Baseball History for December 13

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1860 Leonidas Lee

Born Leonidas Pyrrhus Funkhouser – it appears that he was hiding his baseball ambitions from his father, or somebody, as he was still in college (not graduating until June, 1878) – and according to an alumni blog, returned to play his senior year for Princeton after he was given a tryout by St. Louis. Lee/Funkhouser was a Princeton kid who played but four games for the St. Louis Browns in 1877, getting five hits in eighteen at bats.

1868 Bill Everitt
1870 Ernest “Kid” Mohler
1873 Jack Taylor
1876 Charles “Rube” Kisinger
1877 Frank Hershey
1877 Leo Fishel
1878 Lyndon Earn “Mike” Welday
1882 Gene Good
1887 Frederick “Spec” Harkness
1889 Fritz Coumbe
1891 Bob Wright
1892 Ivan Bigler
1894 Stuart Louis “Larry” Jacobus
1896 Denny Williams
1899 William Herbert “Buckshot” May
1903 Al Smith
1904 Bill Windle
1909 Heber Hampton “Dick” Newsome
1913 Frank Joseph “Scat” Metha
1916 Lou Thuman
1916 Hank Majeski
1923 Larry Doby
1924 George Shuba
1926 Carl Erskine
1928 Joe Landrum
1929 Billy Loes
1931 Don Erickson
1931 Wycliffe Nathaniel “Bubba” Morton
1935 Joe Christopher
1935 Lindy McDaniel
1936 J. C. Martin
1937 Ron Taylor
1940 Nate Oliver
1942 Fergie Jenkins
1947 Dave Hamilton
1955 Paul Boris
1956 Dale Berra
1956 Jon Perlman
1960 Jeff Robinson
1964 Steve Wilson
1967 Mike Mordecai

Onetime Braves, Expos and Marlins infielder who currently handles minor league instruction for the Blue Jays.

You wouldn’t get this from his career record (.244 with 24 homers in ten seasons), but he was fearless at the plate and had a number of big hits.  His first career hit was a homer, and he used to get tons of key hits with the Marlins, including a post Bartman play double that buried the Cubs in Game Six of the 2003 World Series.

1969 Doug Saunders

Mets farmhand – spent forever with them before getting a short look with the club in 1993.  Must have been a great fielding infielder or a unique personality because, well, he couldn’t hit and wasn’t really a threat to run.

Not knowing any better, I bet he’s coaching somewhere and really good at it.

1971 Greg Mullins

North Florida kid – got signed as a free agent by the Brewers in 1995, snuck into the majors for two games totalling one inning in 1998.  He had one strikeout, one hit batter, one hit allowed, but no runs scored on him.  Then he retired.

1975 Matt LeCroy

Clemson grad – a catcher who could hit but over time lost his ability to throw…

He was initially drafted by the Mets in the second round of the 1994 draft, but he went to college.  When drafted in the first round by Minnesota in 1997, he jumped at the chance to play.

Could he hit?  Sure thing – 30 homers in the minors in 1999, 20 of then for Edmonton in 2001.  Brought to the majors, he hit .260 in 63 games in 2002 and .287 with 17 homers in 107 games for the Twins in 2003.  After six solid seasons as a hitter, he was signed by the Nationals where something changed – mostly his ability to throw – 57 of the last 63 runners who tried to steal a base were successful.  He didn’t enough chances to hit in Washington and was allowed to leave after the 2006 season.  The Twins took him back in 2007 but he saw little action.  His career ended with 60 homers in about 1500 career at bats, and a .260 batting average.

Lecroy wasn’t done with baseball, though – he became a minor league coach and manager in the Washington chain, and even spent a year with the Nationals as a pitching coach.

1976 Josh Fogg

A Florida kid – Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale and a Florida Gator – who was drafted by the White Sox in the third round back in 1998.

It took three years for Fogg to find his way to the big leagues, but before you knew it he was traded to the Pirates with Kip Wells for a couple of people that must have been better regarded prospects than they seem today (Lee Evans, Todd Ritchie).

For four years, he was a competent starter for some weaker Pirate teams, winning 10 – 12 games from 2002 to 2004 before falling off to a 6 – 11 5.13 mark in 2005.  Part of Fogg’s problem was a lack of any power – his career K/9 rate is under 5.  Still, he had two good years with the Rockies, winning 21 games over two seasons and even winning two playoff starts and getting a World Series start against Boston in 2007 (he was clobbered).  The Reds tried him in 2008 but by then he was likely damaged goods.  Fogg made just 14 starts for the Reds, resigned with Colorado where he pitched out of the pen (his most successful season, based on ERA), but was done soon after that.

1982 Ricky Nolasco

One time Cubs farm hand, he was shipped to the Marlins as one of three young arms for Juan Pierre.  The slider/curveballer came back from injury to have a stunning 2008 season, winning 15 games and pitching a career high 212.1 innings.  Though he continued winning, he was less effective – going from a solid number three type starter to an innings eating fourth or fifth starter.  In fact, he was demoted to AAA in 2010 to get his stuff together.

