Happy Birthday–October 24

Ned Williamson (1857)
Bill Kuehne (1858)
Lou Sockalexis (1871)
Ossie Bluege (1900)
Jack Russell (1905)
Jim Brosnan (1929)
Rawly Eastwick (1950)
Omar Moreno (1952)
Gary Serum (1956)
Ron Gardenhire (1957)
Junior Ortiz (1959)
Danny Clay (1961)
Rafael Belliard (1961)
Gene Larkin (1962)
Arthur Rhodes (1969)
Rafael Furcal (1977)
Chris Colabello (1983)
Eric Hosmer (1989)
Nick Gordon (1995)

Third baseman Ossie Bluege played for the franchise in Washington for eighteen years and remained in the organization for many years after that. He is credited as being the first third baseman to guard the lines in the late innings. He is also credited as the scout who discovered Harmon Killebrew.

We would like to wish a very happy anniversary to Mr. and Mrs. zooomx.2.

Right-hander Gary Wayne Serum pitched for the Twins from 1977-1979. He was born in Fargo but mostly grew up in Minnesota, going to high school in Alexandria. He attended St. Cloud State and was signed by the Twins as a free agent in 1975 after attending a tryout camp. Serum was primarily a relief pitcher in the minors, although he started ten games in 1976. He came through the minors rapidly and reached the Twins by late July of 1977 at age 20. Serum pitched 22 innings for the Twins that year, but was in their starting rotation for much of 1978. He pitched quite well for a 21-year-old: 9-9, 4.10 ERA, 94 ERA+, 1.26 WHIP. That was to be as good as it got, however. Returned to the bullpen for most of 1979, he was used sporadically, and was ineffective when he did pitch. The Twins seemed to give up on him rather quickly. He had a fairly good year in the Toledo bullpen in 1980, but his reward was to be sent to AA in 1981. He was the Orlando closer that season, but had a poor year and was released. Serum pitched in the Yankees organization in 1982, but then was out of baseball. His entire major-league career was with the Twins. Gary Serum was 10-12 with a 4.72 ERA in 62 appearances, 28 of them starts. At last report, Gary Serum was co-owner of a restaurant called Serum's Good Time Emporium in Anoka, Minnesota. If any citizens live near Anoka, it might be fun to stop by today and see if you could wish him a happy birthday.

Infielder Ronald Clyde Gardenhire did not play for the Twins, but was in their minor league system for a year and was their manager from 2002-2014. He was born in Butzbach, West Germany. He attended Okmulgee High School in Oklahoma, and then went to the University of Texas at Austin. Gardenhire was drafted by the Mets in the sixth round in 1977. He spent three years in the minors, advancing a level each year and reaching AAA in 1981. His numbers were not all that impressive, but he battled his tail off and received a September call-up in 1981. In 1982, he was the Mets' regular shortstop. A .240 average without walks, power, or stolen bases didn't cut it, however, and Gardenhire was back in the minors for most of 1983. He was a utility infielder for the Mets for most of 1984 and 1985, but went back to AAA in 1986 and did not return to the majors as a player. After the 1986 season, Gardenhire was traded to the Twins for Dominic Iasparro. He spent one year at AAA Portland and then turned to managing. He managed three years in the Twins' minor-league system and became a coach in the big leagues in 1991. Ron Gardenhire took over as the Minnesota manager in 2002, and remained in the job until the end of the 2014 season. During his time as manager, the Twins won six division titles in nine years, advancing to the league championship series once. In his last four years, of course, the Twins were much less successful. How much credit Ron Gardenhire should get for their success, or how much blame he should get for their lack of it, is difficult to say. Regardless, a manager whose teams lost over ninety games for four consecutive years is going to be held responsible, and he was. He was back with the Twins as a special assistant to the general manager in 2016, was the bench coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2017, and became the manager of the Detroit Tigers in 2018.  He resigned late in the 2020 season due to health concerns.  He will probably be able to get another job in baseball if, at some point, he wants one, but it remains to be seen whether he'll want one.  In any event, we wish him well.  Ron Gardenhire was inducted into the Twins' Hall of Fame in 2022.  His son, Toby, is the manager of the Twins' AAA team, the St. Paul Saints.

Catcher Adalberto (Colon) "Junior" Ortiz played for the Twins from 1990-1991. He was born in Humacao, Puerto Rico and was signed by the Pirates as a free agent in 1977. His minor league record is a mixed bag, with his best year clearly coming in 1980, when he hit .346 with 12 homers for AA Buffalo. He got a September call-up in 1982, and became the Pirates back-up catcher in 1983, a role he would keep the rest of his career. The vagaries of small sample size are evident in his career: he hit .336 in 1988 and .335 in 1990, but only .198 in 1984 and .209 in 1991. In June of 1983, the Pirates traded Ortiz to the Mets, but they got him back in the 1984 rule 5 draft. He stayed in Pittsburgh until just before the 1990 season, when he was traded to the Twins with Orlando Lind for Mike Pomeranz. While with the Twins, Ortiz was Scott Erickson's personal catcher, including catching him in the playoffs and World Series in 1991. He became a free agent after 1991 and spent the next two years with Cleveland. From there, he went to Texas in 1994 and the White Sox in 1995 before calling it a career. At last report, Junior Ortiz was living in Billings, Montana.

