February 17 in Baseball History

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1861 Joe Miller

Spent nearly two full decades playing minor league ball all over, but got a shot with Louisville in the American Association.  Unfortunately, his career numbers included a .214 batting average, which is why he spent so many years in the minors…

1861 Stump Wiedman

George Wiedman was a Rochester native who took regular turns on the mound for six teams in the 1880s, and (because he was a pretty fair fielder) would take a few turns in the outfield as needed.   He won 101 games, but lost 156 because he lost 20+ games five years in a row for Detroit.  His roughest season was likely 1886 – a year that Kansas City had a team in the NL – where he finished 12 – 36 on a team that went 30 – 91, starting in 40% of the team’s games and pitching in more than 427 innings.

Wiedman umpired briefly after his playing days, but not very long.  Instead he took charge of a resort near Rochester.  Cancer took him (technically, an operation to try to remove the tumor in his throat) before his 45th birthday.

Nemec, David (Editor). MLB Profiles 1871 – 1900

1871 Cy Bowen

Born Sutherland McCoy Bowen, Cy Bowen made two appearance, including a losing start, for the Giants in 1896.  Most of that year, though, he was pitching in the Atlantic League.  Though his tryout with the Giants was a failure, he continued to play in the minors for the next decade.

His baseball record PRIOR to joining the Giants is rather sparse, so there might be a research project out there for me.  He was a Hoosier – born in Kingston, IN and, after baseball, he returned home where he passed away in Greensburg, IN in 1925.

1885 Steve Evans

When Ron Hunt set the record for being hit by the most pitches, the record he broke belonged to this guy.  According to his SABR Bio (written by Paul and Eric Sallee), Steve Evans was a Cleveland native with a prankster heart; a pretty good right fielder who never seemed to take the game or himself too seriously.  He was a star for the two years he played in the Federal League, but his career ended without much fanfare after the 1917 season.

1890 Rivington Bisland

A smallish shortstop with a unique name – born in NYC but left this world while in Salzburg, Austria.

Bisland earned a single at bat with the Pirates in 1912 after a fine season with Springfield in the Central League but didn’t stick.  He played well at Atlanta in the Southern League and got a shot with the Browns in 1913, but that didn’t workout either – he batted .136.  After returning to Atlanta, he played until Cleveland came calling.  In 18 games, he batted .105.  Sent back to Atlanta, he hit .229 and called it a career.

There’s a Rivington Bisland III who is a well-respected shoutcaster for the professional video gaming circuits…  Same family?  He’s Rivington Bruce Bisland, while the ballplayer was Rivington Martin Bisland.

1892 Nemo Leibold

One of the good guys on the Black Sox, Leibold was a hustling outfielder who jumped into the American Association as a teen and to Cleveland in the AL very smoothly.  He had seasons where he’d hit .300, and others where he struggled to hit .220.  Moved to the White Sox in 1915, spent a couple of years with Boston and helped Washington win a pennant in 1924.  His speed and throwing arm were of value during his era, and was considered unique for his ability to throw well with both hands.

After his playing days were over, he managed and coached for two decades before putting away the spikes.  According to his SABR Bio (written by Gregory H. Wolf), he always felt like people gave him a raw deal because of his association with the Black Sox, even though he was not one of those involved in the fix.

Continuing with the theme of short baseball players (Leibold was 5-6) Harry Leibold became Nemo because of the Little Nemo comic strip – the handle was given to Leibold by Jack Lelivelt.

1892 Fred Brainard

Played with the Giants from 1914 to 1916, most of his playing time was with the 1915 squad where he appeared in 91 games and struggled to top the Mendoza Line.  (Had this utility type player been able to last longer, maybe we’d call it the Brainard Line).

Had a long and productive minor league career, though, playing at various levels until 1927.

1893 Wally Pipp

Answer to the trivia question “Who was the first Yankee to lead the AL in Home Runs?”  Pipp had a fine career as a first baseman for the Yankees when a 1925 slump, headaches, and a concussion ended his days in favor of Lou Gehrig.

Moved to the Reds, Pipp had three other decent years before leaving baseball for other pursuits.

