Happy Birthday–September 19

Yank Robinson (1859)
Stuffy McInnis (1890)
Roger Angell (1920)
Epitacio Torres (1921)
Bob Murphy (1924)
Duke Snider (1926)
Bob Turley (1930)
Bill Williams (1930)
Chris Short (1937)
Joe Morgan (1943)
Joe Ferguson (1946)
Masaji Hiramatsu (1947)
Joe Maddon (1954)
Charlie Reliford (1955)
Randy Myers (1962)
Jim Abbott (1967)
Pedro Munoz (1968)
Javier Valentin (1975)
Mike Smith (1977)
Nick Johnson (1978)
Scott Baker (1981)
Danny Valencia (1984)
Gio Gonzalez (1985)
George Springer (1989)
Luke Raley (1994)

Roger Angell has written several books and essays on baseball.  He is the stepson of author and essayist E. B. White, who was the co-author of "The Elements of Style".

Outfielder Epitacio Torres was a star in the Negro Leagues and the Mexican League in the 1940s and 1950s.  He is a member of the Mexican League Hall of Fame.  Whitey Ford once described him as "the best player I've seen in my career."  He is also the father of major leaguer Hector Torres.

Bob Murphy was a baseball broadcaster from 1954-2003, spending most of that time broadcasting for the New York Mets.

Bill Williams was a National League umpire from 1963-1987.

Masaji Hiramatsu won over two hundred games in Japan, pitching for the Taiyo Whales.

Joe Maddon was interim manger of the Angels in 1996 and 1999, and managed Tampa Bay from 2006-14, and is currently the manager of the Chicago Cubs.

Charlie Reliford was a major league umpire from 1989-2009 and is currently a supervisor of umpires.

George Springer was drafted by Minnesota in the 48th round in 2008, but did not sign.

Outfielder Pedro Javier (Gonzalez) Munoz played for the Twins from 1990-1995. He was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico and was signed by the Blue Jays as a free agent in 1985. His first few years in the minors were not particularly distinguished, but he began to develop some power in 1989, hitting 19 homers for AA Knoxville. The next year, his average came around, as he hit .319 in AAA. That AAA year (1990) was split between Syracuse and Portland, as Munoz was traded to the Twins in July along with Nelson Liriano for John Candelaria. He got a September call-up that year and played quite a bit in September, batting .271 in 90 at-bats. Munoz was back in the minors at the start of 1991, but after batting .316 in Portland he came up to the Twins in early May and was in the majors to stay. By 1992, Munoz was a semi-regular in the corner outfield. He played there for the next four seasons, hitting well in every season except 1994, when he was bothered by injuries. Not a particularly good defensive outfielder, he was still occasionally used as a defensive replacement due to the fact that the other Twins corner outfielders included Randy Bush and Gene Larkin. Munoz was allowed to become a free agent after the 1995 season and signed with Oakland, but he was injured most of the season, and his career came to a close after the 1996 campaign. In just over six years for the Twins, Munoz batted .273/.315/.444 with 67 homers and 252 RBIs. No information about what Pedro Munoz has done since his playing career ended was readily available.

The brother of Jose Valentin, catcher Jose Javier (Rosario) Valentin played for the Twins from 1997-1999 and again in 2002. Born and raised in Manati, Puerto Rico, he was drafted in the third round of the 1993 draft by the Twins.  His father, also named Javier Valentin, has coached several Puerto Rican teams to the Junior League World Series. He never hit all that much in the minors with the exception of 1995, when Valentin batted .321 with 19 homers for Class A Fort Wayne. Even so, he was given a brief call-up in 1997 and had two full seasons in the majors in 1998 and 1999 backing up Terry Steinbach. Valentin was injured for much of 2000, and when healthy played at AAA Salt Lake, where he hit .357 in 140 at-bats. He remained at AAA in 2001 and 2002, hitting a total of 38 home runs for Edmonton in those years. He got four more at-bats with the Twins in 2002, but was traded twice during the off-season. First, the Twins traded him to Milwaukee with Matt Kinney for Gerry Oakes and Matt Yeatman; then, before the season started, the Brewers sent him to Tampa Bay. Valentin was only in Tampa for the 2003 season, and then moved on to Cincinnati, where he spent five years as a part-time catcher. He became a free agent after that, and signed with Washington. Let go by the Nationals, he was picked up by the Mets and played part of 2009 at AAA Buffalo, but was released on June 22, ending his playing career. Javier Valentin played in the big leagues for eight full years and parts of two others, and that’s not too bad. As a Twin, Valentin hit .230/.288/.350 with 8 homers and 46 RBIs in 391 at-bats. His nephew, Jesmuel Valentin, is an infielder in the Philadelphia organization, reaching AAA in 2016.  Javier Valentin became a minor league coach for the Twins in 2015 and was the batting coach for Rochester in 2019, but was not retained in that position for 2020.  At last report, he was living in Puerto Rico.

Right-hander Michael Anthony Smith pitched three innings for the Twins in 2006. He was born in Norwood, Massachusetts, went to high school in Needham, Massachusetts, and was drafted by the Blue Jays in the fifth round of the 2000 draft out of the University of Richmond. He moved through the minors quickly, pitching well at every stop, and made his big-league debut with Toronto in April of 2002. Things did not go well, and after 14 games (6 starts) he was returned to AAA Syracuse. He had a good year there in 2002, but struggled for a couple of years after that. Released by the Blue Jays in spring training of 2005, he signed with the Phillies, but continued to struggle at AA Reading, and was released again after the season. He signed a minor-league contract with the Twins and pitched well enough in Rochester that he was asked to make one start with the big club. He lasted three innings, giving up four runs on five hits and three walks, and was back in Rochester again. The Twins released Smith after the season. He was in the Cardinals organization in 2007 and signed with the Cubs for 2008, but was released before the season started. Smith pitched in both independent leagues in 2008-2009, and also pitched in Taiwan in 2009. He pitched for the Broxton Rox of the Can-Am league in 2010, leading the league in wins and ERA and making the all-star team.  He had another fine season for the Rox in 2011 while also acting as the team’s pitching coach.  In 2012, he signed with Grosseto in the Italian Baseball League as a player/coach, making fourteen starts for them.  His playing career ended after that season.  At last report, Mike Smith was the Northeast Finance Manager for GDI Integrated Facility Services and was living in the Boston area.

