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Friday, January 26, 2007

Today's Birthdays

Jeff Branson LAN b. 1967, played 2000-2001

Johnny Frederick BRO b. 1902, played 1929-1934, d. 1977-06-18. One year, he hit six pinch-hit homers, then a record. One of his comps: the great Dodger outfielder Pete Reiser, who might have ended up in the Hall of Fame save for World War II; as for Frederick, his career came to an abrupt end in 1934. He's in the franchise top ten for single-season total bases (10th with 342, in his 1929 season), 1st (52 in 1929) and 5th (44 in 1930) in doubles, 5th in extra base hits (82, 1929), and 9th in at-bats per strikeout (39.7 in 1933).

Steve Green ANA b. 1978, played 2001. Pitched in one major league game for the Angels, but the injury that kept him off the field in 2002 was perhaps even more important. Green will be forever famous as the man whom K-Rod replaced on the 25-man roster for the postseason in 2002. (How's it feel to get your first five major league wins in the postseason, Frankie?) Green was last seen pitching in the Detroit system.

Morris Nettles CAL b. 1952, played 1974-1975

Antonio Perez LAN b. 1980, played 2004-2005. I guess I don't miss him that much; he hasn't done much with Oakland, and Andre Ethier looks like a solid pickup, if maybe a little like a 3.5th outfielder.

Rick Schu CAL b. 1962, played 1990

Kaiser Wilhelm BRO b. 1874, played 1908-1910, d. 1936-05-22. The last Hohenzollern to sit on the throne of Prussia, Wilhelm II was megalomoniacal, overbearing, and (it has been suggested by historian Barbara Tuchman) paranoid. His judgement may have been affected by the fact that he was a breech baby, a condition that also may have contributed to the fact that his arms were of differing lengths; he had Erb's Palsy, and worked to conceal both conditions his entire life.

Taking the throne from his father, Frederick III, a scant 99 days after Frederick inherited it from his own father, Wilhelm I, in March, 1888, Wilhelm II forced the resignation of the great German chancellor Otto von Bismark two years later in 1890, starting a reign whose belligerance, incaution, and susceptability to German warmongers would eventually plunge Europe into cataclysm. With the advent of World War I, he became increasingly isolated and inert as the German empire turned into a military dictatorship under Generals Paul von Hindenberg and Erich Ludendorff. He abdicated after the 1918 Berlin riots, fleeing to the neutral Netherlands, where Queen Wilhelmina refused to extradite him to the Allies. He lived the remainder of his life in Doorn as a country gentleman, perishing of a pulmonary embolism in 1941.

Wrong Kaiser Wilhelm. Or your idea of a joke? Hmmm. no one seems to have noticed.
Guess it wasn't too funny...

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