Happy Birthday–February 10

Horace Wilson (1845)
Jim Keenan (1858)
Curt Welch (1862)
Billy Evans (1884)
Herb Pennock (1894)
Bill Adair (1913)
Allie Reynolds (1917)
George Sobek (1920)
Randy Jackson (1926)
Billy O'Dell (1933)
Dick Bogard (1937)
Jim Barr (1948)
Larry McWilliams (1954)
Lenny Dykstra (1963)
Lenny Webster (1965)
Jayhawk Owens (1969)
Alberto Castillo (1970)
Bobby Jones (1970)
Kevin Sefcik (1971)
Lance Berkman (1976)
Cesar Izturis (1980)
Alex Gordon (1984)
Duke Welker (1986)
Jeanmar Gomez (1988)
Liam Hendriks (1989)
Max Kepler (1993)

Horace Wilson was an American professor English at Tokyo University.  He is credited with introducing baseball to Japan in either 1872 or 1873.

Billy Evans was the youngest umpire in major league history, starting his career at age 22.  He was an American League umpire from 1906-1027.  He would later become general manager of the Cleveland Indians and the Detroit Tigers, and was president of the Southern Association from 1942-1946.

Bill Adair was a long-time minor league player (1935-1956) and manager (1949-1973).  He also was the scout credited with signing Andre Dawson and Tim Raines.

George Sobek was a long-time scout for the White Sox, credited with signing Denny McLain, Steve Trout, and Mike Squires.  He also played in the NBA and was a long-time college basketball referee.

Another long-time scout, Dick Bogard played in the minors for six years, managed for three, and was a scout for nearly thirty years, mostly for Houston and Oakland.  He is credited with signing Walt Weiss, Jason Giambi, and Ben Grieve.

Jim Barr was drafted six different times before finally signing.  Minnesota drafted him in the sixth round of the January Secondary draft in 1970, but he did not sign.

Catcher Leonard Irell Webster played for the Twins in 1989-1993 and had a longer career than you may realize.  He was born in New Orleans, went to high school in Lutcher, Louisiana, and then attended Grambling State University.  The Twins drafted him in the 21st round in 1985.  Webster really didn't do a whole lot in the minors--his best year was probably 1988, when he hit .288 with 11 homers in his second full year at Class A Kenosha.  He got September callups every year from 1989 through 1991, also spending a couple of weeks in June with the Twins in 1991.  He had two full seasons with Minnesota, 1992 and 1993, as the backup catcher to Brian Harper.  He had a little over 100 at-bats each season and showed the vagaries of small sample size, hitting .280 in 1992 and .198 in 1993.  Montreal acquired him from the Twins in March of 1994 in what is described as a "conditional deal."  Webster then spent a few years bouncing around:  he was the backup catcher for the Expos in 1994, the backup for Philadelphia in 1995, back to being the backup in Montreal in 1996, and then on to Baltimore for 1997.  He stayed a little while in Baltimore, reaching part-time status and getting over 300 at-bats for the only time in his career in 1998.  He was released at mid-season in 1999, however, finished out the season in Boston, and went back to Montreal for the 2000 season.  He ended his playing career after that.  As a Twin, Lenny Webster hit .254/.324/.370 in 284 at-bats.  At last report, he was a youth baseball coach with Perfect Game Baseball, located in Snellville, Georgia.

Catcher Claude Jayhawk Owens did not play for Minnesota, but was drafted by them.  He was born in Cincinnati and went to high school there.  He then attended Middle Tennessee State before being drafted by the Twins in the second round in 1990.  He put up fairly pedestrian numbers in three years in their minor league system, which led to Owens being left unprotected in the expansion draft.  Colorado took him, and after he hit .310 in 174 at-bats in Colorado Springs in 1993 they brought him to the big leagues.  He played sparingly, however, hit .209 in only 86 at-bats, and spent most of 1994 and 1995 back in Colorado Springs.  He continued to be pretty average, but in 1996 he was called up to the majors in late April and spent the rest of the season with the Rockies as the right-handed part of a platoon with Jeff Reed.  He again failed to hit and never got back to the majors again.  Owens was in Colorado Springs all of 1997, came back to the Twins' organization for the start of 1998, hit .205 in AAA Salt Lake, finished the season in the Cincinnati organization, stayed in the Reds' chain for 1999, and then his career came to an end.  After that, he was a minor league manager and coach, mostly in the Cincinnati organization, a career that came to an end in 2007.  He was inducted into the Middle Tennessee Blue Raider Hall of Fame in 2012.  At last report, Jayhawk Owens was living in the Denver area and was a project manager for Baker Concrete, one of the largest sub-contractors of concrete in the nation.

