Happy Birthday–September 27

Whit Wyatt (1907)
Dick Hall (1930)
Dave Wickersham (1935)
Gary Sutherland (1944)
Mike Schmidt (1949)
Bob Veselic (1955)
Don Schulze (1962)
Todd Blyleven (1972)
Vicente Padilla (1977)
Jon Rauch (1978)
Jon Garland (1979)
Matt Shoemaker (1986)

Todd Blyleven is, as you probably know, the son of Bert Blyleven. He pitched in the minor leagues for seven years, getting as high as AA, then was a scout for eight years.

Right-hander Robert Mitchell Veselic played for the Twins in 1980 and 1981. He was born in Pittsburgh, attended high school in Walnut, California, and was drafted by the Twins in 1976 with the ninth pick in the draft. A starting pitcher for his entire minor-league career, he came through the minors a level at a time, posting ERAs in the low-to-mid threes for Class A Visalia (1978), Class AA Orlando (1979), and Class AAA Toledo (1980). He won 18 games with Visalia. Twice he pitched over 200 innings in a minor-league season, and two other times he pitched over 170 innings. For comparison, the International League leader in innings pitched in 2010 had 165. Veselic earned September callups in both 1980 and 1981, and did fairly well. In six appearances, all in relief, he pitched 26.2 innings and went 1-1 with an ERA of 3.38, although with a WHIP of 1.43. He averaged over four innings per relief appearance, which says something both about him and about the Twins’ pitching staff at the time. Veselic had a poor year in Toledo in 1982, and was traded to Houston in January of 1983 for Rick Lysander. He again had a poor year for AAA Tucson, and his playing career came to an end after the 1983 season, although he did play in the Senior Professional Baseball Association in 1990. Sadly, Bob Veselic passed away from cancer on December 26, 1995 at the age of 40.

Right-hander Donald Arthur Schulze did not play for the Twins, but went to spring training with them in 1988. Born and raised in Roselle, Illinois, he was drafted by the Cubs with the eleventh pick of the 1980 draft. He had two solid years in class A, then skipped AA and went to AAA in 1983. He did not pitch all that well there, but still got a September call-up and made three starts for the Cubs that season. He was back in AAA in 1984, making one start for the Cubs in late May, when he was traded to Cleveland in mid-June in a multi-player deal that included, among others, Joe Carter, Mel Hall, future Twin George Frazier, and Rick Sutcliffe. He went back and forth between Cleveland and AAA Maine through 1986, although he spent nearly all of 1986 in Cleveland. He began 1987 back in AAA, then was traded to the Mets in mid-May. He went 11-1 in 15 starts at AAA Tidewater and also spent about three weeks in the majors. He became a free agent after the season and signed with Minnesota for 1988, but was traded to Detroit in late March for Karl Best. Schulze had a very good year in AAA for the Tigers, but did not get a call-up and signed with the Yankees after the season. He made two starts for the Yankees in 1989, then was traded to San Diego that included ex-Twin Freddie Toliver, future Twin Mike Pagliarulo, and Walt Terrell. He was with the Padres for two months but was seldom used, logging only 24.1 innings. San Diego released him after the season and he headed to Japan, where he pitched through 1992. He returned to the U. S. in 1993 and pitched in AAA for the Orioles, but had a mediocre year and his playing career came to an end. He was out of baseball for a while, but returned in 2006 as a coach. He has coached in the minors for Oakland since then, and is currently the pitching coach of the Lansing Lugnuts.

Right-handed reliever Jon Erich Rauch is tall and has a tattoo on his neck. Rauch played for the Twins from late August of 2009 through 2010. He was born in Louisville, Kentucky, went to high school in Oldham County, Kentucky, attended Morehead State University, and was drafted by the White Sox in the third round in 1999. A starting pitcher in the minors, he had a strong year in Class A and AA in 2000. Rauch was injured for much of 2001, making only six starts for AAA Charlotte. He made the White Sox at the start of 2002, but was returned to the minors after making only eight appearances, six of them starts. Rauch had a couple of decent but unspectacular years in Charlotte in 2002-03. He made two starts for the White Sox in 2004 before being traded to Montreal in July. He became a relief pitcher for the Expos/Nationals, and had some fine seasons with them, appearing in over 80 games in 2006 and again in 2007. He was having another good year with the Nationals in 2008 when he was traded to Arizona in July. He pitched poorly for the Diamondbacks in 2008, but was doing better in 2009 when the Twins acquired him on August 28 for Kevin Mulvey. He pitched well for them the rest of the season, and when Joe Nathan was injured Rauch became the Twins’ closer at the start of 2010. He did well in the beginning, but hit a rough patch in July and was replaced as closer by Matt Capps. He returned to a set-up role and overall did well in 2010.  As a Twin, he was 8-2, 21 saves, 2.82 ERA, 1.28 WHIP in 76 appearances (73.1 innings).  He was a free agent after the 2010 season and signed with Toronto, where he did not do as well in a 2011 season marred by injury.  A free agent again after that season, he signed with the Mets, for whom he pitched very well in 2012.  A free agent after the season, he signed with Miami for 2013 but pitched poorly in fifteen games and was released in late May.  He signed with Baltimore on June 1 and made ten appearances with AAA Norfolk.  He did all right there, but was still released at the end of June.  He signed with Kansas City for 2014 but was released again in late March, bringing his playing career to an end.  Rauch is the tallest man to appear in a major league game, and is also the tallest man to hit a home run, off Roger Clemens on August 13, 2004.  At last report, Jon Rauch was the owner of Bullpen Garage, a custom off-road shop specializing in Jeeps and Ford Raptors, in the Tucson area.

Right-hander David Matthew Shoemaker was with the Twins for about four months in 2021.  He was born in Wyandotte, Michigan, went to high school in Trenton, Michigan, attended Eastern Michigan University, and was signed by the Angels as a free agent in 2008.  He did well in the lower minors but struggled in AAA for a few years, which may have had something to do with the fact that the Angels' AAA team was in Salt Lake City at the time.  The Angels saw something in him, despite his poor AAA numbers.  They brought him up for a late-season start in 2013, started him in the majors in 2014, and after about a month back in AAA brought him to the majors to stay in mid-May.  He had a tremendous season when he came back, going 16-4, 3.04.  He was never able to match that, but he was an average major league pitcher from 2015-2017.  He started having injury problems in 2017, however, and made only eighteen major league starts combined from 2018-2020.  After the 2018 season he was a free agent and signed with Toronto, for whom he pitched in 2019-2020.  He wasn't bad when he could pitch, he just couldn't pitch very often.  He signed with Minnesota for 2021 and, to be honest, was awful.  There were a few good starts mixed in, but his final line was 3-8, 8.06.  The Twins released him in early August.  He signed with the Giants and has been pitching, not particularly well, in AAA.  He turns thirty-five today.  He'll probably get at least a spring training invitation with someone for 2022 if he wants one.  It appears, though, that between injuries and ineffectiveness, Matt Shoemaker is nearing the end of the line, if he's not there already.

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