Golden Gate Gets a New Span

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No, it’s not a new span for one of the many bridges out there in earthquake country. It’s Denard Span signing on with the Giants on a 3-year deal. Somehow, neither the Mets or Yankees, both of whom could use a new outfielder got Span.

His given name is Keiunta Denard Span, and he hails from the nation’s capital where he has labored the last 3 years. He’ll be 32 next month. Labored is the right word, especially for last year when back and hip trouble kept him off the field most of the season. The Twins drafted him in round 1 in 2002 right out of high school. He made the show in 2008 when Michael Cuddyer went on the disabled list. Had this not happened Span could have played in the Olympics in 2008.  In 2009 he got both the first regular season hit and the first postseason hit at the New Yankee Stadium. The Twins dealt him to the Nationals before 2013, and now he’s off to San Francisco. One minor issue has to be mentioned-the Giants already have a center fielder, Angel Pagan. Neither Span nor Pagan has played left field in years, but one will have to assuming Span stays healthy.

To begin today’s birthdays, Jeff Francoeur is 32. The Braves drafted him in the first round in 2002 right out of high school, thus keeping him off Jack Leggitt’s team at Clemson, where he would have gone. He joined the major league team at 21 in 2005. His first 3 years were his best, including a gold glove in 2007. But after struggling with the Braves he went to the Mets in 2009, and has kept the post office busy trying to forward his mail ever since. He had his best year in ages this past season with the Phillies, including pitching the only scoreless inning of a game they lost 19–3 to the Orioles.

Mike Cameron is 43. He’s one of a small handful of major leaguers to hit 4 home runs in a game, which he did in 2002. That was as a Mariner, for whom he played the longest in his career, 4 seasons.

Bruce Sutter is 53 today. He led his league in saves 5 times and was an All-Star 6 times. He excelled with the Cubs and Cardinals, but found his career shortened by shoulder problems that even 3 operations couldn’t remedy. He made the Hall of Fame in 2006.

Our last baseball birthday comes from the department of great names. Bud Weiser was born on this day in 1891 and died in 1961. not the beer, that Budweiser is flourishing nicely. The one I refer to is Harry Budson Weiser who played two years with  the Phillies. While he never appeared in the bigs after 1916, he was in the minors until 1928.

There are two birthdays today that have nothing at all to do with baseball. Elvis Presley was born this day in 1935. Some years before that, a child was born without whom this column could never have been written. Though she didn’t enjoy baseball at all, I owe her everything. Happy Birthday, Mom. R I P     Happy birthday to all today’s baseball men who share it.

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