Happy Birthday–December 5

Billy Shindle (1860)
Patsy Tebeau (1864)
Frank Bowerman (1868)
Pink Hawley (1872)
Gus Mancuso (1905)
Bobby Mattick (1915)
Chico Ruiz (1938)
Yoshiharu Wakana (1953)
Gary Roenicke (1954)
Luis Casanova (1956)
Alan Cockrell (1962)
Cliff Floyd (1972)
Hanley Frias (1973)
Justin Smoak (1986)
Christian Yelich (1991)

Yoshiharu Wakana was a six-time all-star in Japan, playing from 1974-1991.

Luis Casanova was a star slugger in Cuba, playing from 1978-1994.

We also want to wish a Happy Birthday to CarterHayes’ mother.

Outfielder Atlee Alan Cockrell did not play for the Twins, but was in their farm system from 1988-1990. He was born in Kansas City, went to high school in Joplin, Missouri, attended the University of Tennessee (where he was the football team’s starting quarterback in 1982 and 1983), and was drafted by San Francisco with the ninth pick of the 1984 draft. He hit in the .250s with homers in the low teens each season from 1985-1987, years spent in AA and AAA. He improved in 1988, hitting .293 with 10 homers in a year spent mostly with AAA Phoenix. In mid-August of that 1988 season, Cockrell was traded to Minnesota for Karl Best. He finished 1988 in Portland, then was there for all of 1989, hitting .268/.351/.393. He began 1990 in Portland as well, but was traded in mid-April to Cleveland for minor league pitcher Charlie Scott. He had an outstanding season in AAA for the Indians, hitting .330 with 17 homers. For his trouble, he not only did not get a call to the majors, he was placed on waivers the following March. Seattle chose him, and he got another year in AAA. A free agent after the 1991 season, he signed back with Cleveland and had a couple of disappointing years in AAA for them. He moved on to Colorado in 1994 and played in Colorado Springs for three years, hitting .300 or better with double-digit home runs each season. He got a September call-up in 1996, playing in nine games and going 2-for-8 with a double. That was his swan song, as his playing career ended after the 1998 season. He then became a coach and manager in the Rockies’ organization, serving as the major league team’s batting coach in 2002 and 2007. He moved on to the Seattle organization as the Mariners’ batting coach in 2009, but was fired in early May of 2010.  He then joined the Arizona Diamondbacks, for whom he was the batting coordinator from 2011-2012.  He was with the Yankees after that, serving as minor league batting coordinator from 2013-2014, as assistant batting coach in 2015, and as the batting coach for the Yankees in 2016-2017.  He is currently an assistant baseball coach for Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina.  He is a member of the Joplin Area Sports Hall of Fame and the Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame.

Infielder Hanley (Acevedo) Frias did not play for the Twins, but he was in their farm system for half of 2001. Born and raised in Villa Altagracia, Dominican Republic, he signed with Texas as a free agent in 1990. He rose through the minor leagues slowly, due in part to his youth. He had two-plus years in Class A and nearly two years in AA. He never hit for power, but began posting decent averages in 1995. He made his AAA debut in 1997 and his major league debut the same year, getting a September call-up after hitting .264 in Tucson. He was left unprotected in the expansion draft and was chosen by Arizona with the fifty-first pick. He got two months in the majors in 1998 and was in the majors almost all of 1999. He had a good season as a reserve, hitting .270 in 150 at-bats. He got his only full season in the majors in 2000 but did not hit this time, batting just .205 in 112 at-bats. In late March of 2001, the Diamondbacks traded Frias to Minnesota for Chad Moeller. He was in AAA Edmonton for three months, hitting .183/.237/.225 in 142 at-bats. The Twins then traded him to St. Louis for Larry Sutton. He finished 2001 in AAA for St. Louis, was in AAA for Arizona and Baltimore in 2002, then his playing career came to an end. At last report, Hanley Frias had returned to the Dominican Republic.