Happy Birthday–January 23

Ben Shibe (1838)
Red Donahue (1873)
Bobby Burke (1907)
Randy Gumpert (1918)
Chico Carrasquel (1926)
Frank Sullivan (1930)
Joe Amalfitano (1934)
Don Nottebart (1936)
Paul Ratliff (1944)
Kurt Bevacqua (1947)
Charlie Spikes (1951)
Alan Embree (1970)
Mark Wohlers (1970)
Erubiel Durazo (1974)
Brandon Duckworth (1976)
Juan Rincon (1979)
Jeff Samardzija (1985)

Ben Shibe was the owner of the Philadelphia Athletics from 1901 until his death in 1922.  Shibe Park was named in his honor.

Right-hander Franklin Leal Sullivan came to Minnesota in 1962 and stayed the next year.  He was at the end of a pretty fair career.  A tall man (6'7"), he was born in Hollywood and attended high school in Burbank, California.  Sullivan then signed with Boston as a free agent in 1948.  He was up and down in his early minor-league career:  a strong 1949 campaign in Class C San Jose was sandwiched by poor years in 1948 and 1950.  He then lost two years to the Korean War (where he was awarded a combat infantry badge), returning in 1953.  He had a big year for Class A Albany in 1953, mostly in the bullpen, and made his big league debut at the end of July for the Red Sox.  The next year, Sullivan moved into the Boston rotation and stayed there for several years.  His best year was probably 1955, when he led the league with 18 victories and 260 innings pitched, made his first all-star team, and received minor consideration for Most Valuable Player.  Sullivan also made the all-star team in 1956, and had another strong season in 1957, when he posted the lowest ERA of his career, 2.73, the lowest WHIP of his career, 1.06, and led the league in fewest walks per nine innings at 1.8.  He slumped in 1960, losing 16 games and posting an ERA of 5.10, was traded to Philadelphia after the season.  He got off to a decent start with the Phillies, but then declined, and was released in July of 1962.  The Twins picked him up the same day and he pitched fairly well out of the bullpen the rest of the season, pitching 33.1 innings with an ERA of 3.24.  In 1963, however, Sullivan got off to a poor start and was released in June, ending his playing career.  As a Twin, Frank Sullivan was 4-2, 3.86 in 44.1 innings.  For his career, however, he won 97 games with a 3.60 ERA, pitched 73 complete games, and had 15 shutouts.  For good measure, he also had 18 saves.  After his playing career ended, Sullivan got more serious about golf, eventually becoming a golf pro in Hawaii, where he was still living at last report.  Frank Sullivan was elected to the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2008.  In September of that year, he published a book, "Life Is More Than Nine Innings," in which he told stories about his playing career.  He passed away on January 19, 2016.

Catcher Paul Hawthorne Ratliff played in parts of three seasons for Minnesota, playing for them in 1963 and again from 1970-1971.  He was born in San Diego, went to high school in Pasadena, and signed with the Twins as a free agent in 1962.  Ratliff never hit much in the minors, but made his debut for the Twins in 1963 at age 19, presumably due to injuries to other catchers.  He was with Minnesota for a little over a month, predictably did not hit, and was sent back to the minors.  It would be seven years before he came back to the big leagues.  In 1969, he had a pretty good year as a 25-year-old in AA Charlotte, hitting .302 with 11 homers.  That got him a spot as a reserve catcher for the Twins in 1970, backing up George Mitterwald.  In 149 at-bats, he had easily the best year of his major league career, hitting .268 with five homers.  He started 1971 as the Twins' backup catcher again, but was seldom used, hitting .159 in only 44 at-bats when he was traded to Milwaukee in early July for Phil Roof.  He finished the season with the Brewers and started 1972 there, but continued not hitting and was traded to California in July.  Ratliff finished the season with the Angels' AAA team, and then ended his playing career.  There are more people in this world named "Paul Ratliff" than one might think; no further information about our Paul Ratliff was readily available.

First baseman/designated hitter Erubiel (Cardenas) Durazo did not play for Minnesota, but he was in their organization for about three weeks in 2006.  Born in Hermosillo, Mexico, he attended high school in Monterey.  He spent some time in the Mexican League, and then became a member of the Arizona organization in 1999.  He tore up the minors, hitting over .400 in 344 at-bats split between AA and AAA.  Durazo came up to the Diamondbacks in late July and became their regular first baseman almost immediately, hitting .329 the rest of the season.  He never hit that well again for Arizona, but consistently hit in the .260s as a platoon first baseman from 2000-2002, sharing time first with Greg Colbrunn and then with Mark Grace.  After the 2002 season, Durazo was traded to Oakland as part of a four-team deal.  The Athletics made him a regular, and while he was fairly good in 2003, he had his best year in 2004.  He hit .321 with 22 homers and an OPS of .919, getting minor consideration for Most Valuable Player.  Unfortunately, it was the last good year he would have.  Durazo got off to a poor start in 2005, was injured in late May, missed the rest of the season, and has not played in the majors since.  He became a free agent after the season and started bouncing around, signing with Texas in February of 2006, getting released near the end of spring training, re-signing with Texas just after the season started, getting released again in mid-May, signing with the Yankees, and getting released again in early July.  He signed with Minnesota on July 14 and was sent to Rochester.  He played in 17 games for the Red Wings, batting .264 with a homer and 12 walks in 65 plate appearances.  What the Twins were expecting is unclear, but they apparently weren't impressed, because they released him on August 5.  He signed with Oakland in the offseason, but was released at the end of spring training of 2007.  He signed with the Yankees in July, but was released after the season.  He spent a few season playing in Mexico and then his playing career ended.  At last report, Erubiel Durazo was living in Chandler, Arizona and was a special advisor for the Arizona Diamondbacks to help with the team's outreach to Mexico.

Right-handed reliever Juan Manuel Rincon pitched for the Twins for most of the past decade.  He was born in Maracaibo, Venezuela, attended high school there, and signed as a free agent with Minnesota in 1996.  Rincon was a starter for almost all of his minor league career.  He did well in the minors, but advanced slowly, perhaps due to his young age.  Rincon did not reach AA until 2000.  He had a good year in New Britain in 2001 and was brought up to Minnesota briefly, pitching in four games in June.  He was having a poor year in 2002 in AAA Edmonton when he was brought up to the Twins in late June.  Used sparingly, Rincon did not pitch very well in Minnesota that year either.  In 2003, however, Rincon made the team out of spring training and pitched substantially better.  It was the first of four consecutive years in which he was a valuable member of the Twins' bullpen.  Over that period, he was 25-19, 2.93 with a WHIP of 1.22.  It should be noted that he was suspended for ten days in 2005 for using performance enhancing drugs.  He stumbled badly in 2007, and was pitching no better in 2008 when Minnesota released him in June.  He signed with Cleveland for the rest of the season, but continued to struggle.  He signed with Detroit for 2009, was released in May, and finished the season with Colorado, spending time in the minors in both 2008 and 2009.  He was in the minors for most of 2010 and pitched poorly, although he still made two appearances in the majors.  He signed with the Dodgers in 2011, was released, and spent the summer pitching for Bridgeport in the Atlantic League.  He signed with the Angels for 2012 and did fairly well in 26 innings in AAA, but was released on June 1 and went back to Bridgeport for the rest of the season.  He was again in the Atlantic League in 2013-14 and pitched pretty well there, but apparently retired after that season.  As a Twin, Juan Rincon was 30-26, 3.29 with an ERA+ of 121 in 386 games and 441 innings.  At last report, he was a consultant with PriveJets, a company which serves the travel needs of professional athletes.

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