Happy Birthday–November 19

Billy Sunday (1862)
Everett Scott (1892)
Roosevelt Davis (1904)
Roy Campanella (1921)
Joe Morgan (1930)
Manny Jimenez (1938)
Larry Haney (1942)
Bobby Tolan (1945)
Bob Boone (1947)
Dickie Noles (1956)
Mike Winters (1958)
Gary Disarcina (1967)
Mario Valdez (1974)
Clay Condrey (1975)
Ryan Howard (1979)
Jeff Gray (1981)
Jonathan Sanchez (1982)
Bryan Holaday (1987)
Michael Tonkin (1989)
Joey Gallo (1993)
Ian Gibaut (1993)
Lewin Diaz (1996)

The Joe Morgan listed above is not Hall of Famer Joe Morgan. The Joe Morgan born today is the Joe Morgan who once managed the Red Sox.

Larry Haney is the cousin of ex-Twin Mike Cubbage.

Mike Winters was a major league umpire from 1990-2019.

First baseman/outfielder Mario Ayelar Valdez did not play for the Twins, but was in their farm system for about four months in 2000. He was born in Ciudad Obregon, Mexico, went to high school in Hialeah, Florida, and was drafted by the White Sox in the forty-eighth round in 1993. He had some fine seasons in the minors, hitting .330 with 13 homers in a 1996 split between A and AA and .330 with 20 homers in Calgary in 1998. He was in the majors for a little less than half of 1997, allowing Frank Thomas to spend time at the DH spot. He got 115 at-bats, hitting .243/.350/.330. Despite his 1998 AAA season, he never got another chance with Chicago and was allowed to become a free agent after the 1999 campaign. The Twins signed him and sent him to AAA Salt Lake, where he hit .366 with 18 homers through the end of July, at which point he was traded to Oakland for Danny Ardoin. He got a September call-up with the Athletics in 2000 and started 2001 in Oakland. He was used largely as a pinch-hitter and hit .278 in 54 at-bats, but was sent back to AAA in June and never got back to the majors. He stayed in the Athletics’ organization through 2002, played in AAA for San Diego in 2003, went to Japan in 2004, then went to Mexico, where he continued to hit well.  He played sparingly in 2013 and 2014, played in winter ball in 2014-15, and then his playing career came to an end. There were surely reasons he didn’t play more in the majors, but it seems like he could have helped somebody if he’d been given a chance.  At last report, Mario Valdez was living in Sonora, Mexico.

Right-handed reliever Clayton Lee Condrey did not play for the Twins, but was on their disabled list in 2010. He was born in Beaumont, Texas, went to high school in Navasosta, Texas, and then attended McNeese State, the same college attended by ex-Twin Danny Ardoin. He signed with San Diego as a free agent in 1998. He was strictly a relief pitcher through 2001, pitching well in the low minors but not so well above Class A. He never pitched as many as ninety innings in a season in those years, averaging around 55 innings. He became a starter in 2002 and did well, going 10-4, 3.50, 1.26 WHIP for AAA Portland. He made his major league debut in late August and continued to do well, posting an ERA of 1.69 and a WHIP of 1.05 in 26.2 innings. Condrey began 2003 as the Padres’ fifth starter, but flopped and was sent back to AAA in May. In late March of 2004, Condrey was sent to Philadelphia as part of a “conditional deal.” He had a couple of mediocre years at AAA for the Phillies, but they did not give up on him, instead shifting him back to the bullpen for 2006. Now 30, he suddenly flourished there, spending nearly half of 2006 and almost all of 2007 in the majors. He had two full seasons in the majors in 2008 and 2009 and did very well, posting a combined ERA of 3.16 in 111 innings. A free agent after the 2009 campaign, he signed with Minnesota but was injured in spring training, missing the entire season except for 9.1 innings on an aborted minor league rehab assignment.  That brought his playing career to an end.  He apparently is now giving private pitching instruction to young players through OOSinker Pitching Lessons in College Station, Texas.