1893 Eddie Onslow

Kind of a crazy MLB career…  Got a shot with the Tigers in 1912 and 1913 and wasn’t good enough to stick.  Played in two games for the Indians in 1918, and got one hit.  Back to the minors again.  Called up for nine games with the 1927 Senators.  Meanwhile, he spent FOREVER in the International League (five teams from 1913 to 1929, but the majority with Providence and Toronto) – a Stuffy McInnis type career (low power, fairly good batting averages), evidence he could make contact and work the count, and he must have had some defensive skill.  Lived a long life, too – passing away in 1981 at having hit 88 years old.

1895 Leon Carlson

“Swede” pitched three games for the Senators in 1920.  Started and ended his life in Jamestown, NY.

The Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame has a neat article about Carlson who claims that in his first and second relief appearances, the first player he faced was Babe Ruth.  The first time, Carlson fanned Ruth looking with the bases loaded and two outs.  The second time, a Carlson pitch hung too high and Ruth hit the ball out of town for a homer.

Some of this may be true – according to box scores found on Retrosheet.org, Carlson pitched 2.1 innings in his first outing and had a strikeout.  Ruth fanned twice in three at bats.  In his second outing, Carlson pitched six innings of relief.  Ruth tagged him for a homer, but it was in the eighth inning.  That third outing was mop up duty in a loss to the White Sox.  Carlson was lifted for a pinch hitter in the ninth.  His plate replacement?  Walter Johnson.

1896 Frank Emmer

A Crestline, OH native, Emmer got two shots with the Reds.  The first was in 1916 and he played in 42 games, mostly at shortstop but anywhere as required.  Then, he got a second shot in 1926, where he played half a season as the team’s mostly regular shortstop.  The second time, he improved his batting average by 50 points – to .196.

In between he played more than 1200 games of minor league ball all over the country at varying levels of success.  One year, he hit .330 with 32 homers for the Millers (1927) in Minneapolis.  He didn’t do this all the time, mind you.  Still, he had good power for a middle infielder.  He just didn’t hit any homers with the Reds.

1897 Ike Boone

One of the greatest hitters you may know little about.  He had two years as a regular in Boston where he hit .337 and .330 with fair power and twice as many walks as strikeouts.  Boston needed cash, though, so he was sold to the PCL.

Boone wasn’t much of a right fielder – big (sometimes heavy), slow, and error prone.  But he was a masher.  His career minor league average (admittedly incomplete) is about .370.

.370!

This includes five minor league batting crowns, batting .407 with 55 homers at Mission in the PCL in 1929, and once hitting .448 for Mission in just 83 games before being called back to the majors for Brooklyn (where he hit .297 in 40 games).  After going back and forth between Brooklyn and local high level minors, he played four years with Toronto in the International League and crushed it, winning the MVP after hitting .372 in 1934.  He was 37 years old.  He is a member of both the International League and Pacific Coast League Halls of Fame.

Bill Nowlin penned his bio for SABR.

1901 Eddie Phillips

Worcester, MA native who attended Boston College…  Phillips was a pretty good catcher who spent parts of six seasons in the majors.  His most active season was with the Pirates in 1931 where he appeared in 106 games, batting .232 with seven homers and 44 RBI.  He never was on the same team twice, though – one season each with Boston (NL), Detroit, Pittsburgh, New York (AL), Washington, and Cleveland.

1905 Ed Brandt

Spokane native who was among the best of the Boston Braves pitchers in the 1930s.  He won 121 games in his eleven-year career, the last three seasons he spent with Brooklyn and Pittsburgh.  After his career, he ran a hunting lodge in Montana.

He was discussing a minor accident with another driver when he was hit by another car on 1 November 1944 and died from those injuries – he was just 39 years old.

1907 Orlin Collier

East Prairie. MO native who got his shot with the 1931 Tigers after solid seasons with Evansville in the Three I league.  He made two starts for Detroit, losing one, and then went back to the minors for more than a decade.

