Birthday Cakes Aplenty on a November Monday

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Hi all.  There are a number of  birthdays to share on this Monday, the day on which the Rookie of the Year award will be presented (6 PM Eastern.)

The Indians’ shortstop Francisco Lindor is all of 23 today.  Can you imagine playing a pulsating World Series, (particularly game 7) before_  turning 23? The Indians took him in round 1 of the 2011 draft with the 8th pick in America. That’s how bad they were just 6 years ago, and now look. Had they not drafted him Lindor was set to play shortstop for Mike Martin at Florida State.
Admittedly it’s a small sample but he’s hit over .300, been an All-Star and won a gold glove in a career that began in June of 2015, two months before my blog and the group that sprung from it were ever thought of. He was second in the 2015 Rookie of the Year voting, to fellow Puerto Rican shortstop Carlos Correa of the Astros.   Lindor holds the distinction of being the first Puerto Rican shortstop to take a gold glove, many of which have gone to men from Venezuela or the Dominican Republic. At age 23 I held the distinction of being suspended twice from the college radio station I broadcast for. the second suspension was lifted just before my 23rd birthday.  both will be explained in my memoir.
Pitcher Akeel Morris, at 24 is just a year older than Lindor. The Mets drafted Morris in round 10 in 2010. He was a Met for a night against the Blue Jays in Toronto. He gave up 3 hits and 3 walks allowing 5 runs in an 8-0 Jays win.  So sure were the Mets of their pitching staff that they let Morris go to Atlanta. He pitched not an inning for Atlanta, while had he remained a Met their desperation for starters could well have given him an opportunity. After all, Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo got their chances.
Of less note, the D-Backs’ Yasmani Tomas is 26 and the Phillies’ Freddy Galvis is 27. Galvis is one of many Venezuelans on the most recent Phillies’ roster. At age 27 he’s already a hardened veteran of 5 seasons with one of the worst teams in the game. That’s a long way dwon from the Little League World Series, where he played as a boy. Now A man after my own heart, he’s into Chinese food, pizza and cheesesteaks.
The always controversial Curt Schilling is 50 today. He was the Red Sox’ second-round pick in 1986 but it would be a long strange trip before he led them to break the Curse of the Bambino in the dreadful summer of 2004 For what it’s worth, his ankle was so badly injured during that postseason he couldn’t pitch until July 2005 but that was no comfort to Yankee fans.  . Schilling’s  first big league game was in late september 1988 with the Orioles, a team most infamous for losing their first 21 games. He put up a 216-146 mark before ending his career with the Red Sox in 2007. On that long journey he struck out over 3100 men. He spent almost a decade with the Phillies, pitching the best game of their 1993 World Series loss to Toronto. He and Randy Johnson were the two heroes of the Diamondbacks as they shocked the world winning the 2001 World Series. Then there was 2004 and the postseason  of 2007 where his Red Sox won it all. In the postseason he was an insane 11–2.   He was an All-Star 7 times between 1997 and 2004. He is a Christian and a Republican.  Rumors circulated at least twice that he would run for senator from Massachusetts but that hasn’t occurred. He has dealt with cancer that stemmed from a life of chewing tobacco and now serves as a living Jacob Marley, warning players of the harm they are doing themselves with smokeless tobacco, or “Dip,” as players call it.  He is, however more of a loose cannon as he ages, which is why he’s no longer seen on ESPN-a questionable marriage considering he showed little love for the 4-letter network going back to his Diamondback days.

Another controversial character, Jimmy Piersall was born this day in 1929 and is now 87. He was a .272 hitter in 18 years in the majors. He was an All-Star twice, in 1954 and 1956. He’s known for the book and movie “Fear Strikes Out,” detailing his issues with mental illness.  Later he briefly worked for the Texas Rangers, then broadcast with Harry Caray for the White Sox.

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