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Jeff A

Twins Birthdays--June 21

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Also posted at wgom.org

Greg Booker (1960)
Luis Maza (1980)

Right-handed reliever Gregory Scott Booker appeared in six games for the Twins in 1989. The son-in-law of Jack McKeon, he was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, went to high school in Burlington, North Carolina, and then attended Elon University in Elon, North Carolina (a school also attended by Dick Such). He was drafted by San Diego in the tenth round in 1981. Mostly a starter in the minors, he did not have very good numbers there at all, although much of his time was spent in hitter-friendly Las Vegas in the PCL. Despite never posting a minor league ERA under 5.25 or a WHIP under 1.6, Booker got a September call-up in 1983. He went back-and-forth between San Diego and Las Vegas from 1984-1986. He was almost exclusively a reliever in the majors, making only four career starts. His major league numbers are substantially better than his minor league totals, although it should be noted that Booker never pitched as many as seventy innings in a major league season. His only two full seasons in the majors were 1987-1988, and he pitched pretty well in those years, posting ERAs in the low threes and WHIPs around 1.35. He did not pitch as well in 1989, was sent back to AAA in June. In late June, his father-in-law traded him to Minnesota for Fred Toliver. Most of his time with the Twins was in AAA, but he came up to the majors in September. He appeared in six games and pitched 8.2 innings. Had no record, giving up four runs on eleven hits for a 4.15 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP. The Twins allowed him to become a free agent and he signed with the Cubs, but he was released at the end of spring training. He signed with the Giants for 1990 and was in AAA most of the year, playing in two major league games in late May. That was the end of his playing career. He has stayed in professional baseball since then, coaching in the Indians and Rockies organizations, and was the major league pitching coach for San Diego from 1997-2003. Greg Booker is currently the pitching coach of the Syracuse Chiefs in the International League. His son, Zach Booker, is on the roster for the AAA Norfolk Tides in the Baltimore organization, but has barely played since 2008 and is currently on the disabled list. One suspects they may be using him as an extra coach, but this could not be confirmed.

Infielder Luis Alberto Maza did not play for the Twins, but was in their minor league system for several years. Born and raised in Cumana, Venezuela, he signed with the Twins as a free agent in 1997. Partly due to his age, Maza was in the low minors for several years, not reaching AA until 2004. He hit .311 there that year and was promoted to AAA in 2005. He had a bad year in Rochester in 2006, hitting only .207, and became a free agent after the season. He signed with the Dodgers, played very well in the minors, and reached the majors in mid-May of 2008, staying for two months. He hit only .228, however, and so far this has been Maza’s only time in the majors. He hit .378 in Albuquerque that year, and followed it up with a .300 season last year. When he did not get a call back to the big leagues, Maza again became a free agent, this time signing with Philadelphia. He moved on to Houston in late June, but was released in early August. He signed with Grosseto in the Italian Baseball League for 2011, played for Rimini in that same league in 2012, and was still with them at last report. He played for Aragua in the Venezuelan Winter League last year.
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  1. Jeff A's Avatar
    The headline should have said June 22. Sorry about that.
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