Orlin and his family settled in Paragould, Arkansas where he opened a dry cleaning store.  He was in Memphis attending to his wife, who had just had surgery, when he suffered a massive heart attack and passed away on 09 September 1944 at the very young age of 37.  Ruth, his wife, died following the surgery, leaving their daughter Doris Anna to live with his sister who lived in Atlanta.

1912 Bruce Ogrodowski

For a couple of years in the middle 1930s, Ambrose Francis (Brusie or Oggie) Ogrodowski was a catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, even helping the team win a pennant in 1936. According to Dizzy Dean, who loved to throw only to Oggie, Ogradowski would yell out “Powder River” after many of Dean’s successful pitches – though Dean admitted he wasn’t sure why…  Most of the time, though, he was catching in the Pacific Coast League spending most of the 1940s in Sacramento and then San Francisco.  In 1935, while with Columbus, he once caught in 140 straight games.

Ogrodowski was an interesting guy – he once raised rabbits and goats in the area beyond left field where the Seals played.  He met his wife, Agnes, while playing in Sacramento and even though Branch Rickey tried to get him to return to St. Louis, Ogrodowski liked playing everyday in California.  And, people liked Bruce, too.

Ogrodowski got sick while managing in the the Northern League, causing a mild paralysis, and a few years later came down with Tuberculosis.  It eventually claimed his life on 05 March 1956, when police were called to check on Bruce after his not answering the phone when friends called over a three day period.

“Ex-Pheasant Boss Bruce Ogodowski Partly Paralyzed”, Sioux Falls Argus-Leader, 13 February 1953, Page 14.

Rice, Jack. “Daughter’s Happy Trip to Big League Father’s Past”, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 30 August 1972, Page 70.

“Bruce Ogrodowski Is Found Dead, Dean’s Batterymate With Cards”, Hartford Courant, 06 March 1956, Page 29.

“Ambrose ‘Bruce’ Ogrodowski”, Salem Daily Capital Journal, 13 June 1941, Page 5.

1914 Rod Dedeaux

For 45 years, Dedeaux was the head coach for USC baseball, winning eleven titles – including an amazing five straight to start the ’70s.

He had a major league life, too.  A New Orleans born kid, his family moved to the LA area, graduating from Hollywood HS.  He played baseball for three years at Southern Cal, and got a tryout with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1935, playing two games at short (he went 1 for 4 with an RBI).  Injured the following year while playing for Dayton, his playing days ended and his business days began.

He also coached the players who appeared in the movie “Field of Dreams.”

1917 Ed Chandler

Got in 15 games on the mound, one start, and lost his only decision for the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers.

Pinson was an Alabama native – and according to James Lincoln Ray’s SABR Bio, he might not have been born on this date (military forms say 1/31/1917).

He got a tryout and a made a minor league team, but they told him to do something else.  Instead, Chandler went to Idaho Southern and kept trying.  He served his country during World War II, came back and got a second chance, this time with the Dodgers.  It didn’t last, but he survived and was a fine minor league pitcher.  Later in life, he was a regular in amateur golf tournaments.

1921 Doyle Lade

Nicknamed Porky, Lade spent five seasons with the Cubs after World War II.  Before the war, he once threw a no-hitter to beat San Antonio, 1 – 0, with his own homer providing the score.

Spent two years after that in the PCL before returning to his native Nebraska.

1923 Bill Sommers

Lost four years of his baseball life to World War II, and even fought in the Battle of the Bulge.  He made it back, thankfully, and found his way to the 1950 St. Louis Browns, if only briefly.  Sommers was robbed of a grand slam in one game by Gene Woodling of the Yankees, which was probably the closest Sommers came to a homer.  (I think it happened on 18 June 1950 when he pinch hit and faced Joe Ostrowski, who had just replaced a tiring Tommy Byrne.) He batted .255 with 14 RBI in 65 games, playing both second and third base, but called it a career after his brief stay.  After baseball, Sommers spent his days in the printing press business.

1926 Jack Crimian

Crimian was a Philly native who made it to the big leagues with the Cardinals in 1951.  He didn’t stay, though, but got the attention of people when he was named MVP of the International League in 1955.  That year, he led Toronto with a 19 – 6, 2.10 mark.  Signed by the Kansas City A’s, he made 54 appearances there in 1956, and then 74 more with the Tigers in 1957.