Right-hander Matthew Scott "Duke" Welker did not play for the Twins, but was part of their organization for about six weeks in 2013.  He was born in Kirkland, Washington, went to high school in Woodinville, Washington, attended Seminole State College in Seminole, Oklahoma and the University of Arkansas, and was drafted by Pittsburgh in the second round in 2007.  He pitched well in seven starts in rookie ball in 2007, then struggled in the Sally League in for three years.  The Pirates never gave up on him, though, moving him to the bullpen in 2010, and in 2011 he had a fine year for Class A Bradenton, although he did so at age twenty-five.  He followed that up with a good 2012 split between AA and AAA.  He had a good season in AAA in 2013 and made his major league debut that season, making two appearances for Pittsburgh in late June and retiring all four batters he faced.  In early October of 2013, he was sent to Minnesota as the player to be named later in the deal that also sent Alex Presley to Minnesota for Justin Morneau.  In mid-November of that year, however, he was traded back to Pittsburgh for Kris Johnson.  He was in AAA in 2014, but pitched poorly and was eventually found to need Tommy John surgery, which he had in June.  The Pirates released him in July and it appeared that his playing career had come to an end, but he signed with the Giants and spent the summer of 2016 with AAA Sacramento.  He had an ERA of 3.86 in 31 games, but he gave up 49 hits in 35 innings and had a WHIP of 1.86.  That really was the end of his playing career.  At last report, Duke Welker was a sales representative for A1A Inc., representing DuPuy Orthopedics, and was based in Bellingham, Washington.

Right-hander Liam Johnson Hendriks was with the Twins from 2011-2013.  He was born in Perth, Australia and signed with Minnesota as a free agent in 2007.  He pitched well in the GCL in 2007, missed all of 2008, but came back to pitch well in 2009 and ever since.  His best year as a minor league was 2010, when he went a combined 8-4, 1.74, 0.84 WHIP with 105 strikeouts in 108.2 innings for Beloit and Ft. Myers at age 21.  He began 2011 in New Britain and pitched very well, earning a promotion to Rochester.  His ERA in nine starts there was an unimpressive 4.56, but his WHIP was 1.12.  He made four starts in Minnesota in 2011 and did not look ready, but did not totally embarrass himself, either,  going 0-2, 6.17, 1.50 WHIP with 16 strikeouts in 23.1 innings.  He spent about half of 2012 in Rochester, despite the fact that he had nothing to learn there, and half of it in Minnesota, where he struggled.  He began 2013 with Minnesota but was shipped out after only two starts, one of which was fairly good.  He struggled with injury in Rochester and came back to Minnesota in August, not doing very well.  The Twins gave up on him after the season, placing him on waivers.  He was selected by the Cubs in mid-December but was waived again ten days later, this time being claimed by Baltimore.  Baltimore waived him early in spring training in 2014 and he was again claimed, this time by Toronto.  He pitched very well for AAA Buffalo and got three starts for the Blue Jays, with two of them very good and one of them very bad.  He was traded to Kansas City in late July with Erik Kratz for ex-Twin Danny Valencia.  He again pitched very well in AAA but had mixed results in six appearances for the Royals.  He was traded back to Toronto after the 2014 season.  The Blue Jays moved him to the bullpen in 2015 and he had an outstanding year, going 5-0, 2.92, 1.08 WHIP in 64.2 innings (58 games).  He was then traded to Oakland, and while he was not as good as in 2015 he put in a couple of solid years for them as a reliever.  He struggled in 2018, however, and split the year between AAA and the majors.  In 2019, however, he put together a tremendous year, going 4-4, 1.80, 0.97 WHIP.  He took over the closer role in late June and did not let it go, compiling 25 saves.  He had another excellent year as the Athletics' closer in 2020, then became a free agent and signed with the White Sox for 2021, for whom he again had an excellent year.  As a Twin, Liam Hendriks was 2-13, 6.06, 1.59 WHIP in 156 innings.  On the one hand, you can say the Twins didn't give him much of a chance, but on the other hand you can say he didn't do much with the chances he got.  The Twins never tried him in the bullpen, though, and in hindsight it certainly looks like they should have.  He turns thirty-three today.  Unless he gets hurt, he be the closer for the White Sox in 2022.

Outfielder Maximilian Kepler has been with the Twins since 2015.  Born and raised in Berlin, Germany, he was signed by Minnesota as a free agent in 2009 at the age of sixteen.  He was okay, but nothing special, in his first couple of minor league seasons, although one should say that he did quite well for his age.  He had an outstanding year in 2012 in Elizabethton at age nineteen.  He was in Cedar Rapids in 2013 and Fort Myers in 2014, again not doing badly but not being particularly impressive, either.  Impressive came in 2015, when he hit .322/.416/.531 for AA Chattanooga and got a September call-up.  He appeared in three games, two as a pinch-hitter, and went 1-for-7.  He started 2016 with Minnesota but didn't play much and went down to Rochester in late April.  He came back on June 1 and was with the Twins the rest of the season.  He didn't hit for a high average, but he showed good power and drew a good number of walks, batting .235/.309/.424 despite a poor September.  The Twins spent the next two years hoping ever since that he would take a step forward, but his numbers in 2017 and 2018 were very similar to that 2016 campaign.  In 2019 the step forward finally came.  Batting out of the leadoff spot, he batted .252/.336/.519 with 36 home runs.  In 2020, however, he took a step backward again, batting just .228, and he stepped further back in 2021.  His career numbers are .233/.317/.439 in 2567 at-bats.  He turns twenty-nine today.  He certainly possible that he could still take a step forward, but it's at least as likely that he simply is what he is.  Barring injury, he will probably begin 2022 as the Twins' starting right fielder, but he's going to need to improve on offense if he's going to retain that position.