Right-hander Timothy Scott Baker was with the Twins from 2005-2012. Born and raised in Shreveport, Louisiana, he was drafted by the Twins out of Oklahoma State in the second round in 2003. He was promoted rapidly through the Twins organization, and pitched very well at every stop with the exception of a short stint at AAA Rochester in 2004. He redeemed himself there in 2005, however, and made his big-league debut with the Twins in May of 2005 after only about 250 minor-league innings. He did well in 53 major league innings that year, but went backward in 2006, with an ERA over 6 in 16 starts. He pitched very well again in Rochester, however, and after 6 more minor-league starts in 2007 he returned to the majors to stay. Baker was solid in 2007 and pitched fairly well for the rest of his tenure with the Twins, despite a tendency to give up the long ball. His best season was 2008, when he went 11-4, 3.45 with a WHIP of 1.19. That season, Scott Baker became the first Twins’ pitcher to strike out four batters in an inning. He battled injuries in 2010 and 2011 and missed all of 2012 with an elbow injury.  A free agent after the season, he signed with the Cubs.  He missed most of the 2013 season as well, coming back to the Cubs in September.  A free agent again, he signed with Seattle, was released, was signed by Texas, was released again, but signed back with Texas a couple of days later.  He started the season in the bullpen but was recently placed in the starting rotation.  It didn't gone well for him.  He signed with the Yankees for 2015, we released in late March, and signed with the Dodgers.  He made two starts for them early in the season, one of which was fairly good and one of which wasn't.  He did pitch pretty well in AAA, but his playing career came to an end after the 2015 season.  He was a very effective pitcher when healthy, but unfortunately he couldn't stay healthy.  At last report, Scott Baker was working with Baseball Chapel in Minneapolis.

Corner infielder/outfielder Daniel Paul Valencia played for the Twins from 2010-2012. He was born in Miami and was drafted by Minnesota in the nineteenth round in 2006. He hit very well in the minors, averaging nearly .300 with double digit home runs. His best minor league season was 2008, when he hit .311 with 15 homers in a season split between Ft. Myers and New Britain. He struck out a lot early in his minor league career, but seems to have made progress in that area in recent years. He was hitting .292 in Rochester in 2010 when he was brought up due to injuries to infielders at the major league level. He became the regular third baseman in mid-July and held the job the rest of the season, hitting .311. No one expected him to do that his whole career, and he sure didn’t.  In 2011 he slumped to .246, and he was hitting .190  in May of 2012 when he was sent to the minors.  He came back up briefly at the end of July, but was traded in early August to Boston for Jeremias Pineda.  He played in a few games with the Red Sox in 2012, but was mostly in the minors.  He was sold to Baltimore after the 2012 season.  Splitting the season between AAA and the majors, he actually did very well for the Orioles, hitting .304 with eight home runs.  In the off-season, however, he was traded to Kansas City.  He was a part-time player for the Royals until late July, when he was traded to Toronto for ex-Twin Liam Hendriks and Erik Kratz.  He stayed with the Blue Jays until early August of 2015, when he was claimed off waivers by Oakland.  He stayed with the Athletics in 2016 and was an almost-regular utility player, seeing time at first, third, and the outfield.  He was a solid player for them, posting an OPS of nearly .800.  He was traded to Seattle after the 2016 season and became their regular first baseman.  His numbers were decent, but not really good enough for a first baseman.  A free agent, he signed with Baltimore for 2018 but was released him in mid-August.  He did not sign anywhere, and instead has been playing for Team Israel.  He played for them in the European Baseball Championships, in the Africa/Europe 2020 Olympic Qualification Tournament, and in the 2020 Olympics played in 2021.  He turns thirty-six today.  At last report, Danny Valencia was living in South Florida.

Outfielder Lucas Raley did not play for the Twins, but was in their farm system in 2018 and 2019.  He was born in Hinckley, Ohio, attended Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio (one of two big leaguers the school has produced (Ryan Rua)), and was drafted by the Dodgers in the seventh round in 2016.  He hit well in the low minors and was still hitting well in AA in 2018 when he was traded to Minnesota with Logan Forsythe and Devin Smeltzer at the July deadline for Brian Dozier.  He continued to hit well in AA and had an excellent season in AAA in 2019, although he missed time due to injury.  In February of 2020 he was traded back to the Dodgers with Brusdar Graterol for Kenta Maeda, Jair Camargo, and cash.  He did not play in 2020, but started 2021 as a starting outfielder for the Dodgers.  That did not last long, though, as he didn't hit, fell to bench status, and then was sent back to AAA.  He has had a fine season there.  He turns twenty-seven today.  He's hit everywhere but the majors--his AAA numbers are .301/.388/.565 in 375 at-bats.  His major league numbers are .169/.246/.237 in 59 at-bats.  Given his AAA numbers, fifty-nine at-bats are certainly not enough to determine that he can't hit major league pitching.  But if he's going to get the chance, it's going to have to happen pretty soon.

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