When his career ended, he took up shop repairing cars.

1930 Roger Craig

Was a scholarship basketball player and baseball player at North Carolina State when he signed with the Dodgers after his freshman season.  He got the call in 1955, winning his first professional start.  Craig helped win a World Series for the Dodgers and was a regular pitcher for Los Angeles when he was crushed by Vada Pinson in a play at the plate.

At that point, the Dodgers allowed the wounded Roger Craig to be drafted by the expansion New York Mets, where he’d lose 127 games in two seasons.  Well, it seemed like it (actualy 15 – 46).  Craig even suffered through an 18 game losing streak in 1963.

Craig was eventually moved to St. Louis where he took a second World Series game away from the Yankees, contributing to the 1964 championship. Not a bad career, actually.

Except he was just getting started.  He was a pitching coach who helped put the split fingered fastball on the map, helping the 1984 World Series champion Detroit Tigers.  Then he was a successful manager for the San Fransisco Giants, winning the 1989 NL Crown.  Not a bad life for a kid from Durham, North Carolina.

1934 Willie Kirkland

A minor league superstar before joining the Giants in 1958, Willie Kirkland won a minor league batting crown (.360 – St. Cloud, 1954), a homer crown (40 – Sioux City, 1955), and had a 37 – 120 season in Minneapolis when the Giants decided they had seen enough to know he belonged.  Kirland once hit three straight homers off the White Sox and Cal McLish – all of them with two strikes.  After a fine MLB career, Kirkland was possibly more popular as a Japanese Slugger for six years in Hanshin.  He even speaks Japanese.

Kirland worked for GM as a security officer in Detroit.

1935 Whammy Douglas

Blind – wore a glass eye – but able to throw. Charles Douglass earned fame when he won 27 games in the Georgia-Florida league in 1954.  Making the Pirates for just one season, Douglass split six decisions in eleven outings for the Pirates in 1957.

After baseball, Douglass spent his days as a supervisor for a construction company in North Carolina.

1941 Dave Wissman

University of Bridgeport player who was signed by Pittsburgh in 1961 and snuck into the big leagues in 1964, where he managed to get four knocks in his sixteen MLB games.

Fair power, some speed – but not likely to take a job away from Clemente or Stargell – his career ended after an ordinary season with Toledo in the Detroit Tigers chain in 1967.

1944 Dick Bosman

A Kenosha, WI native signed by the Pirates in 1963.  A year later he was swiped by San Francisco and the following year Washington took him from the Giants.

In 1966, Bosman made the bigs and by 1969 he had worked his way into a regular rotation spot.  In fact, his 14 – 5 season with the Senators included winning the ERA crown for Washington.  He would have five seasons with double-digit wins but four seasons with double-digit losses, too.

A sore shoulder and a blood clot in his leg contributed to his team, now the Texas Rangers, sending him to Cleveland but he rewarded the Indians in some small part by tossing a no hitter to beat the Oakland As in 1974.  Had he not thrown wide on Sal Bando’s swinging bunt, it would have been a perfect game.  Bosman threw just 79 pitches.

Bosman was not a fastball guy – he was a sinker-slider type (called a Slurve by his minor league manager, Wayne Terwilliger).  After his playing days Bosman worked in coaching – first with kids, then at Georgetown, and finally in the majors as a longtime pitching coach.

Dale Voss wrote his SABR bio.

1951 Dave Roberts

Third baseman taken #1 out of Oregon by San Diego and put almost immediately into the starting lineup.  After initially struggling, he rebounded with a 21 – 64 – .286 season in 1973.  Such heady days were few – he spent time in AAA Hawaii or San Diego for most of the next four seasons because he could never hit consistently.

After a brief swap (back and forth) with Toronto, he was included in the trade that sent Oscar Gamble to Texas after the 1978 season, and then he was utility depth for the Astros and Phillies before his career ended in 1983.