Right-handed reliever Jeffrey Michael Gray pitched for the Twins in 2012.  He was born in Texas City, Texas, went to high school in Wildwood, Missouri, attended Missouri State University, and was drafted by Oakland in the thirty-second round in 2004.  He became a reliever for good in 2006 and was rather up and down in his minor league career.  He first reached the majors as a September call-up in 2008 and got over two months in the majors in 2009.  He did pretty well in 2009, but was traded to the Cubs after the season.  He started the year in Chicago but was in AAA by early May and spent the rest of the year there.  He got his first full season in the majors in 2011, but with two different teams:  the White Sox had signed him as a free agent in November of 2010, waived him in mid-May, and he was claimed by Seattle.  He did not have a very good year, was waived again, and was claimed by Minnesota for 2012.  He appeared in 49 games and was 6-1, which is the good news.  The bad news is that he posted an ERA of 5.71 and a WHIP of 1.54.  He was again a free agent after the season, signed with the White Sox, went to AAA, and was released in mid-July, bringing his playing career to an end.  It may not have been a great career, but he appeared in 115 games over five big league seasons, which is not bad for a thirty-second round draft choice.  There are a lot of people in the world named Jeff Gray, and several of them are involved in baseball in some capacity.  No information about what our Jeff Gray is doing now was readily available.

Right-handed reliever Michael Harvey Tonkin pitched for the Twins from 2013-2017.  He was born in Glendale, California, went to high school in Palmdale, California, and was drafted by Minnesota in the thirtieth round in 2008.  He was primarily a starter through 2010 and did not do badly in that role, but became a relief pitcher in 2011.  He did not reach AA until 2013, but was promoted to AAA that same season and ended the year in the majors.  He pitched very well for the Twins in 11.1 innings, going 0-0, 0.79, 1.06 WHIP with three walks and ten strikeouts.  He started 2014 in the majors and pitched very well in April, but stumbled in May and was sent to AAA. returning as a September call-up.  He split 2015 pretty evenly between AAA and the majors, pitching extremely well in AAA and not badly in Minnesota.  He was with the Twins for all of 2016 and started the season quite well, but ultimately did not have a good season, although he did strikeout quite a few batters.  At that time, we said, "He has a good chance to be in the Twins' bullpen at the start of 2017, but he's probably going to have to pitch better than last year if he wants to stay there."  Well, he was in the Twins' bullpen at the start of 2017, but he didn't pitch better and he didn't stay there, regardless of how much he may have wanted to.  He was with the Twins for about five weeks and then went back to Rochester, where he pitched very well and earned a spot as a September call-up.  The Twins released him after the season, however.  As a Twin, he was 3-3, 4.43, 1.43 WHIP, 4.57 FIP in 146.1 innings (141 games).  He went to Japan for 2018 and had a solid season in the Nippon Ham Fighters bullpen.  At that time, we said, "He would probably get at least a minor league contract if he came back", and that turned out to be true, as he signed with Texas for 2019.  He was released in spring training, signed with Milwaukee and went to AAA, was released again in late May, pitched very well for independent Long Island, and signed with Arizona in mid-August for the rest of the season.  He did not play anywhere in 2020, but there were not nearly as many opportunities to play in 2020 as there usually are.  In 2021 he played for Long Island in the Atlantic League and for Tijuana in the Mexican League, pitching well in both places.  He signed with Atlanta for 2022 and had an excellent season in AAA.  He was back in the majors in 2023, and while he was hurt by the long ball he had a decent season overall.  We assume he will be back with the Braves for 2024.

