Happy Birthday–January 13

Ernie Calbert (1887)
Fred Schulte (1901)
Ron Brand (1940)
Makoto Matsubara (1944)
Mike Tyson (1950)
Bob Forsch (1950)
Odell Jones (1953)
Gene Roof (1958)
Kevin Mitchell (1962)
Kevin McClatchy (1963)
Elmer Dessens (1971)

Ernie Calbert won six minor league home run titles.  He also once pitched a minor league no-hitter.

Makoto Matsubara was an eleven-time all-star in Japan.

Kevin McClatchy was the CEO of the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1996-2007.

When Elmer Dessens made his major league debut in 1996, he was the first big leaguer in thirty-five years to have the first name "Elmer".  There have been none since.

There do not appear to be any players with connections to the Minnesota Twins who were born on this day. The closest we come is Gene Roof, whose brother, Phil, played for the Twins.

We would, however, like to wish a happy birthday to The Dread Pirate.

2002 Rewind: Game One Hundred

MINNESOTA 4, DETROIT 2 IN DETROIT

Date:  Sunday, July 21.

Batting stars:  David Ortiz was 2-for-3 with a walk and a home run, his eleventh.  Dustan Mohr was 2-for-4.  Corey Koskie was 2-for-5.

Pitching stars:  Eric Milton pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and a walk and striking out six.  LaTroy Hawkins pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk and striking out one.  Eddie Guardado pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Shane Halter was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.  Ramon Santiago was 2-for-4 with a double.  Carlos Pena was 1-for-3 with a triple and a walk.

The game:  Doubles by Brandon Inge and George Lombard gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead in the third.  Ortiz homered in the fourth to tie it 1-1.  The Twins loaded the bases with none out in the fifth, but could only score once, on a sacrifice fly by Denny Hocking, to take a 2-1 lead.  They again loaded the bases in the sixth, this time with two out, and an error on shortstop Santiago allowed two runs to score, putting the Twins up 4-1.  Pena's RBI triple in the bottom of the sixth cut the margin to 4-2.  That was as close as they would come, though, as MiltonHawkins, and Guardado held off the Tigers the rest of the way.

WP:  Milton (12-7).  LP:  Steve Sparks (4-10).  S:  Guardado (32).

Notes:  Hocking played second base, replacing Luis Rivas.  He went 1-for-4.  He batted leadoff, as Jacque Jones was also given the day off.

Ortiz was at first base, replacing Doug Mientkiewicz.  Matthew LeCroy was the DH, going 0-for-4.

Ortiz hit his fourth home run in three games and his fifth in five games.

Michael Cuddyer was in right field, with Bobby Kielty in center as Torii Hunter was also not in the lineup.  Mohr completed the outfield in left.  Cuddyer was 0-for-2 with a walk.

Tom Prince was the catcher in place of A. J. Pierzynski.  He was 0-for-4.

Kielty was 0-for-1 with three walks and was batting .326.

Mohr raised his average to .303.

Milton got his ERA under five for the first time since May 26 at 4.98.

Hawkins lowered his ERA to 1.38.

Detroit starter Sparks struck out nine in 6.2 innings, giving up four runs (two earned) on five hits and five walks.

George Lombard was a highly touted outfield prospect when he was with Atlanta.  A very fast man, he stole 318 bases in the minors but only 23 in the majors.  He got a September call-up with the Braves in 1998 after a fine year at AA Greenville.  He had a poor year in 1999 with AAA Richmond, but got another September call-up anyway.  He had a solid AAA season in 2000 and was promoted to the majors in late July.  He didn't get much of a chance, though, as he was used mostly as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement.  He played in 27 games but got only 39 at-bats.  He apparently was injured most of 2001, as he played in just thirteen games, all in AAA.  He got off to a good start in 2002 and was traded to Detroit in mid-June.  They placed him in their starting lineup and he stayed there the rest of the season, playing both left and center.  He batted .241/.300/.373.  He was twenty-six that season, and he would never get another real chance.  The Tigers waived him and he was claimed by Tampa Bay for 2003.  He had a solid season in AAA but was in the majors for only about three weeks, getting just 37 at-bats.  He was with Boston in 2004 and 2005, but never got called to the majors despite putting up good minor league numbers.  He moved on to the Nationals organization for 2006 and had a fine year, earning a September call-up.  He again did not get much of a chance, playing in 20 games but getting just 21 at-bats, and that was the end of his major league career.  He played a few more seasons in the minors, with Washington in 2007, the Dodgers and Florida in 2008, and Cleveland in 2009.  He hit .256/.356/.451 in 2271 AAA at-bats, but just .220/.281/.340 in 350 at-bats in the majors.  Basically, he got one chance to show what he could do and he didn't take advantage of it.  He remained in baseball, and has been the first base coach of the Los Angeles Dodgers the last two seasons.

Record:  The Twins were 59-41, in first place, leading Chicago by thirteen games.

