Happy Birthday–August 15

Charles Comiskey (1859)
Doggie Miller (1864)
Jack Warner (1872)
Bill Sherdel (1896)
Jim Snyder (1932)
Joey Jay (1935)
Jose Santiago (1940)
Cap Peterson (1942)
Duffy Dyer (1945)
Joe Lis (1946)
Billy Conigliaro (1947)
Tom Kelly (1950)
Joe Cowley (1958)
Randy Johnson (1958)
Jeff Huson (1964)
Scott Brosius (1966)
Chris Singleton (1972)
Oliver Perez (1981)
Jarrod Dyson (1984)

Today would have been Mom and Dad A's seventy-seventh  wedding anniversary.

Second baseman James Robert Snyder played briefly for the Twins in 1961-1962 and 1964.  He was born in Dearborn, Michigan, went to Eastern Michigan University, and was signed as an amateur free agent by the St. Louis Browns in 1952. He spent the next ten years in the minors, playing in the organizations of St. Louis/Baltimore (1952-56, 1957), the White Sox (1956, 1958-60), the Cubs (1957), Philadelphia (1958, 1960), and Cincinnati (1961). Snyder never hit much in the minors, leading one to suppose that he was a very good defensive player. It also leads one to believe that he was a good guy and that people liked him–if he was a jerk, they would have gotten rid of him.  His best minor league season was 1960, when he hit .287 with two AAA teams at age 27.  The Twins purchased Snyder from Indianapolis (AAA) in September of 1961, and he spent the rest of that season and portions of 1962 and 1964 with Minnesota.  He did not hit any better in the Twins’ organization:  in three seasons at AAA, he hit .261 with eight homers.  He began 1962 in Minnesota, but was sent out in early May after appearing in twelve games, six of them as a pinch-runner.  He did not come back until 1964, when he was with the Twins for about six weeks.  Apparently, he was a good bunter; in 1964, Snyder had only 88 plate appearances with the Twins, but was fifth in the league in sacrifice bunts, with 11.  As a Twin, Jim Snyder hit .140/.185/.198 in 86 at-bats. After playing in the Senators organization in 1965, Snyder retired as an active player and embarked on a fairly successful career as a minor-league manager, with a winning percentage of .514 in 16 seasons. He has also been a major league coach, and managed the Seattle Mariners for a portion of 1988, going 45-60.  His last job in baseball appears to have been as a director of instruction for the White Sox, serving in that role from 1994-2005.  Jim Snyder passed away on March 9, 2021 in Lutz, Florida at the age of eighty-eight.

First baseman Joseph Anthony Lis played for the Twins in 1973-1974.  Born and raised in Somerville, New Jersey, he was signed by Philadelphia as a free agent in 1964. After a slow start in the minors, he began to develop some power, hitting over 30 homers in class A in 1967 and 1968 and again in AAA in 1970. Lis was with the Phillies in 1971 and part of 1972, also spending part of 1972 in AAA. After that season, he was traded with Ken Reynolds and Ken Sanders to the Twins for Cesar Tovar. Lis played for the Twins for the next year and a half before being sold to Cleveland in June of 1974.  He was a semi-regular in 1973, sharing first base with Harmon Killebrew, but got very little playing time in 1974 before he left the Twins. He got back on the treadmill between AAA and the majors through 1976, winning the International League MVP award in 1976, and then was chosen by Seattle in the expansion draft prior to the 1977 season. He played a handful of games for the Mariners in 1977, but then went back to AAA, playing in the Indians, White Sox, and Tigers organizations, as well as a year with the Kintetsu Buffaloes, through 1979, when he retired. As a Twin, Lis played in 127 games, batting 294 times and hitting .238/.321/.374 with 9 homers and 28 RBIs.  After leaving baseball, he moved to Evansville, Indiana.  After trying several occupations, he started the Joe Lis Hitting School in Evansville, which he operated until his death. Joe Lis passed away from prostate cancer on October 17, 2010 in Evansville, Indiana.

First baseman Jay Thomas Kelly played for the Twins in 1975 and then managed them from 1986-2001.  He was born in Graceville, Minnesota, went to high school in South Amboy, New Jersey, and was drafted by the Seattle Pilots in the 8th round of the 1968 amateur draft.  He was in the Seattle/Milwaukee organization for three years, but averaged averaged .232 over the last two of them and was released at the end of spring training in 1971.  The Twins signed him and sent him to AA Charlotte.  He hit .294 there, and the next year he was promoted to AAA Tacoma, where he spent most of the next four seasons. Kelly put up solid but unspectacular numbers there, with his best year coming in 1974 when he hit .308 with 18 homers, numbers which sound better than they are in the context of the Pacific Coast League. Kelly came to the Twins in 1975, spending exactly two months with the big club. He played in 49 games during that time, batting .181/.262./.244 in 127 at-bats with 1 homer and 11 runs batted in. Kelly was sold to Baltimore at the start of the 1976 season and spent a year in AAA with them before returning to the Minnesota organization in 1977. He was a player-manager in the minors that year before turning to managing full-time in 1979. Kelly pitched in four minor-league games while he was a manager, starting two of them, and actually pitched pretty well, going 1-0 with a 1.88 ERA in 24 innings. As I assume everyone here knows, he became a coach with the Twins and then took over managing in the fall of 1986, winning two world championships before retiring after the 2001 season.  He was named American League Manager of the Year in 1991.  He had chances to manage other teams, but apparently was not interested.  Tom Kelly is currently a special assistant to the general manager for the Twins.

“Not the” Randy Johnson, outfielder/first baseman Randall Stuart Johnson played for the Twins in 1982.  Born in Miami, he was chosen by the White Sox in the third round of the 1979 January draft. He had some strong years in the minors, hitting .282 with 25 homers at AA Glens Falls in 1980 at age 21.  He got about five weeks in the majors that year, used mostly as a pinch-hitter by the White Sox. Back in Glens Falls in 1981, he hit only .255 but belted 32 home runs.  After the season, he was the player named later in a trade which also sent Ivan Mesa and Ronnie Perry to the Twins for Jerry Koosman. He spent all of 1982 with the Twins, batting .248/.325/.419 as a part-time DH. It was not good enough, however, and he spent the next two years at AAA for the Twins. Johnson was traded back to the White Sox at the start of 1985 spring training along with Ron Scheer for Roy Smalley. He rounded out his career with the White Sox AAA Buffalo affiliate in 1985 as a part-time outfielder, hitting just .224, and then his playing career came to an end.  ”Randy Johnson” is, or course, a rather common name, and when you search for a Randy Johnson connected with baseball you tend to get the other guy.  No information about what our Randy Johnson is doing these days was readily available.