Outfielder/first baseman Joseph Nicholas Gallo played for the Twins in 2023.  He was born in Henderson, Nevada, went to high school in Las Vegas, and was drafted by Texas in the first round in 2012,  He showed lots of power in the minors, blasting forty home runs in a 2013 split between rookie ball and Class A and forty-two in a 2014 split between high-A and AA.  He made his major league debut in 2015, spending about two months there and batting .204/.301/.417 in 108 at-bats.  Not bad for a twenty-one year old, you might say, but he spent most of 2016 having a good year in AAA, playing just seventeen games in the majors.  He stuck in the majors after that, though.  In 2017 and 2018 he batted just over .200, but hit forty or more homers each season.  He was on the way to the best year of his career in 2019, batting .253 with 22 homers in the first half, but was injured shortly after the all-star break and missed the rest of the season.  He had a poor 2020 but bounced back some in 2021, batting just .199 but hitting 38 home runs and leading the league in walks.  He was traded to the Yankees at the July deadline that year, though, and hasn't done much since.  He struggled with the Yankees in 2022, batting just .159, and didn't do much better when he was traded to the Dodgers in early August.  The Twins signed him as a free agent in 2023 and he did about what he should've been expected to do, batting .177/.301/.440 with 21 homers in 282 at-bats.  He's basically Miguel Sano with better defense--Sano appears on both the list of "Similar Batters" and "Similar Batters through age 29".  He turns thirty today and is a free agent.  He may sign with someone for 2024, but at this point any team that signs him should know what it's getting.

Right-handed reliever Ian Philip Gibaut appeared in three games for the Twins in 2021.  He was born in Houston, attended Tulane (where he had an excellent career), and was drafted by Tampa Bay in the eleventh round in 2015.  He pitched very well in the minors, posting ERAs below three at every stop through 2018.  It appears that he dealt with injuries in 2019 and the Rays abruptly gave up on him, sending him to Texas for a player to be named or cash.  He made his major league debut that season, appearing in one game for the Rays before the trade and nine for Texas afterward.  He was with the Rangers for about half of the shortened 2020 season, appearing in fourteen games and posting an ERA of 6.57.  He became a free agent and signed with Minnesota in 2021.  He had a poor year in AAA St. Paul, although he pitched well in three games for the Twins.  As a Twin, he was 0-0, 2.70, 1.35 WHIP in 6.2 innings. A free agent after the season, he signed with Cleveland for 2022.  He was having a good year in AAA, but was still waived in late June.  The Dodgers claimed him, but waived him again five days later and he was claimed by Cincinnati.  The Reds brought him back to the majors, and while he was not particularly good in 2022 he was in 2023, going 8-4, 3.33 with three saves and a 1,28 WHIP.  He turns thirty today, and presumably will be back in the Cincinnati bullpen in 2024.

First baseman Lewin Jose Diaz did not play for the Twins, but was in their minor league system from 2014-2019.  He was born in Santiago, Dominican Republic and signed as a free agent with the Twins in July of 2013.  He was in rookie ball from 2014-2016, which isn't as bad as it sounds since he was still a teenager in all those seasons.  He batted .310/.353/.575 with Elizabethton in 2016, which attracted attention.  He was okay, but nothing special, in Cedar Rapids in 2017 and had a poor year in Fort Myers in 2018.  He rebounded in 2019, however, doing well first in Fort Myers and then in AA Pensacola.  In late July, however, he was traded to Miami for Chris Vallimont, Sergio Romo, and a player to be named later (who apparently still has not been named and perhaps never will be).  He didn't do much the rest of that season, but he was put on the sixty-man roster for 2020 and spent about three weeks with the Marlins.  He didn't do much then, either, batting just .154 in 41 plate appearances.  He had a solid year in AAA Jacksonville in 2021 and spent about two months with the big club, batting .205 but with 8 homers in 122 at-bats.  He was back in AAA in the first half of 2022, but was given the first base job with Miami in the second half of the season.  He gave it back, batting just .169 with five home runs. He then had an interesting off-season.  He was waived by the Marlins in November and claimed by Pittsburgh, waived again ten days later and claimed by Baltimore, traded to Atlanta three weeks later for "unknown compensation", and waived again two weeks later and claimed by Baltimore again.  After all that, he had a solid year in AAA for the Orioles in 2023 but did not get a call to the majors.  He is currently a free agent.  He turns twenty-seven today and is currently playing winter ball.  His AAA numbers are good, but in the majors he has batted .181/.227/.340 in 321 at-bats.  He may get another chance, but if he does it will probably be his last one.

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