Happy Birthday–January 12

Henry Larkin (1860)
Tom Kinslow (1866)
George Browne (1876)
Joe Hauser (1899)
Lee Allen (1915)
Alfredo Ortiz (1944)
Ron Polk (1944)
Paul Reuschel (1947)
Randy Jones (1950)
Terry Whitfield (1953)
Tim Hulett (1960)
Mike Marshall (1960)
Casey Candaele (1961)
Andy Fox (1971)
Luis Ayala (1978)
Dontrelle Willis (1982)

Joe Hauser twice hit over 60 home runs in a season in AAA.

Historian and writer Lee Allen contributed much to the Hall of Fame and to the first edition of the Baseball Encyclopedia.

Alfredo Ortiz won 287 games in the minor leagues, mostly in the Mexican League, and 104 more in the Mexican Winter League.

Ron Polk was a very successful college baseball coach, most notably at Mississippi State.

The Mike Marshall listed above is the outfielder/first baseman who played mostly for the Dodgers.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–January 12

2002 Rewind: Game Ninety-nine

MINNESOTA 14, DETROIT 4 IN DETROIT

Date:  Saturday, July 20.

Batting stars:  Bobby Kielty was 4-for-4 with a home run (his eighth), a triple, and a walk, scoring four times and driving in three.  David Ortiz was 3-for-5 with two home runs (his ninth and tenth), scoring three times and driving in three.  Michael Cuddyer was 3-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs.

Pitching stars:  Joe Mays pitched six innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and no walks and striking out two.  J. C. Romero struck out two in a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Carlos Pena was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, his eighth.  George Lombard was 2-for-5 with a home run, his fourth.  Damion Easley was 2-for-5.

The game:  The teams traded two-run homers in the second.  Kielty hit one for the Twins and Pena hit one for the Tigers, leaving the score 2-2.  Bobby Higginson singled home a run in the third to give Detroit a 3-2 lead.  The Twins came back in the fourth, with Kielty tying the game with an RBI triple and scoring on Cuddyer's run-scoring single to put Minnesota up 4-3.  The Twins took control of the game in the fifth.  With two out and a man on first, Ortiz hit a two-run homer.  Two walks followed, then Cuddyer hit a three-run home run to give the Twins a 9-3 lead.  The Twins scored four more in the seventh, with Ortiz hitting his second home run, to make the score 13-3.  Lombard homered in the seventh for the Tigers and the Twins scored their last run in the eighth on an error.

WP:  Mays (1-2).  LP:  Adam Bernero (2-6).  S:  None.

Notes:  Torii Hunter was given the day off, as Kielty played center field.  Cuddyer was in right.

Kielty raised his average to .328.  As you see above, he started with a home run, then tripled, then had a walk and two singles.  It does not look like there was any chance that he could've stretched the last single to a double to get the cycle--it's described as a "Ground Ball through Short RF" and Denny Hocking, who had been on first, stopped at second.

Cuddyer raised his average to .316.

Romero's ERA fell to 2.04.

Mays made his first start since April 14.  While it was nothing great, one assumes that at the time it was considered a success.  He was able to go six innings and throw ninety pitches.  He would remain in the rotation the rest of the season.

I have no memory that there was once a major league pitcher called Adam Bernero, but he actually played in at least part of seven major league seasons.  He was drafted twice, but did not sign either time and was signed as a free agent by the Tigers in May of 1999.  He had less than a year and a half in the minors before making his major league debut on August 1, 2000.  The Tigers, of course, were terrible in those years, and were giving a shot to anyone who even looked like he might be a major league pitcher.  He appeared in twelve games, four of them starts, and did as well as could be expected--4.19 ERA, 1.34 WHIP.  He went back to AAA for 2001 and had a bad year in Toledo (6-11, 5.13, 1.61 WHIP), despite which he was given a September call-up.  He came back to pitch extremely well in nine starts for AAA at the start of 2002, after which he was called up and spent the rest of the season in Detroit.  He was not very good, going 4-7, 6.20.  2003 was his only full season in the majors, and it was no better:  1-14, 5.87.  Not all of that was with the Tigers--he was traded to Colorado in mid-July.  If there's one thing a struggling pitcher probably doesn't need, it's to be traded to Colorado.  He did okay at AAA Colorado Springs, but when he was promoted to the Rockies at the start of July he was no better than he'd been before.  He moved on to Atlanta in 2005, to Philadelphia and Kansas City in 2006, to Boston in 2007, and to Pittsburgh in 2008.  His last major league appearance was for the Royals in 2006.  He pitched quite well in AAA throughout those years, which one assumes is why he kept getting signed.  His AAA stats are 25-25, 3.39, 1.27 WHIP.  In the majors, however, he was 11-27, 5.91, 1.50 WHIP.  He has remained in baseball, however, and in June of 2017 he was hired by the Toronto Blue Jays as a mental performance coach.

Record:  The Twins had won four consecutive games, six out of seven, and eight out of ten.  They were 58-41, in first place, leading Chicago by thirteen games.

Remodeled basement. Same half-baked taste.