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Monday, February 26, 2007

Today's Birthdays

Kelly Gruber CAL b. 1962, played 1993, All-Star: 1989-1990

Don Lee LAA,CAL b. 1934, played 1962-1965

Matt Luke LAN,ANA b. 1971, played 1998-1999

Darrell Miller CAL b. 1958, played 1984-1988

Ron Negray BRO,LAN b. 1930, played 1952, 1958

Preacher Roe BRO b. 1915, played 1948-1954, All-Star: 1945, 1949-1952. Not to be confused with Schoolboy Rowe, who also pitched for the Dodgers six years before, he had tremendous heat as a prep pitcher in rural Arkansas. He came up with the Cardinals, and was traded to the Pirates, where he had two successful years. In the offseason of 1945, he got into an argument while coaching a high school basketball team and got knocked to the ground. He suffered a fractured skull and spent the next two years ineffective. Fortuitously for him, the Dodgers were about to integrate baseball, and when Dixie Walker expressed a desire to get off the team, his wish was granted. Roe was the return on that trade; he shocked everyone by trading in his power pitcher routine for the repertoire of a soft-tossing lefty in the mold of Jamie Moyer. "I got three pitches. My change, my change off my change, and my change off my change off my change", he once said; he also had an illegal spitball that he added to the mix, and rarely got caught. Partly on the back of that pitch, he managed to go 22-3 in 1951, the second-highest winning percentage in Dodger history. Years after he retired, he tried to get the pitch reinstated by confessing to its use in the pages of Sports Illustrated; the effort backfired, and he became persona non grata at Dodger old-timer events.

J.T. Snow CAL b. 1968, played 1993-1996. Somehow a Top 100 Angel, which maybe says more about the franchise than it does about Snow, whose inability to catch a ball with everything on the line has left more than one person a little cold. Amazing, considering he was a six-time Gold Glove winner at first.

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