Saturday, July 23, 2011

Birthdays of the Week July 17-23

July 17
1972 Topps #167 Deron Johnson
Deron was born in 1938 in San Diego, CA. He was signed as a free agent by the Yankees in 1956. He was mainly and infielder (1st and 3rd) who had a 16-year career. In addition to the Phillies he played for the Yankees, Royals, Reds, Braves, A's, Brewers, Red Sox, and White Sox. Whew! He had a career BA of .244 and hit 245 home runs. Johnson was serving as a coach with California when he was diagnosed with lung cancer, which claimed his life on April 23, 1992, at the age of 53.

July 18
1998 Scoremasters #36 Mike Greenwell
Gator was born in 1963 in Louisville, KY. He was the Red Sox 3rd round draft pick in 1982 and played his entire 12-year career there. An outfielder, he had a career batting average of .303 with 130 home runs. According to Wikipedia, he obtained his nickname in spring training one year when he captured a alligator, taped it's mouth shut and put it in teammate Ellis Burks locker.

July 19
2000 Metal Emerald #250 Rick Ankiel
Rick was born in 1979 in Fort Pierce, FL. He was the Cardinals 2nd round draft pick in 1997. Although not as big a phenom as Stephen Strasburg (see below), he was still a highly regarded prospect who had a big impact on the hobby. He had an 11-7 record in 2000, his first full season, with 194 strikeouts. In the 2000 playoffs however, he completely lost the ability to throw strikes. He went back to the minor leagues in an unsuccessful attempt to regain his pitching. In 2005, he switched to the outfield. He returned to the majors in 2007 as an outfielder for the Cardinals. He currently plays for the Nationals.

July 20
2010 Bowman Draft Gold #1 Stephen Strasburg
Stephen was born in 1988 in San Diego, CA. He was the Nationals #1 draft pick in 2009 and made his major league debut on June 8, 2010. To say that Strasburg was a phenom is to understate his impact on the game. Sports Illustrated called his debut "the most hyped pitching debut the game has ever seen." He went 5-3 in 2010 before being shut down by an injury. He had Tommy John surgery requiring 12-18 months of rehab. He was also a big phenomenon in the baseball card hobby with people paying incredible amounts for autograph cards and other rare cards.

July 21
2008 Upper Deck UD Game Materials 1999 #99 C. C. Sabathia

Carsten Charles
was born in 1980 in Vallejo, CA. He was the Indians 1st round draft pick in 1998. He pitched 7 years for the Indians before being traded to the Brewers in 2008. After the 2008 season he sighed a $161 million, 7-year contract with the Yankees. Including this season, he has a career record of 171-93 with an ERA of 3.50. He is a 5-time All-Star and won the AL Cy Young Award in 2007. He is also one of the best hitting pitchers today with a career batting average of .250 with 3 home runs.

July 22
1992 Upper Deck #99 Dave Stieb
Dave was born in 1957 in Santa Ana CA. He was drafted by Blue Jays in the 5th round of the 1978 amateur draft. Dave pitched 15 of his 16 years for the Blue Jays. He was one of the most dominating pitchers in the 1980s. His career record was 176 wins and 136 loses with an ERA of 3.44. He was a 7-time All-Star and was named the AL TSN Pitcher of the Year in 1982.

July 23
1990 Topps All Stars #11 Don Drysdale
Don was born in 1936 in Van Nuys, CA. He was signed as an amateur free agent by the Dodgers in 1954. He pitched his entire 14-year career for the Dodgers, 2 years in Brooklyn, the rest in LA. He was one of the most dominating pitchers in the 1960s. During his career he had 209 wins vs 169 loses with a career ERA of 2.95. He was an 8-time All-Star and won the NL Cy Young Award in 1962 when he was 25-9 with a ERA of 2.83. He won 3 World Series with the Dodgers. Don was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1984. After his career he became a broadcaster. He died in 1983 of a heart attack. He was found in his hotel room in Montreal where he was to cover the Dodgers-Expos game later that day.

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