Saturday, July 9, 2011

Birthdays July 3 - July 9

July 3
1993 Bowman #701 Felipe and Moises Alou
Moises was born in 1966 in Atlanta, GA. He was the Pirates 1st round draft pick in 1986. He started his career with the Pirates in 1990 but was traded to the Expos later in the year where he played for his father. He played for 17 years and finished his career with a .303 career BA, 332 home runs, 1,287 RBIs, and 2,341 hits. He was in the right place at the right time and won a World Series ring with the 1997 Marlins. He was a 6-time All-Star. All in all, I'd say a good candidate for the Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible in 2013.

July 4
1976 Topps #656 White Sox/Chuck Tanner
Chuck was born in 1928 in New Castle, PA. He was signed as a free agent by the Boston Braves in 1946. He had an undistinguished 8-year career as an outfielder and pinch-hitter. He is best know, of course, as a manager. From 1970 through 1988 he had a manager job (White Sox 1970-1975), A's (1976), Pirates (1977-1985), and Braves (1986-1988). I mostly remember him as the Pirates manager, during those years when there was a great cross-state rivalry between the Pirates and Phillies. His "We Are Family" Pirates won the World Series in 1979. I had missed this news, but Tanner passed away this past February.

July 5
1989 Donruss #434 Rich Gossage
Goose was born in 1951 in Colorado Springs, CO. He was the 9th round draft pick of the Chicago White Sox in 1970. In his 22-year career (1972-1994) he played for the White Sox, the Pirates, the Yankees, the Padres, the Cubs, the Giants, the Rangers, the A's, and the Mariners. He was one of the top relief pitchers through the 1980s, compiling 310 career saves. I believe he also lead the majors in wild facial hair several times. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2008.

July 6
1997 Score Premium Stock # 237 Lance Johnson
One Dog was born in 1963 in Cincinnati, OH. He was the 6th round draft pick for the Cardinals in 1986 and made is major league debut with them in 1987. In his 14-year career he played for the Cardinals, the White Sox, the Mets, the Cubs, and the Yankees. Johnson is known for hitting triples and is only one of 4 players to lead a league in triples 5 times. He finished his career with 117 triples, a career batting average of .291 and 327 stolen bases.

July 7
1997 Donruss Franchise Features #4 Chuck Knoblauch
Chuck was born in 1968 in Houston, TX. He was the Twins #1 draft pick in 1989. He was the AL Rookie of the Year in 1991 and helped lead the Twins to a World Series win that year. He was a 4-time All-Star. He played for the Twins through 1997. He signed a $24MM contract with the Yankees in 1998. His last year was in 2002, with the Royals. He had a career .289 BA, with 98 home runs. According to Wikipedia, he currently lives in the Houston area and has no interest in returning to baseball in any capacity.

July 8
1990 Upper Deck #345 Jerome Walton

Jerome was born in 1965 in Newnan, GA. He was the Cubs 2nd round draft pick in 1986 and made his debut with the Cubs in 1989. He had a fabulous rookie season (including a 30-day hitting streak) and was the NL Rookie of the Year. Unfortunately, he joined the legion of MLB players who don't live up to the promise of their rookie years. Although he played for 10 years, he only appeared in 598 games (most of those games in just 4 of those years).

July 9
1989 Topps #168 Willie Wilson
Willie was born in 1955 in Montgomery AL. He's one of only 7 players born within my lifetime on this date. Willy was with the Royals team that lost the 1980 World Series to the Phillies, so he has a special place in my heart. He had a pretty good year in 1980, leading the league in runs (133), hits (230) and triples (15). He batted .326 for the season and finished 4th in the MVP voting. In 1983, Wilson and 3 Royals teammates (Willie Aikens, Vida Blue and Jerry Martin) were involved in a drug scandal. They were convicted of attempting to purchase cocaine, becoming the first active MLB players to serve jail time. Wilson served 81 days in jail in 1984, but was able to return to the Royals before the end of the season.

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