Right-hander Danny Bruce Clay never played for the Twins, but he was signed by them as a free agent in 1982. Born in Sun Valley, California, Clay attended Loyola Marymount. He spent more than four seasons in the Twins' organization. Clay pretty much topped out in Class A, although he did win 13 games for AA Orlando in 1985 (with a 4.48 ERA). On June 24, 1987, the Twins traded Clay along with Tom Schwarz for Dan Schatzeder and cash. The Phillies converted Clay to relief, and he got off to a tremendous start with AAA Maine in 1988, going 5-1 with an ERA of 0.99 and a WHIP of 0.95 in 45.1 innings. That earned him about 2 1/2 months in the big leagues. The hot start was an illusion, however. In 17 appearances for the Phillies, Clay went 0-1, 6.00 and was sent back to the minors. He did have a good year at AAA again in 1990, but this time no one was fooled and his career was over. No information about Danny Clay's life after that is readily available.

First baseman/outfielder/DH Eugene Thomas Larkin played for the Twins from 1987-1993. He was born in Flushing, New York, went to Chaminade High School in Mineola, New York, then attended Columbia University, where he broke many of Lou Gehrig's baseball records. He was drafted by the Twins in the 20th round in 1984. He progressed one level every year, batting over .300 at each stop. He also compiled 35 home runs in a little over three minor league seasons. He was promoted to the Twins in May of 1987 and stayed there for over six years. Larkin was a steady, solid contributor through the Twins during his time there. He regularly posted batting averages in the .260s, and when he was allowed to play regularly he hit 20-30 doubles and drew a pretty good number of walks. Larkin's career numbers were .266/.348/.374, with 32 homers, 131 doubles, and an OPS+ of 98. He is, of course, remembered for his game-winning hit in game 7 of the 1991 World Series. Larkin was injured for much of 1993, playing in only 56 games, although when healthy he continued to hit much as he had before. He went to spring training with the Twins in 1994, but did not make the team and his career was over. One suspects that he could have found a job with someone had he tried, but either his health was not up to it or he simply had no desire to go to another team. Larkin currently lives in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, where he is the co-owner of Nevers Larkin Baseball Training and Players Only, Inc.  He is also an advisor with New Era Financial Group. He also is a regular at the Twins' annual fantasy baseball camp.

First baseman/outfielder Christopher Adrian Colabello played for the Twins from 2013-2014. He was born in Framingham, Massachusetts, went to high school in Milford, Massachusetts, and attended Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts. If it was your assumption that he was the only major league player to have come from that school, you were correct. He was not drafted out of college, nor was he signed as a free agent. Instead, he played in the independent CanAm League for seven years, all but 43 games of it with Worcester. He hit over .300 every year there and posted an OPS of .903. Finally, in February of 2012, the Twins signed him and sent him to New Britain, where he was essentially expected to be roster filler. Instead, he hit .284/.358/.478 with 19 homers and 98 RBIs in 134 games. Promoted to Rochester in 2013, he did even better, hitting .352/.427/.639 with 24 home runs in 89 games. He was called up for about three weeks in the first half of the season, then came up to stay after the all-star break. He spent time in right field and at DH, but became the mostly-regular first baseman after the trade of Justin Morneau. He did not do a lot, although he did get some clutch hits. He started the 2014 season as a DH/right fielder for the Twins and got off to a hot start, but then he tried to play through an injury, tailed off rapidly, and was back in Rochester by late May. He came back to Minnesota in July but again didn't do much and was sent back out in early August. As a Twin, Chris Colabello hit .214/.284/.364 in 365 at-bats. The Twins gave up on him after the 2014 season, allowing Toronto to claim him on waivers. Healthy again, he had an excellent season as a part-time player, hitting .321/.367/.520 in 333 at-bats. Early in 2016, however, he was suspended for eighty games for using performance enhancing drugs. Colabello has maintained his innocence, but regardless he had to serve the suspension. He played in AAA when he came back but did poorly and was not called up to the Blue Jays. He signed with Cleveland for 2017, but didn't do much in AAA and was released in July. He signed with Milwaukee and did better in AAA, but did not get a call-up.  He played in winter ball following the 2017 season, then played in Italy in 2018.  He was back in the United States in 2019, playing in independent ball for Kansas City and SugarLand.  He probably could have done that again in 2020 had things gone differently.  He has played for Team Italy in various international tournaments, including the Africa/Europe 2020 Olympic Qualifying tournament.  It appears that he is the co-founder of pelatero.com, which puts together webinars to teach people about hitting.

Utility player Nicholas Chad Gordon played for the Twins in 2021.  He was born in Avon Park, Florida, went to high school in Orlando, and was drafted by Minnesota in the first round (the fifth pick) in 2014.  His minor league record was solid but unspectactular--no bad years, but nothing that really jumps out at you, either.  He reached Class A in 2015, high-A in 2016, AA in 2017, and AAA in 2018.  He had a fine year for Rochester in 2019, but missed time due to injury.  He started 2021 in AAA but came up to the majors in May and stayed the rest of the season.  He was an infielder in the minors, but when he came to the Twins he mostly played center field.  He batted .240/.292/.355 in 200 at-bats for the Twins, numbers that were probably not helped by the fact that he was learning to play a new position.  In 2022 he was a mostly regular without a regular position, seeing significant time in left, center, at second, and at short.  he responded with a fine season, posting an OPS of .743.  He comes from a baseball family--his father, Tom Gordon, was a fine relief pitcher, and his brother, Dee Strange-Gordon, was an all-star infielder.  He turns twenty-seven today, so he's not a kid anymore, but there's no obvious reason Nick Gordon can't be a solid major league player for several years.