Saturday, November 11, 2017

11/11 Birthdays From the 1920s Forward: HBD Grilled Cheese, Roberto, Kyle, JR, Rey, Bob & Lee

  • 1923 - LHP Lee Howard was born on Staten Island. Lee had a brief MLB career consisting of fives games (16 IP) tossed in 1946-47 with an 0-1, 2.25 slash. Howard was signed by the Bucs in 1942, but a three-year stint in the Navy (he served in the Pacific Theater) delayed his big league arrival. He spent 1948-49 in the minors, but after giving up 10+ hits and nearly six walks per nine while compiling an ERA of 5.93, he hung up the spikes. 
  • 1954 - RHP Bob Long was born in Jasper, Tennessee. Bob didn’t have much of a big league career, but he still did pretty well for himself as a 24th round draft pick in 1976 by working 12 pro seasons. He got a brief look with the Bucs in 1981 with a 1-2, 5.95, line in five outings (three starts) and then had a solid season at Seattle in 1985, appearing in 28 games and posting a 3.76 ERA. He couldn’t break the AAA barrier after that and pitched through the 1987 campaign before retiring from active duty. 
Rey Quinones 1989 Upper Deck
  • 1963 - SS Rey Quinones was born in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. Rey got parts of four MLB seasons under his belt, closing it out in 1989 with the Pirates, hitting .209 in 71 games. The Pirates got him & Bill Wilkinson from Seattle in late April for Mike Dunne, Mike Walker, and Mark Merchant. Quinones was released in July; no one in the deal ever made much noise in the show. 
  • 1964 - RHP Roberto Hernandez was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico. He tossed for 17 seasons and appeared in over 1,000 games. He made a 2006 pit stop in the Steel City as an FA in his next-to-last campaign and was pretty strong for a 42-year-old, going 0-3-2, 2.93 in 46 outings. The Bucs flipped him to the Mets at the deadline with Ollie Perez to pick up Xavier Nady. 
  • 1976 - RHP Jason Grilli was born in Royal Oak, Michigan. After signing with Pittsburgh as a minor league FA in 2011 out of the Phil’s system, the vet known as “Grilled Cheese” reinvented himself as a back-end reliever, serving as Joel Hanrahan’s set-up man before taking the closer reins in 2013 and winning an All-Star berth. In 2014, he was sent to Angels after putting up a 3-11-47 slash during his stint with the Bucs with a 3.01 ERA and 12.4 K per nine innings. He’s since been with Atlanta, Toronto and Texas and is a free agent this offseason. His moniker is based on his name, a fondness for the sandwiches and probably a little bit because of his favorite pitch, the cheese (a fastball). At any rate, he's adopted the persona well with his twitter handle being @grilledcheese49, a ballpark grilled cheese sandwich named "The Closer" and several community/fun events built around the gooey snack.
Jason Grilli 2014 Topps Opening Day
  • 1979 - C JR (James Rodger) House was born in Charleston, West Virginia. A fifth round pick from Seabreeze HS in 1999, JR was in the Bucco system for six years, catching three games from 2003-04 and going 2-for-10. He went on to play in Houston and Baltimore and is now a minor-league manager for Arizona. 
  • 1987 - RHP Kyle McPherson was born in Creola, Alabama. Kyle, who was a 14th-round draft pick in 2007, was the Pirates Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2011, and made his MLB debut in 2012, going 0-2 but with a solid 2.73 ERA and 1.177 WHIP. He underwent TJ surgery the following season and never regained his form, being released by the Pirates after the 2014 season and by Tampa Bay in 2016.
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