Friday, May 27, 2011

Birthdays May 22-28

May 22
2002 Topps Gallery #101 Jose Mesa
"Joe Table" was born in 1966 in Pueblo Viejo, Dominican Republic. He was a free agent signing by the Blue Jays in 1981. He started his career in 1987 as a starter with the Orioles but was converted to a reliever in 1994. His best year was 1995 when he saved 46 games in 62 appearances. He was an All-Star that year and came in 2nd in the Cy Young voting. The Phillies acquired him as a free agent after the 2000 season. In 3 years (2001-2003) with the Phillies he had 111 saves in 170 games. He retired in 2007 with 321 saves.

May 23
2009 Topps 206 Jordan Zimmermann
Jordan was born in 1986 in Auburndale, WI and is the youngest player born this day. He shares a birthday with Hall of Famer Zach Wheat born almost 100 years before in 1888 (but I don't have any Zach Wheat cards, do you?). Jordan was the Nationals 2nd round draft pick in 2007. He made is major league debut in 2009, making the Nationals the first team in baseball history to have a player named Zimmerman and a player named Zimmermann in the roster at the same time. In 32 starts, Zimmermann is 6 and 12.

May 24
2000 Crown Royale #58 Brad Penny
Brad was born in 1974 in Blackwell, OK. He was the Diamondbacks 5th round pick in 1996. He has a career record of 112-92 over his 11-year career and is currently pitching for the Tigers. He was 14-10 with the 2003 Marlins who won the World Series that year over the Yankees. He was the starting pitcher for the NL in the 2006 All-Star game where he struck out the side (Ichero, Derek Jeter and David Ortiz) in the 1st inning.

May 25
2005 Studio Portraits Zenith White #92 Miguel Tejada
Miggy was born in 1974 in Bani, Dominic Republic. He was originally signed as a free agent by the A's in 1993. He is a 6-time All-Star who has played for the A's (1997-2003), Orioles (2004-2007), Astros (2008-2009). Since leaving the Astros he's been back with the O's, with the Padres and with the Giants this year. He's been mainly a starting shortstop. He has a career batting average of .286 and has hit 301 home runs.

May 26
1989 Donruss #533 Darrell Evans
Howdy Doody (really?) was born in 1947 in Pasadena CA. He was the 7th round draft pick of the Kansas City A's in 1967. Darrell had a long 20-year career playing for the Braves, the Giants, and the Tigers. He hit 414 home runs with a career .248 batting average. He was a 2-time All-Star and won the World Series with the Tigers in 1984. Evans was the first player to hit 40 home runs in a season in both leagues.

May 27
1990 Topps #414 Frank Thomas
It's hard to believe that two great players like Frank Thomas and Jeff Bagwell were born on exactly the same day. Both played 1st base. Both players were among the elite of power hitters through the 1990s and 2000s and neither was ever implicated in steroid use. I couldn't decide which one to feature, especially as both are among my favorite players, so I'll feature them both. I decided to show this particular Thomas card because one of the most famous and most rare error cards is a misprint of this card missing his name.

Big Hurt was born in 1968 in Columbus GA. He was the White Sox #1 draft pick in 1989 and played most of his career in Chicago. Throughout his career his stats were always similar to Bagwell but Frank managed to play a few more years. He ended up with 521 home runs and 1,704 RBIs with a career batting average of .301. I believe that he is a sure bet for the Hall of Fame.

May 27
1991 Stadium Club #388 Jeff Bagwell
Baggy was born in 1968 in Boston MA. He was the Red Sox #4 draft pick in 1989. In what, in retrospect, may have been one of the most lopsided trades in baseball history, the Astros acquired Jeff from the Red Sox in 1990 for pitcher Larry Anderson. It was the last transaction of his career as he played for the Astros until injuries forced him to retire after the 2006 Spring Training season. I was lucky enough to see him play in a spring training game that year. Jeff was the 1991 NL Rookie of the Year and the NL MVP in 1994. He was a 4-time All-Star. In his 15-year career he hit 449 home runs, drove in 1,529 RBIs and had a .297 career batting average. Although he was not elected to the Hall of Fame this year (his first year of eligibility) he is sure to get in. I have 431 Jeff Bagwell cards scanned and it was sure tough to decide which one to post. According to his nickname was BagPipes but in 10 years of watching Jeff play I never heard anyone call him that.

May 28
1988 Fleer Update #U-93 Kirk Gibson
Kirk was born in 1957 in Pontiac MI. He was the Tigers #1 draft pick in 1978. He had a 17-year career, 12 0f them in two stints with the Tigers. He played for the Dodgers in 1988-1990 and is probably best known for the home run he hit off Dennis Eckersley in the 1988 World Series which sparked the Dodgers to win the series in 5 games over the A's. It was the only World Series appearance he ever had. He was sick and had two bad legs and I remember watching him limping around the bases with fists pumping. Wikipedia has an entire article on it here.

No comments: