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Twins Birthdays--March 27

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Also posted at wgom.org.

Tom Quinlan (1968)
Michael Cuddyer (1979)

The brother of Robb Quinlan, third baseman Thomas Raymond Quinlan got six at-bats with the Twins at the beginning of 1996. He was born in St. Paul, went to high school in Maplewood, Minnesota, and was drafted by Toronto in 1986. That same year, he was also drafted by the Calgary Flames in the fourth round, but he chose to play baseball. In seven years in the minors for the Blue Jays, his highest batting average was .258, although he did average eleven home runs per season. Despite that, he got a September call-up in 1990 and was with the Blue Jays for nearly two months in 1992. He was used mostly as a defensive replacement, getting only 17 at-bats. He became a free agent after the 1993 season and signed with Philadelphia. He again got nearly two months in the big leagues, starting for about a week. A free agent again after the 1994 season, Quinlan signed with Minnesota for 1995. He was in AAA Salt Lake all season and actually had a decent year, hitting .279 with 17 home runs. He began 1996 with the Twins, went 0-for-6 in four games, and was sent back to AAA. He had another fairly good season there, but became a free agent again and signed with Colorado for 1997. He was in AAA for the Rockies in 1997, for Texas in 1998, and for the Cubs in 1999. He then moved to Korea to play in 2000, being named MVP of the Korean Series that year. At last report, Tom Quinlan was a high school baseball coach in Maplewood, Minnesota and was an instructor with Nevers & Larkin Baseball Training of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, which is partly owned by Gene Larkin.

Outfielder/first baseman Michael Brent Cuddyer played for the Twins from 2001-2011. He was born in Norfolk, Virginia and went to high school in Chesapeake, Virginia. He was drafted by Minnesota with the ninth pick of the 1997 draft. Originally an infielder, he played shortstop in 1998 and third base in 1999 and 2000. He was still primarily a third baseman in 2001, but played quite a few games at first and a handful in the outfield. He had probably his best minor league season in 2001, hitting .301 with 30 home runs. He made his major league debut as a September call-up that season, starting five games at first base. He had another fine year in AAA Edmonton in 2002, hitting .319 with 20 home runs when he was called up to Minnesota in mid-July. Cuddyer had shifted to the outfield that year and that was his main position with the Twins, too, as he hit .259 in 112 at-bats. He started 2003 with Minnesota, mostly playing in right field, but was hitting only .233 in early May and was sent back to AAA, where he hit over .300 for the third consecutive season and earned a September call-up. His first full season in the majors was 2004 and he was primarily used in the infield, where he had hardly played for two years. He was the regular third baseman for about three weeks in May, the regular second baseman for another three weeks from late May to mid-June, and was used at multiple positions the rest of the season (at one point, he started at four different positions in five games). Even so, he had a decent year, hitting .263 with 12 home runs in 339 at-bats. In 2005 he played mostly at third base, starting 92 games there while also seeing time at second, first, and right field. He again hit .263 with 12 homers, this time in 422 at-bats. He moved to right field in 2006 and stayed there, other than when he filled in for an injured Justin Morneau at first base. Apart from 2008, when he struggled with injuries, he has been a consistent performer at the plate, hitting between .271 and .284. He hit 32 home runs in 2009, the most he has hit in the majors, and received minor support for MVP. He has never approached that home run total since, but the rest of his numbers have remained pretty much the same. He made his first all-star team in 2011. A free agent after that season, he signed with Colorado for 2012. He missed time with injuries, but when healthy had a pretty typical Michael Cuddyer year, hitting 260 with 16 homers in 358 at-bats. As a Twin, Michael Cuddyer hit .272/.343/.451 in 4072 at-bats. He turns 34 today, so it's certainly legitimate to wonder how many years he has left, but one assumes he will be a starting outfielder for Colorado this season.
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