers as a sometime starter, sometime reliever. After the 1960 season, McDevitt was sold to the Yankees, and after he got off to a poor start in New York, he was traded to Minnesota in mid-June of 1961 for Billy Gardner. He did not suffer from overwork, pitching only 26 innings in 16 appearances the rest of the way. He did well for the Twins when given the chance, posting a 2.36 ERA. Control trouble, however, was a problem throughout his career, and it showed up in Minnesota as well, as McDevitt walked 19 batters.  Arm injuries contributed to his problems as well. He was sold to Kansas City the following off-season. He made 33 appearances for the Athletics in 1962, was in AAA in 1963, and then his playing career ended.  He did not immediately leave baseball, however, embarking on a career as a minor league umpire.  Danny McDevitt passed away in Covington, Georgia on November 20, 2010, two days after his 78th birthday.

Left-hander James Philip Shellenback appeared for the Twins in five games in 1977, at the end of his playing career. He was born in Riverside, California, attended Ramona High School in Riverside, and was signed by the Yankees as a free agent in 1962. After his first minor-league season, Shellenback was drafted by Pittsburgh in the 1962 first-year draft. He pitched very well in the Pirates' minor-league system, but someone must have decided he couldn't pitch in the bigs: in almost four full seasons of AAA, from 1965-1968, Shellenback posted an ERA of 3.08, but he got only 8 games and 26 innings in the big leagues in that period. In May of 1969, he was traded to Washington, and finally was given a shot in the majors. He spent four years with Washington/Texas from 1969-1972 as a swing man, and did a decent job, consistently posting ERAs in the mid-threes. In 1974, however, he found himself back in AAA, which is where he remained for most of the rest of his career. After the 1975 season, he was sold to San Diego, but never got a shot at the big leagues there. The Padres released him in before the 1977 season, and he was out of baseball until Minnesota signed him in August. He started at AA Orlando, but got a September call-up with the Twins. He pitched only 5.2 innings, giving up five earned runs for a 7.94 ERA. The Twins released him after the season, and his playing career was over. He appears to be another player who might have been better had he been given more of a chance. After he quit playing, Jim Shellenback then went into coaching, and was for several years the pitching coach for the Elizabethton Twins until his retirement after the 2011 season.  At last report, he was enjoying retirement in Parker, Arizona.

Corner infielder Ronald Bryan Coomer played for the Twins from 1995-2000. Born in Crest Hill, Illinois, he attended high school in Lockport Township, Illinois. He attended Taft College in Taft, California, and was drafted by Oakland in the 14th round in 1987. He was in Class A for three years, hitting over .300 in two of them, but struggled when promoted to AA in 1990, and was released by Oakland in August of that year. He was signed by the White Sox and had a couple of nondescript seasons in their minor league system, but came alive in 1993, hitting .319 in a season split between AA and AAA. Coomer was traded to the Dodgers after that season. He hit .338 at AAA Albuquerque in 1994, and was hitting .322 there in 1995 when he was finally called up to the big leagues. It wasn't with the Dodgers, however; on July 31, he was traded to the Twins, along with Greg Hansell, Jose Parra, and Chris Latham, for Mark Guthrie and Kevin Tapani. A third baseman throughout his minor league career, Coomer played first base and outfield his first couple of years with the Twins, was the regular third baseman in 1997-98, and played mostly first base in 1999-2000. He hit in the .290s with double-digit homers in 1996 and 1997 before dropping to the .270s for the remainder of his time with the Twins. He did not draw very many walks--his career high was 36 in 2000. As a Twin, Ron Coomer posted a line of .278/.315/.431 with one all-star appearance, in 1999. He became a free agent after the 2000 season, and began bouncing around: he was with the Cubs in 2001, the Yankees in 2002, and the Dodgers in 2003. His playing time diminished, as did his effectiveness, and after 2003, he called it a career. He then went into broadcasting.  He was an analyst for Fox Sports North for several seasons before becoming a radio broadcaster for the Chicago Cubs in 2014.

Designated hitter/first baseman David Americo (Arias) Ortiz was born in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, went to high school in Haina, Dominican Republic, and was originally known as David Arias. Ironically, he would go on to become a player to be named later. He was signed by Seattle as a free agent in 1992. He hit .332 in rookie ball in 1995, and followed it up by hitting .322 with 18 home runs in the Midwest League in 1996. In September, he came to Minnesota as the PTBNL in a trade that sent Dave Hollins to Seattle. He had a big year in 1997, split between A and AA, and made his big-league debut as a September call-up that season. He made the Twins out of spring training in 1998, and got off to a good start, but got hurt in early May, missing two months. He did not do as well upon his return, but for the season he hit .277 with an .817 OPS as a 22-year-old, and appeared ready to move forward. Instead, he went backward. After a poor spring training in 1999, Ortiz was sent to AAA and stayed there the whole season despite hitting .315 with 30 homers and despite the fact that Doug Mientkiewicz was posting a .229 average as the Twins' first baseman. Back in Minnesota in 2000, he stayed there through 2002. Ortiz was better with the Twins than some would have us believe: he hit .266/.348/.461 with a 107 OPS+. Still, the Twins soured on him and gave him his release after the 2002 season. Teams were not falling all over themselves to sign him, either; he was unemployed for over a month before signing with Boston on January 22, 2003. Given regular playing time in Boston, he exploded: from 2003-2007, Ortiz averaged 42 homers and 128 RBIs, finishing in the top five in MVP voting each year. He had a couple of down (though still productive) years from 2008-2009, but bounced back in 2010 and remained a good batter for the rest of his career.  In fact, his final season, 2016, at age forty, was one of his best, as he batted .315 with 38 homers and led the league in doubles, slugging percentage, and OPS.  He has done some broadcasting for Fox Sports since 2017.  He'll have to overcome some anti-DH sentiment and also some steroid rumors (although no solid evidence of his use has ever been found), but David Ortiz may very well end up in the Hall of Fame.

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