Happy Birthday–June 10

Jack Graney (1886)
Garland Braxton (1900)
Danny McFayden (1905)
Vic Harris (1905)
Mike Kreevich (1908)
Frank Demaree (1910)
Chuck Thompson (1921)
Hank Foiles (1929)
Carmen Cozza (1930)
Ed Palmquist (1933)
Kazuhisa Inao (1937)
Johnny Edwards (1938)
Ken Singleton (1947)
Elias Sosa (1950)
Gerry Hunsicker (1950)
Francisco Barrios (1953)
Floyd Bannister (1955)
Scott Ullger (1955)
Pokey Reese (1973)
Al Alburquerque (1986)
Patrick Murphy (1995)

Jack Graney had a few unusual "firsts".  He was the first major leaguer to bat against Babe Ruth.  He was the first player to wear a number on his uniform.  He as also the first player to become a broadcaster.

Outfielder Vic Harris was a long-time Negro League player and manager, leading the Homestead Grays to nine Negro National League pennants.

Chuck Thompson was a long-time broadcaster for the Baltimore Orioles.

Outfielder Carmen Cozza played in the low minors in 1952-1953, batting .242.  He later became a college football coach, most notably at Yale.  Upon his retirement in 1996, he held the record for most coaching victories in the Ivy League (179) and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002.

Kazuhisa Inao is one of the greatest pitchers in Japanese baseball history.

Gerry Hunsicker is a long-time baseball executive, working for the Mets, the Astros, and the Rays.

Right-hander Edwin Lee Palmquist appeared in nine games for the Twins in 1961.  Born and raised in Los Angeles, he signed as a free agent with Brooklyn in 1951.  He was with Class C Santa Barbara through 1952, then served in the military for two years.  He returned to organized baseball in 1955, but either still had a military obligation or was battling injuries, because he played very little until 1957.  Converted to relief in 1959, he had an excellent year for AAA St. Paul, posting an ERA of 2.09 and a WHIP of 1.06 in 125 innings.  He began 1960 with AAA Spokane, but was called up the now Los Angeles Dodgers in late June and stayed the rest of the year.  He did not pitch often but did well when given a chance, posting a 2.54 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP in 39 innings.  He began 1961 with the Dodgers, but after only five appearances was traded to Minnesota with Joe Altobelli for Ernie Oravetz and cash.  He made nine appearances for the Twins, two of them starts, and did not do well, going 1-1, 9.43 with a 2.19 WHIP in 21 innings.  He apparently got hurt in mid-June, or perhaps he was hurt when the Twins got him, but at any rate he missed the rest of the season.  He made three appearances for AAA Vancouver in the Twins’ organization in 1962, but then his playing career in America was over, although he apparently did some pitching in Japan in 1963.  He eventually moved to Grants Pass, Oregon, where he passed away on July 10, 2010.

First baseman Scott Matthew Ullger got 79 at-bats with the Twins in 1983.  He was born in New York and attended St. John’s.  He was drafted by Minnesota in the eighteenth round in 1977.  The Twins never really settled on a position for him; he played shortstop and third base in 1977-1978, was a third baseman in 1979, and an outfielder from 1980-1982.  He did not play first base at all until 1981, and then only 21 games’ worth.  On offense, his best season was probably 1978, when he hit .320 with 20 homers at Class A Visalia.  He also hit 20 home runs for AA Orlando in 1981, although he hit only .269; he also had a solid year for AAA Toledo in 1982.  Ullger then got his only time in the big leagues as a player, spending the entire 1983 season as Kent Hrbek’s backup at first base.  He got only 79 at-bats, hitting .190/.247/.241.  He then went back to AAA Toledo for three years, doing a solid but unspectacular job for the Mud Hens.  He moved to the Baltimore organization for 1987 and then his playing career ended.  Ullger then became a minor league manager for the Twins, working in Visalia (1988-1990), Orlando (1991), Portland (1992-1993), and Salt Lake (1994).  He was a part of the Twins’ major league coaching staff from 1995-2014, serving at various times as first base coach, third base coach, batting coach, and bench coach.  At one time, he was considered a possible successor to Ron Gardenhire, but that turned out not to be the case, as he was let go at the same time as Gardy after the 2014 season.  Unlike some other Twins coaches, he did not join Gardenhire's staff in Detroit, and does not appear to have worked in baseball at all since 2014.  It seems odd that someone who was been in baseball that long couldn't find a job in it someplace, but it's also possible that he decided he wanted to try something else or simply decided to retire.  At last report he had moved to Visalia, California, where in 2020 he was inducted into the Visalia Baseball Hall of Fame.

Right-hander Patrick Brian Murphy did not play for the Twins, but he was in AAA for them in 2023.  Born and raised in Chandler, Arizona, he was drafted by Toronto in the third round in 2013.  He was able to make only three appearances in the Gulf Coast League in 2014 before his season ended due to numbness in his arm.  He had to have a nerve in his elbow removed, and he did not come back until 2016.  A starter at that point in his career, he did well in Class A in 2017 and in high-A in 2018.  He was not all that good in AA in 2019, but made his major league debut in the COVID season of 2020, pitching six innings over four games and posting an ERA of 1.50 with a WHIP of 1.33.  Injury problems again cropped up in 2021, but he came back to pitch well in ten AAA relief appearances.  Despite that, he was put on waivers and claimed by Washington.  They put him on their major league roster and he did not do well.  He had a poor 2022 season, making six major league appearances but spending most of the year in AAA.  He was a free agent after the season and signed with Minnesota.  He had a good year in St. Paul, going 6-4, 3.69 in 85.1 innings (42 games).  He was a free agent again after the season and went to Japan for 2024, where he is having a fine season for Nippon Ham.  His major league record is 0-3, 4.76, 1.64 WHIP.  He turns twenty-nine today.  It seems unlikely that we'll see him back in the majors, but stranger things have happened.

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