1951 Mike Cosgrove

Hoston Astros reliever and swing man of the early and middle 1970s.  Won more than he lost; toward the end of his career he would be used as a fourth or fifth starter.

Cosgrove was a Phoenix native, even attended Phoenix College before being taken in the 2nd round of the 1970 draft.  Cincinnati drafted him in 1969 but Cosgrove chose college instead.  Had great K rates early in his career, but by 1976 he fanned just 34 guys in 89.2 innings while walking 58.  He must have been hurt at some point – went back to A ball to start 1977 and worked his way back to AAA before calling it a career.

1953 Jamie Easterly

Longtime Braves, Brewers, and Indians pitcher, Easterly appeared in 321 big league contests, covering about 600 innings of work and finished with a 4.62 ERA.  That’s remarkably high for a 13 year vet, don’t you think?

Well, for a chunk of his career he was playing in a park that didn’t help him.  And he played on a few teams that didn’t help him.  He hung around a long time, so he was probably somewhat better than his stats.  I should probably check that out one day.

1953 Jim Umbarger

Arizona State guy – the Rangers drafted him in the 16th round in 1974 (after passing on a #2 pick from Cleveland out of high school – he knew he was going to college and the only teams he didn’t want to play for were Cleveland or Atlanta).  Umbarger was a good control guy with a great curveball – but something changed after a 10 – 12 season (30 starts) with the Rangers in 1976.  Umbarger’s elbow started flaring up (a problem for the frequent curveball guys).  In 1977 he was traded during spring training for Claudell Washington (Rodney Scott was also moved with Umbarger) but five months later he was purchased by Texas.

He struggled some in 1979 and would spend the next four seasons bouncing around various AAA slots with Texas, Baltimore, the White Sox, and Pittsburgh but by then had lost his best fastball and was living on the margins.  Umbarger trivia: he pitched ten innings of relief in the longest professional baseball game in 1981.

He’s a retired golf instructor now, and has written a book about his tales on the links.

1954 Mike Macha

Rice grad who was drafted by the Braves in the first round (#10) of the 1976 January secondary draft.  Macha, who played third base and the outfield, moved up pretty quickly, earning a 6 game stint with the Braves in 1979.  Of course, the Braves had Bob Horner, so there weren’t more opportunities.  He was a Rule 5 steal for Toronto, who gave him a second look in 1980 but he went hitless in eight trips and was sold to Detroit.  And then he was gone.

Macha currently works for Green Ice Technology, making cooling systems more efficient.

1958 Mike Hart

Wisconsin grad taken by Seattle in the 1979 draft, Hart enjoyed two brief shots in the majors.  After four seasons at AAA, Minnesota gave him 13 games in 1984 and Baltimore gave him 34 games of action in 1987.  Hart had fair power and could work the count in his favor.  In his nine years in the minors, he walked 589 times while striking out just 487 times.  It just didn’t work out for him.

1958 Alan Wiggins

Quick outfielder turned second baseman who ignited the 1984 San Diego Padres batting leadoff in front of Tony Gwynn.  In the minors, he once stole 120 bases – in one season.

Wiggins was also a conflicted kid – raised by a single mom who missed his major league career, bright and engaging but also an introvert and an occasional abuser of cocaine and other drugs.  The drug use caught up with him, so instead of being remembered as a quick baserunner with a quick mind, he’s remembered for his quick exit.  Wiggins was the first player to have died from complications related to AIDS, passing away on 6 January 1991.  He was 32.

All three of his kids were basketball players, with Candace going the furthest – Stanford and the Minnesota Lynx.

1964 Mike Campbell

In my head, I remember a “future star” Topps card when I think of Mike Campbell.

Drafted by Seattle in the first round (#7) in the 1985 draft out of the University of Hawaii, Campbell had a couple of crazy win-loss records early in his minor league career.  He went 9 – 1 in 12 starts at Chattanooga and then 15 – 2 with a 2.66 ERA at Calgary in the PCL the next year.  Such heady marks earned Campbell a quick trip to Seattle where things didn’t go as well as he might have hoped.

