It was a pretty good week for birthday hunting. Two Hall of Famers and two probable future Hall of Famers. And a Phillie!
2011 Topps Gypsy Queen #26 Adrian Gonzalezbaseball-reference.com lists 30 players born on this date and I hardly knew any of them. I almost went with Orestes Destrade but then saw Adrian Gonzales, who is actually a pretty good player. Gonzo was born in 1962 in San Diego, CA, where he's played most of his career. He was the first pick of the 2000 draft, chosen by the Marlins. The Marlins traded him to the Rangers for Ugueth Urbina in 2003. He's played 2 years for the Rangers, 5 years for the Padres and now plays for the Red Sox. The Padres traded him to the Red Sox for a bunch of minor leaguers. He is a 3-time All-Star with 2 Gold Gloves. At this moment he is leading the AL in RBIs with 29.
Is every player named Gonzales called Gonzo?
1993 Studio #100 Tony GwynnMr. Padre was born in 1960 in Los Angeles, CA. Prince Fielder was also born on this date but I got to go with the Hall of Famer. Tony played his entire 2-year career with the Padres and has a remarkable career batting average of .338. That's good enough for 19th place on the all time batting average list and the only player in the top 30 of that list to have played his entire career during my lifetime. He was a 15-time All-Star, won 5 Gold Glove and 7 Silver Slugger Awards. He was elected into the Hall of Fame in 2007, the first year he was eligible.
1987 Topps Robbie Thompson #658Robbie was born in 1962 in West Palm Beach FL. He was the Giants #1 pick (2nd overall) in 1983. He finished 2nd in the NL ROY voting, losing out to Todd Worrell. Does anybody really remember who finished 2nd in Rockie of the Year voting? Although a he was a great defensive 2nd baseman he was not a great offensive player, except for 1993 when he batted .312. He was also an All-Star that year and won a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger. He signed a 3-year contract worth $12 million after that season second highest paid 2nd baseman after Ryne Sandberg. Unfortunately he spent most of that 3 years injured and retired in 1996.
Topps 206 Mini Piedmont #251 Francisco CorderoCoCo was born in 1975 in Dominican Republic. He was a free agent signing by the Tigers in 1994. He has pitched for the Tigers, Rangers and Brewers. Currently he is in the last year of a 4-year, $46 million contract with the Reds. He is a reliever, primarily a closer. He is second in active players in saves with 296. He is not likely to ever catch the current active leader, Mariano Rivera who has 572. He is currently #22 in the all-time saves list. He's averaged 38 saves/year for the Reds. At that rate he'll be #11 on the list. Another 7 saves after that and he'll crack the top 10.
2009 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions #62 Yogi BerraLawrence Peter Berra was born in 1925 in St. Louis, MO. He played his entire 19-year career for the Yankees from 1946 to 1965. He was elected into the Hall of Fame as a player in 1972. He was an 18-time All-Star (some of those years were when there were two All-Star games a year) and a 3-time MVP. Yogi was also a manager (3 years with the Yankees and 4 years with the Mets) and a coach. He was also famous for fracturing the English language. My favorite saying by him is "90% this game is half mental".
2002 UD Authentics #6 Barry ZitoBarry was born in 1978 in Las Vegas NV. He was the A's #1 pick in 1999. He was a pretty good pitcher early in his career which prompted me to collect his cards. He finished 2002 with a 23-5 record and the Cy Young Award. It probably didn't hurt that the A's won 103 games that year. In 2006 he signed a 7-year, $126 million contract with the Giants. It is probably not an understatement that his performance with the Giants has been disappointing. He has a 40-58 record from 2007 with the Giants. Although the Giants won the World Series last year they did it without Zito who was left off the post season roster.
2010 Topps National Chicle #122 Ray HalladayDoc was born in 1977 in Denver CO. He was the Blue Jays number 0ne pick (17th overall) in 1995 and made his major league debut in 1998. He pitched for 12 years for the Blue Jays, with an impressive 148-76 record. He shows no signs of slowing down with the Phillies. He won 21 games for the Phillies in 2010 and his second Cy Young Award. His first was with the Jays in 2003 when he won 22 games. When Roy Oswalt came to the Phillies last year, the pitching staff was nicknamed the H2O rotation (for Halladay-Hamels-Oswalt).