Happy Birthday–January 15

Johnny Nee (1890)
Ray Chapman (1891)
Steve Gromek (1920)
Georges Maranda (1932)
Dr. Mike Marshall (1943)
Bobby Grich (1949)
Rance Mulliniks (1956)
Jerry Narron (1956)
Don Cooper (1956)
Delino DeShields (1969)
Ray King (1974)
Matt Holliday (1980)
Armando Galarraga (1982)
Mitch Garver (1991)

Johnny Nee was a long-time minor league manager and scout.

Right-handed pitcher Georges Henri Maranda is the only major league player ever named "Georges". He was with Minnesota for all of 1962. Born in Levis, Quebec, Canada, he was signed by the Boston Braves as a free agent in 1951. He spent the next five years pitching in Class C leagues, spending three years in Quebec and two years in Eau Claire. He bounced back and forth between starting and relieving in those years: his best was 1954, when he went 18-6, 3.16 in 228 innings. Finally, in 1956, Maranda was promoted to AA Austin, where he spent most of the next three seasons. He posted decent numbers there, too, although nothing particularly eye-popping. Then, in 1959, he was promoted to AAA Louisville, where he went 18-6, 2.48. He was just about to turn 28, however, and was left unprotected in the Rule 5 draft. San Francisco selected him, and he was in the majors for 1960. He was used sparingly, making four starts and thirteen relief appearances, and while he was not terrible he was not particularly good, either. Back in the minors in 1961, he had another good year at AAA, but again was left unprotected, and again was chosen in the Rule 5 draft, this time by Minnesota. Maranda again made four starts, but made 28 relief appearances. He was actually fairly decent as a reliever, posting a 3.48 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP in that role. His four starts were not good, however, and his total stats as a Twin are 1-3, 4.46 with a 1.43 WHIP in 72.2 innings. After the season, Maranda was sent to Cleveland as the player to be named later in a trade that also sent Jackie Collum and cash to the Indians for Ruben Gomez. He pitched in AAA in 1963, and then his career was over. He went on to do some minor league managing in Canada. The baseball stadium in Levis is named for him, and he was inducted into the Quebec Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000. Georges Maranda passed away on July 14, 2000, in his home town of Levis, Quebec.

Right-handed reliever Michael Grant Marshall played for the Twins from 1978-1980 and was the Twins' closer for a little over two seasons. He was born in Adrian, Michigan and attended high school there. He was signed as a free agent by Philadelphia in 1960. He was drafted as a shortstop, and played four minor league seasons at that position, rising as high as AA. You really can't say he washed out at that position, because in his last season as a regular shortstop, 1964, he hit .275 as a 21-year-old in AA Chattanooga. Still, he became a pitcher in 1965, and remained one the rest of his career, with the exception of 12 games at shortstop in 1966 and an emergency appearance in the outfield in 1969. He was successful almost immediately, beginning the year as a reliever in Class A but being promoted to AA in 1965. At the start of the 1966 season, he was sold to Detroit and made his major league debut as a Tiger in 1967. He pitched extremely well, posting a 1.98 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP in 59 innings. Detroit then decided to make Marshall a starter, and sent him to AAA for 1968. He pitched extremely well again, going 15-9 with a 2.94 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP, but these were the 1968 Tigers, with Denny McLain, Mickey Lolich, Earl Wilson, and Joe Sparma in the rotation and Pat Dobson and John Hiller to make spot starts, so there simply was no room for Marshall. As a result, despite his record, Marshall was left unprotected, and was chosen by Seattle in the expansion draft. Still a starter, he got off to a strong start but then struggled, was removed from the rotation in mid-June, and was sent to the minors in early July. He was sold to Houston after the 1969 season and then traded to Montreal in June. The Expos returned him to the bullpen, made him the bullpen ace, and that's when he became a star. In three and a half years with Montreal, Marshall led the league in games finished three times, in appearances twice, and in saves once. He finished in the top four in Cy Young voting twice and in the top ten in the MVP voting twice. In 1973, Marshall appeared in 92 games and pitched 179 relief innings, incredible numbers. That off-season, he was traded to the Dodgers, and proceeded to top those incredible numbers. In 1974, Mike Marshall appeared in 106 games and pitched 208.1 relief innings, records that will probably stand for quite some time. He won the Cy Young Award that year, made the all-star team for the first time, and finished third in MVP voting. Marshall again made the all-star team in 1975, but then it appeared that the workload had caught up to him. He struggled through two mediocre seasons, was traded to Atlanta in June of 1976, sold to Texas in April of 1977, and became a free agent after the 1977 campaign. He went unsigned until May 15, 1978, when the Twins took a chance on him. He immediately became their closer, although the term "closer" is misleading in Marshall's case, as all through his career he was brought into tie games and games when his team was behind, and he was frequently brought in earlier than the ninth inning. He posted ERAs in the mid-twos in 1978 and 1979, setting an American League record in 1979 by appearing in 90 games and pitching 142.2 relief innings. Marshall finished in the top seven in Cy Young voting in both years and finished 11th in the MVP voting in 1979. Marshall got off to a poor start in 1980 and was released in June. He was out of baseball until August of 1981, when he signed with the Mets. He pitched well for them in 20 appearances and ended his career after that. As a Twin, Mike Marshall was 21-30 with 54 saves and a 2.99 ERA. He made 162 appearances and pitched 274 innings. After his playing career ended, Mike Marshall received a Ph. D in kinesiology from Michigan State. He currently coaches young pitchers in proper pitching techniques.  He also has a website, drmikemarshall.com, where you can watch free instructional videos and email him pitching questions for free.

Right-handed pitcher Donald James Cooper was with the Twins in the early 1980s. Born in New York, he attended the New York Institute of Technology, one of four major league players that school has produced. He was drafted by the Yankees in the 17th round in 1978. His early minor league record was unimpressive, but he had a big year in 1980, going 12-7 with a 1.93 ERA mostly as a reliever in a season split between AA and AAA. He was left unprotected, however, and was chosen by Minnesota in that year's Rule 5 draft. He was with the Twins all of the 1981 season, was used rather sparingly, and was, well, not totally awful, but not particularly good, either. Sent back to AAA for 1982 and converted to a starter, he was not all that good again, but still got a September call-up. After that season, the Twins traded Cooper to Toronto for Dave Baker. The Blue Jays sent Cooper to AAA and returned him to the bullpen, where he had a good year in Syracuse and got another September callup. He was traded in spring training of 1984 to the Yankees, who again sent him to AAA. He had two very good years in the Columbus bullpen, but only pitched seven games for the big club, all in 1985. Released by the Yankees after the 1985 campaign, he signed with Oakland, moved on to the Toronto organization for 1986, and to the Baltimore chain for 1987, pitching well in AAA both years but not getting a shot in the majors. After the 1987 season, Cooper gave up and called it a career, although he did play in the seniors league in 1989-1990. As a Twin, Don Cooper made 33 appearances, three of them starts. In seventy innings, he was 1-6, 5.14. After his playing career ended, Cooper went into coaching in the White Sox' organization, worked his way up through the minor league system until he became the major league pitching coach in 2002.  He has remained the White Sox pitching coach through 2020, but was let go after that season.  One assumes he'll be able to find another job in baseball if he wants one, but at age sixty-five it's possible that he'll opt to retire.

Catcher Mitchell Lyn Garver has been with the Twins since 2017.  Born and raised in Albuquerque, he attended the University of New Mexico and was drafted by the Twins in the ninth round in 2013.  He was kind of up and down in his minor league career, not doing a lot for Elizabethton in 2013, having a good year in Cedar Rapids in 2014, not doing so much for Fort Myers in 2015, but having a good year in Chattanooga in 2016 and doing even better when promoted to Rochester that season.  He did even better in Rochester in 2017, batting .291/.387/.541 and being called up to Minnesota in mid-August.  He got very little playing time that year and was slated to be the Twins' reserve catcher in 2018, but an early-season injury to Jason Castro gave Garver his chance.  He did fairly well with that chance, batting .268/.335/.414 in 302 at-bats.  He was reputed to be a poor defensive catcher, but seemed to improve as the season went on.  Castro came back in 2019, but Garver was still a semi-regular and did very well, hitting 31 home runs in just 359 plate appearances and posting an OPS of .995.  In 2020, however, he fell on his face, missing a month of the two-month season and batting poorly when he did play.  He only had 72 at-bats, so it could be a small sample size fluke.  He turns thirty today, so 2021 will go a long way to determining the course of his remaining major league career.

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