Happy Birthday–December 21

Cy Williams (1887)
Josh Gibson (1911)
Bob Rush (1925)
Howie Reed (1936)
Paul Casanova (1941)
Elliott Maddox (1947)
Dave Kingman (1948)
Joaquin Andujar (1952)
Tom Henke (1957)
Roger McDowell (1960)
Andy Van Slyke (1960)
Dustin Hermanson (1972)
LaTroy Hawkins (1972)
D’Angelo Jimenez (1977)
Freddy Sanchez (1977)
Philip Humber (1982)
Danny Duffy (1988)

Josh Gibson is generally considered to have been the greatest batter in Negro League history.

We would also like to wish a very happy birthday to hungry joe’s wife, peckish jane.

Right-hander LaTroy Hawkins was with Minnesota for the first nine years of his major league career, 1995-2003. He was born in Gary, Indiana and attended high school there. Hawkins was then drafted by the Twins in the seventh round in 1991. A starting pitcher throughout his minor league career, he did pretty well, getting brief trials with the Twins in 1995 and 1996. He began 1997 at AAA Salt Lake, and was not pitching that well, but he was 9-4, which was enough for the pitching-poor Twins to bring him up in mid-June and keep him in the starting rotation the rest of the season. He remained a rotation starter through 1999. As a starter, Hawkins was durable, and he was consistent: he posted an ERA well over five and a WHIP over 1.5 every season.  At that point, he didn't look like a good bet to still be in the majors in 2000, let alone 2014. Shifted to the bullpen in 2000, Hawkins became the Twins' closer toward the end of the season, a role he held until August, 2001. He did all right in the beginning, but less and less well as the 2001 season wore on, and eventually was placed in a set-up role. Hawkins thrived in that role, giving the Twins two solid seasons before becoming a free agent after the 2003 campaign. He became the Cubs' closer in June of 2004 and did not do that badly, but was once again a set-up man in 2005 and was traded to the Giants in late May. He moved on to Baltimore in 2006, to Colorado in 2007 (where he had a fine year as a setup man and helped the Rockies reach the World Series), to the Yankees at the start of 2008, and to Houston in late July of 2008. He stayed with the Astros for 2009, and then became a free agent. He signed with Milwaukee, but had a poor year in 2010; he was injured much of the season, and did not pitch well when he was able to pitch.  They gave him another shot in 2011 and he responded, going 3-1, 2.42, 1.24 WHIP in 48.1 innings.  A free agent again, he signed with the Angels and had another good year out of the bullpen.  Once again a free agent, he signed with the Mets for 2013 and kept on keeping on with another fine year.  Again a free agent, he moved on to Colorado for 2014 and had another fine year.  He started 2015 with the Rockies, but was traded to Toronto in late July in the Troy Tulowitzki deal.  As a Twin, he was 44-57 with a 5.05 ERA, 44 saves, and a WHIP of 1.52.  He appeared in over one thousand major league games before retiring at the end of the 2015 season.  He remains with Colorado for the start of 2015.  He was never a star, but he had a very long career, much longer than anyone would have expected early in his career.  At last report, LaTroy Hawkins and his wife owned the Fresh Healthy Cafe in Prosper, Texas.  He currently works for the Twins as a special assistant for baseball operations and is a part-time analyst for Fox Sports North.

Infielder D’Angelo Jimenez did not play for the Twins, but was in their minor league system for the second half of 2010. Born and raised in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, he was signed by the Yankees as a free agent in 1994. His early minor league numbers are decent, but not terribly impressive until you note that he was always young for his league, reaching AAA at age 20. He got noticed in 1999, though, hitting .327 with 15 homers in AAA Columbus and getting a September call-up. He was injured most of 2000, was back in AAA in 2001, and was traded in late June of that year to San Diego. He finished that season in the majors, hitting .276 in half a season as the Padres’ starting shortstop. He started 2002 in that same role, but was traded to the White Sox in mid-July. He won the White Sox’ second base job in 2003 but was again traded in mid-season, this time to Cincinnati. He started at second for the Reds for the rest of 2003 and all of 2004, hitting .270 in the latter season, He was still the Reds’ second baseman at the start of 2005, but when he hit only .229 he was sent to AAA in mid-May. That was the last time he would have a starting job in the majors. He signed with Texas for 2006, was released in mid-June, and finished the season with Oakland, spending most of the year in AAA. Released again after the season, he signed with Washington for 2007. Jimenez was in the majors most of the season as a utility infielder and did all right in that role, but was allowed to become a free agent after the season. That was his last time in the majors, at least so far. He moved on to the Cardinals’ organization for 2008, was in the Atlantic League and the Mexican League in 2009, and was playing in the Mexican League again in 2010 when the Twins signed him in late June. The Twins sent him to Rochester, where he hit .225/.300/.381 in 231 at-bats.  Back in the Mexican League again in 2011, he hit .320 in 147 at-bats.  In 2012 he played in three leagues, the Can-Am, the American Association, and the Mexican League, and hit a combined .296.   In 2013 he played in the Can-Am and the Atlantic Leagues and hit a combined .304.  He played a little winter ball after that, but then his playing career ended.  At last report, D'Angelo Jimenez was living in the Dominican Republic.

Right-hander Philip Gregory Humber's career with Minnesota consisted of 13 games over two seasons, 2008-2009. Born in Nacogdoches, Texas, he went to high school in Carthage, Texas, attended Rice University, and then was chosen by the Mets with the third pick of the 2004 draft after a stellar college career. He pitched poorly in 2005 and then was injured, requiring Tommy John surgery. He missed much of 2006 recovering from surgery, but he did well when healthy and got a September call-up to the Mets that year, throwing two scoreless innings. He had a decent but unspectacular year for AAA New Orleans in 2007, again getting a September call-up. In February of 2008, Humber was traded to the Twins with Deolis Guerra, Carlos Gomez, and Kevin Mulvey for Johan Santana. He had a mediocre year for AAA Rochester, again getting a September call-up. Humber began 2009 in Minnesota, had two good outings and two bad ones, and went back to Rochester. He did not do very well there, but was brought back in August, again having two good outings and two bad ones. As a Twin, Philip Humber had no record, a 6.10 ERA, and a 2.03 WHIP in 20.2 innings spread over 13 appearances.  Let go by the Twins after the 2009 season, Humber signed with Kansas City for 2010. He had a rather mundane season with AAA Omaha, getting back to the majors for the last two months of the season. The Royals placed him on waivers after the season, and he was selected by Oakland in December.  The Athletics waived him again a month later, and he was selected by the White Sox.  Surprisingly, at age 28 he seemed to put things together.  Not only did he get his first full season in the majors in 2011, he had a pretty good one, going 9-9, 3.75, 1.18 WHIP in 26 starts.  He was unable to repeat that success in 2012, however; despite a perfect game in April, he went 5-5, 6.44, 1.54 WHIP.  After the season he was waived by the White Sox and claimed by Houston.  The Astros were terrible in 2013 and so was he.  He started the season in the rotation and stayed there until early May, at which point he was 0-7, 8.82.  He went to the bullpen and then to the minors, coming back to Houston as a reliever in mid-August, a role in which he was still terrible but slightly less so.  A free agent after the season, he signed with Oakland for 2014 and spent the whole year in AAA, pitching fairly well in relief. He was a free agent again and pitched (not very well) in Korea in 2015.  He came back to the United States and signed with San Diego for 2016 but retired in late March. He then went back to college, going back to Rice to get a degree in sports management.  At last report, Philip Humber was living in Tyler, Texas.

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