Between 1987 and 1989, Campbell made 34 starts and went 8 – 16 with an ERA that kept rising (4.74, 5.89, 7.29).  From rising star, Campbell was now a baseball nomad – White Sox, Texas, San Diego, Chicago, Japan – spending nearly a decade at AAA and getting three other quick MLB trips before finishing his career with a couple of years in independent baseball.

To his credit – he never quit trying – right up to his time pitching for Lehigh Valley in 1999.  He survived a pair of shoulder surgeries and being the player to be named later in the Mark Langston/Randy Johnson deal.

1965 Jim Bowie

Born in Tokyo – yep – and went to LSU; Seattle took Bowie in the 12th round of the 1986 draft.  Played just six games for the Oakland As in 1994, getting three hits.

Unfortunately, just as he was getting rolling, MLB players went on strike…  Killed the momentum.  He spent a full season at AAA in 1995 but wound up in the Mexican League a year later and out of baseball after that.

Bowie wasn’t a bad minor league hitter – .288 in 1263 games – but with just a little power and not much speed.  He could field well enough, though, but your first baseman are usually impact hitters and Bowie wasn’t that.

1967 Lonnie Maclin

Cardinals farmhand of the 1990s who got one hit during a brief visit with the Redbirds in 1993.  His wikipedia page says he used to do standup comedy on the side.  A St. Louis native, went to St. Louis CC, and was drafted by the Cardinals in the third round of the secondary draft in 1986.

Still active in youth baseball thanks to a son who looks like a good young player and he runs a minority contracting firm in Florissant.  Recovered well from a stroke suffered in 2011.

1971 Danny Patterson

Late round draft pick who made good – Patterson was a 47th round pick by the Rangers in 1989.

Patterson could pitch – he threw strikes and could get batters to swing and miss.  As a long reliever with the Rangers in 1997, he went 10 – 6 with a 3.42 ERA.  That was his career peak, though, as he ended that season with rotator cuff issues.  Was part of the trade that  sent Juan Gonzalez to Detroit, had one more pretty good season there, but drifted some after that thanks to a balky elbow that needed surgery in 2002. Patterson was never the same after that and was out of the majors after 2004.

1976 Cody Ransom

I didn’t realize just how long this guy hung around the majors.  A professional bench player because he was good enough to play most anywhere in the field (usually as an infielder) and could hit for some power, Ransom started with San Fran in 2001.  Out of MLB for a couple of years, he got back in 2007 for Houston and became a nomad – Yankees, Phillies, Diamondbacks, Brewers, Padres, and Cubs.

Appeared in 389 games over his 11 seasons in the big leagues – 752 at bats and 30 career homers.  On the other hand – 274 career strikeouts.

His wikipedia page notes that he was one of the lucky kids who survived a van accident when his junior college team’s van blew a tire and crashed.  Two of his teammates died.

1976 Scott Williamson

Busy reliever and swingman for the Reds at the turn of the century, moved to Boston in time to get a ring though he was not one of the key members of that bullpen.  After that, he was in and out of action for the Cubs, Padres, and Orioles – with increasingly bad ERAs and walk rates.  That doesn’t help keep a career going and by 2007 he was gone from the bigs, spending three years in various minor league programs trying to get back.

Tulane and Oklahoma State guy – graduated from OSU and the Reds drafted him in round nine of the ’97 draft.  These days he’s a youth pitching coach in the Cincinnati area.

1977 Juan Padilla

4 – 1 in his 42 big league appearances, all in relief, and all between 2004 and 2005 with three teams.  Not a big strikeout guy, but he kept the ball around the plate.  The Twins drafted him out of Jacksonville University in 1998; took him a while to find his form.

Also a Tommy John surgery guy, which pretty much ended his career in 2006…

1979 Josh Willingham

A few guys get the term “professional hitter” added to his description and Willingham was one of those guys.  Came up with the Marlins in 2004 and impressed with his effort and at bats.  Not much of an outfielder, but he could grind out at bats, hit the long ball, and drive in runs.  From 2006 to 2014, he averaged more than twenty homers, peaking with a 35 – 110 – .260 year with Minnesota in 2012.  Hit doubles, got hit by pitches, and worked the count – even though he struck out more than you’d like.  A valuable player, good in the clubhouse and with the press, and as someone who lives in South Florida, I miss him as a player.