Since then, he’s pitched between 190 and 210 innings nearly every year since 2013, not always for the best of teams (Minnesota, Los Angeles Angels), but churning five or six innings most starts while getting swatted around to increasingly higher ERAs.  He’s still got a winning record, though – 108 – 103 after eleven seasons (279 starts).  And, I believe he remains the winningest pitcher in Marlins history as well as king of career Ks.

1987 Aneury Rodriguez

Good sized Dominican pitcher orignally developed by the Rockies and then Tampa Bay.  Rodriguez made the bigs in 2011 with the Astros at a time when they didn’t win a lot of games.  Rodriguez didn’t help (or wasn’t helped) – he went 1 – 6 in 43 games (eight starts) but showed some skill (fair control and a strikeout pitch).  It wasn’t good enough to keep him around – nor was a 6.60 ERA in the PCL in 2012 (Aneury made one start for Houston, and it was a good one, but that was it).  Given a chance to pitch in Korea he took it, but it didn’t save his career and with the exception of a couple of attempts to pitch in the Dominican winter leagues, he’s been out of baseball.

1989 Tyler Pastornicky

Blue Jays draft pick in 2008 right out of high school in his hometown of Bradenton.  Blessed with good speed, he was first noticed for swiping 51 bags for Low A Lansing (he was a Lug Nut!) before getting a promotion to Dunedin.  He was tossed in the trade that sent Yunel Escobar to Toronto from Atlanta and got to the big leagues with the Braves in 2012.

While his hitting has improved in the minors (he got to .314 in 2011 if you combine AA and AAA level play), it hasn’t kept him in the majors.  A knee injury that killed a couple of months of both the 2013 and 2014 seasons didn’t help, and although he was a productive AAA player in 2015 he’s being treated as organizational depth.  He was not an active player in 2016.

His dad, Cliff, was a third baseman for the Royals for two weeks in 1983.

OBITUARIES:

1904 Bob Murphy
1910 Dan McGann
1918 Frank Arellanes
1931 Al Schulz
1934 Doc Shanley
1941 Roy Witherup
1944 Lloyd Christenbury
1944 Welcome Gaston
1949 Orth Collins
1963 Joe Jaeger
1964 Hank Erickson
1969 Jack Kibble
1970 Chick Gandil
1970 George Baumgardner
1971 Mike Ryba
1981 Jack Snyder
1993 Billy Shantz
2000 Jake Jones
2004 Andre Rodgers

YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE!!!

1911 James Gaffney and John Montgomery Ward purchase the Boston NL franchise and name it the Braves, in part, because Gaffney is linked to Tammany Hall.

2007 The Mitchell Report is released, including the names of at least 89 MLB players who allegedly used PEDs.

TRANSACTION WIRE:

1906 Detroit purchases outfielder/first baseman Claude Rossman from Cleveland.

1907 The Giants send Frank Bowerman, George Browne, Bill Dahlen, Cecil Ferguson and Dan McGann to Boston for Al Bridwell, Fred Tenney, and Tom Needham.

1930 The Cards purchase George Sisler from the Braves.

1954 Brooklyn sends Billy Cox and Preacher Roe to the Orioles for two minor leaguers and $50,000.

1956 In a trade that really never happened, the Dodgers sent Jackie Robinson to the Giants, but Robinson never reported.

1969 Chicago sends Gary Peters and Don Pavletich to Boston for Garry Janeski.  That seems pretty lopsided, huh?

1974 A day my mother hated…  The Cubs released her favorite player, Carmen Fanzone.

1993 The Marlins sign Antonio Alfonseca, the six-fingered reliever, from Montreal in the Rule 5 draft.

1995 Pittsburgh unloads Jay Bell and Jeff King to the Royals for four players (including Joe Randa, who could play a little).  The Royals made out like bandits on that one…

1999 – The Marlins are busy – one winner, one loser.  After signing Johan Santana from Houston in the Rule 5 Draft, they send Santana to Minnesota for a minor leaguer and a seafood recipe.  Ouch.

On the other hand, they also picked up Brad Penny and Vlad Nunez from Arizona for Matt Mantai.

2001 The Mets add Roberto Alomar and Mike Bacsik (and a minor leaguer) for the low price of Matt Lawton, Alex Escobar, and three others – two of whom were added later.

2003 St. Louis sends J. D. Drew and Eli Marrero to Atlanta for Jason Marquis, Adam Wainwright, and Ray King.

2005 The Dodgers add Andre Ethier through a trade with Oakland, sending the As Milton Bradley and Antonio Perez.

Free Agent Signings!

1982 – Floyd Bannister (White Sox)
1996 – Roger Clemens (Toronto)
1999 – Greg Vaughn (Tampa Bay)
2004 – Roger Clemens (Houston)
2007 – Alex Rodriquez (New York Yankees)

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