Happy Birthday–March 17

Fred Pfeffer (1860)
Oscar Stanage (1883)
Joe Fitzgerald (1897)
Charlie Root (1899)
Sammy Baugh (1914)
Hank Sauer (1917)
Pete Reiser (1919)
Vic Voltaggio (1941)
Cito Gaston (1944)
Kurt Russell (1951)
Tim Lollar (1956)
Frank Wren (1958)
Danny Ainge (1959)
John Smiley (1965)
Dan Masteller (1968)
Bill Mueller (1971)
Raul Chavez (1973)
Scott Downs (1976)
Robb Quinlan (1977)
Chris Davis (1986)
Juan Lagares (1989)
Jean Segura (1990)

Joe Fitzgerald had a long association with the Minnesota/Washington franchise, serving as bullpen catcher from 1945-1947, coach from 1948-1956, and scout from 1957 until he passed away in 1967.

Hall of Fame quarterback Sammy Baugh was an infielder in the minors for St. Louis in 1938, batting .200 in the American Association and the International League.

Vic Voltaggio was an American League umpire from 1997-1996.

Actor Kurt Russell spent three years in the low minors (1971-1973), batting .292 in 356 at-bats.

Frank Wren has been the general manager of the Baltimore Orioles and the Atlanta Braves.

NBA star Danny Ainge was a third baseman for Toronto from 1979-1981.

We would also like to wish a happy birthday to AMR's sister.

Left-hander John Patrick Smiley pitched for the Twins in 1992.  He was born in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania and went to high school in Graterford, Pennsylvania.  He was drafted by Pittsburgh in the twelfth round in 1983.  He struggled early in his minor league career and was moved to the bullpen in 1986.  He had a very good year in relief, posting an ERA of 3.10 and a WHIP of 1.16 in 90 innings in Class A.  That got him a September call-up, and the next year he stayed in the majors, never going back to AA or AAA.  Smiley was used in relief in 1987 and did not do a whole lot, but he joined the starting rotation in 1988 and stayed in a major league rotation for ten years.  He was in the Pirates' rotation through 1991.  His last year with Pittsburgh was his best, as Smiley went 20-8, 3.08 in 207.2 innings.  He made his first all-star appearance that year, finished third in Cy Young voting, and was fourteenth in MVP balloting.  In March of 1992, Smiley was traded to the Twins for Midre Cummings and Denny Neagle.  He had an excellent year for the Twins, going 16-9, 3.21 with a 1.12 WHIP and setting a career high with 241 innings.  He became a free agent after the season and signed with Cincinnati.  Smiley struggled in 1993, dealing with both injuries and ineffectiveness.  He bounced back in 1994 and had three consecutive years with ERAs under four and WHIPs under 1.30.  He made the all-star team for the second time in 1995  He had a poor year in 1997, and an injury shortly after his mid-season trade to Cleveland led Smiley to retire after the 1997 season.  John Smiley was never a superstar, but he was a solid rotation starter for several years.  At last report, he was living in Collegeville, Pennsylvania.

First baseman/outfielder Dan Patrick Masteller was with the Twins for a little over half of the 1995 season.  He was born in Toledo, attended Michigan State, and was drafted by Minnesota in the eleventh round in 1989.  He did not show much power in the minors, but hit over .300 for three consecutive years, most of which were in AAA Salt Lake.  He was in the third of those years when he was brought up to Minnesota in late June of 1995.  The left- handed hitter was used almost exclusively against right-handed pitching, sharing first base with Scott Stahoviak and also playing a little corner outfield.  Masteller played in 71 games that season, getting 198 at-bats.  He hit .237/.303/.343 with three homers and 21 RBIs.  Released after the season, he was signed by Montreal and again hit for a high average in AA, but apparently no one was impressed; he was let go in mid-season and finished the year in the independent North Atlantic League.  1996 was to be Masteller's last season in organized baseball.  At last report, Dan Masteller was a managing director of the Charles Schwab Corporation in San Francisco.

Left-hander Scott Jeremy Downs did not play for the Twins, but was in their farm system briefly in 1999.  Born and raised in Louisville, he attended the University of Kentucky and was drafted by the Cubs in the third round in 1997.  He pitched pretty well in their system for two seasons, but in November of 1998 he was the player to be named later in the deal that sent Mike Morgan to the Cubs.  He pitched 19.2 innings in New Britain and 9.2 innings in Ft. Myers, doing poorly for the former and well for the latter, when he was sent back to the Cubs on May 21 of 1999 along with Rick Aguilera for Kyle Lohse and Jason Ryan.  He made the Cubs starting rotation at the start of the 2000 season, but did not do well and was traded to Montreal at the July trading deadline for Rondell White.  He made one start for the Expos and then went down with an injury, missing the entire 2001 season.  He spent most of the next three years in the minors, making one major league start in 2003 and 12 in 2004.  After that season, he was released by the then Washington franchise and signed with Toronto.  He started the season in the minors but made it back to the big leagues for good in mid-May of 2005 and began a transition to the bullpen.  He began pitching better immediately, and started pitching really well as a LOOGY in 2007.   He was a free agent after the 2010 season, signed with the Angels, and continued to pitch well.  He stayed with the Angels until late July of 2013, when he was traded to Atlanta.  His numbers with the Braves were not particularly good, but as often happens with a LOOGY, a few bad outings make his performance look worse than it was.  He started 2014 with the White Sox, but the bad outings became more common and he was released at mid-season.  He signed with Kansas City a few days later and pitched much better the rest of the way.  He signed with Cleveland for 2015 but was released at the end of spring training and his playing career came to an end.  It was a pretty good career, though, especially when you consider that he really didn't put things together until he was thirty-one.  At last report, Scott Downs was living in Lexington, Kentucky and was the baseball coach of Lexington Catholic High School.

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