1981 Andrew Brown

Deltona, FL native drafted by the Braves out of high school in 1999.  Didn’t take long for him to miss a season with injury (2000) but came back to form by 2002 – I remember watching him pitch for Vero Beach where he was occasionally dominant.  He dealt with elbow injuries again in 2003 but kept going – made the MLB roster for Cleveland in 2005 but was never allowed to pitch.

Finally got that cup of coffee with the Indians in 2006.  Moved to San Diego and then Oakland (in the Milton Bradley trade).  Wasn’t too bad in 2007 but his control got the best of him in 2008 and it was over.  Missed the 2009 season; tried a comeback in 2010 but it didn’t work out.

1982 Brian Bruney

Reliever of the previous decade, had a winning streak that lasted a few seasons (he went 3 – 0 in 2008 and 5 – 0 in 2009 with the Yankees…).  A bit wild (usually around 5 or 6 walks per 9 innings) but with a big fast ball, he spent time with Arizona, New York, Washington, and the White Sox before it was all over.  Hasn’t pitched in MLB since 2012.

1987 Danny Farquhar

Toronto prospect who made good with the Mariners for a few years…

Farquhar was a 10th round pick in 2008, but didn’t hang around long as he was included in the deal for Oakland outfielder Rajai Davis after the 2010 season.  Oddly, Toronto got him back for David Purcey as the 2011 season kicked off.  He was a waiver wire pickup twice, and then Seattle got him from the Yankees in the Ichiro deal.  Most recently, he was picked up by Tampa in a multi-player deal after the 2015 season.

Anyway – he’s actually a pretty good pitcher, with high strikeout rates and reasonably good control.  After a pretty good 2013 and 2014, he had a rough 2015, losing eight of nine decisions out of the pen, including four straight the last week of the season.  Had a much better year in 35 appearances for Tampa last year (despite making, what, four trips back to AAA Durham) and enters 2017 with a shot at an increased workload.

OBITUARIES:

1895 Andrew Thompson
1909 Jim Burns
1910 Horatio Munn
1915 Jersey Bakley
1920 Ray Boyd
1923 George Meakim
1927 Harry Little
1933 Harry Smith
1935 James Graham
1936 Tom York
1941 Happy Iott
1950 Jack Dalton
1956 Kip Selbach
1961 Doc Johnston
1963 Lee Thompson
1965 Larry Gilbert
1966 Finners Quinlan
1972 Lew Malone
1975 George Twombly
1982 Nestor Chylak
1985 George Washington
1986 Red Ruffing
1989 Lefty Gomez
1990 Larry Cox
1996 Andy Lapihuska
2000 Turkey Tyson
2003 Steve Bechler

Died of heat stroke during spring training in Fort Lauderdale and it was likely tied to the use of ephedrine, which was subsequently banned.  He was 23, recently married, and had a child on the way…  Bechler was a big, funny fellow who came to camp carrying a few extra pounds after making the bigs briefly the previous September.

2012 Howie Nunn
2016 Tony Phillips
2016 Brock Pemberton

YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE!!!

1943 Joe DiMaggio signs a contract with the US Army’s Air Forces. He misses the next three years in the majors but, for the most part, remains in the United States and out of harm’s way.

TRANSACTION WIRE:

1937 The Yankees purchase Babe Dahlgren from the Boston Red Sox.  And yet not one mention of the Curse of the Babe Dahlgren.

1977 Texas acquires Sandy Alomar from the Yankees for infielders Greg Pryor and Brian Doyle.

1990 New York signs amateur free agent Mariano Rivera.  That worked out pretty well…

1997 Cincinnati signs free agent outfielder/cornerback Deion Sanders.  Sanders plays much of 1997, hitting .273 and stealing a career high 56 bases.  Sanders didn’t play baseball in 1996.

1998 The Mets sign amateur free agent outfielder Nelson Cruz.

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