Twins Birthdays--July 18
by, 07-18-2013 at 08:09 AM (170 Views)
Also posted at wgom.org
Rudy May (1944)
Torii Hunter (1975)
Glenn Williams (1977)
Left-hander Rudolph May was in the Twins’ organization for his first year of professional baseball. He was born in Coffeyville, Kansas, went to high school in Oakland, California, and signed with the Twins as a free agent in 1962. He played for Bismarck-Mandan in the Northern League, going 11-11, 4.29. The White Sox chose him in the first-year player draft but traded him to Philadelphia after a year. He never played at all for the Phillies, moving on to California in a trade for Bo Belinsky. He was with the Angels all of 1965, starting some and relieving some, but not doing all that well for that time. He may have suffered from injuries, as he did not pitch much in 1966-1967. He had a decent, unpsectacular year at AA El Paso in 1968 and made it back to the majors at the start of 1969, this time to stay. He both started and relieved for a while, but went into the Angels’ rotation for good in August of 1969. He was never a star, but was a solid contributor, working 180-200 innings every year. He got off to a bad start in 1974, was removed from the rotation, and then was sold to the Yankees. He pitched even better for them for two years, then was traded again, this time to Baltimore in a ten-player deal that also included ex-Twin Rick Dempsey. He was a solid member of their rotation, too, but was traded after the 1977 season to Montreal. He continued to pitch well, and did even better when shifted to the bullpen in 1979. He became a free agent after that season and signed with the Yankees. He had the best year of his career in 1980. May made 17 starts and 24 relief appearances, went 15-5, and led the league in ERA (2.46), ERA+ (160), and WHIP (1.04). He did not match that, but had two more solid years for the Yankees. He had a bad year in 1983, and his playing career came to an end. In that career, he had 152 wins, an ERA of 3.46, a WHIP of 1.25 in 2,622 innings, and an appearances in the World Series. That’s not bad for a guy who moved around a lot and seemed to be kind of taken for granted throughout his career. It appears that he is living in the Fresno area and is available to give pitching instruction or to make personal appearances.
Outfielder Torii Kedar Hunter was with the Twins from 1997-2007. Born and raised in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, he was drafted by Minnesota in the first round in 1993. He was really not all that special in the minors, although he had some solid years. He progressed at more or less the rate of a level a year until reaching AA, where he stayed until late in the 1998 season. He appeared in one game for the Twins in 1997 as a pinch-runner, was in Minnesota for about a week and a half in 1998, and played his first full season in 1999. He did not have much power early in his career, and frequently batted leadoff. He had a decent year in 1999, but got off to a bad start in 2000 and was sent back to AAA Salt Lake for a couple of months. He hit .368 there and came back to Minnesota, playing much better the rest of the way. He was restored as the Twins’ starting center fielder, a position he held through the 2007 season. His best season was probably 2002, when he hit .289 with 29 homers and an OPS of .859. In those years, he received MVP votes four times, finishing as high as sixth in 2002. He made the all-star team twice, in 2002 and 2007, and won the Gold Glove seven times. As a Twin, he hit .271/.324/.469 in 4,492 at-bats. Hunter became a free agent after the 2007 season and signed with the Angels. He continued to play at about the same rate he did in Minnesota through 2010, making two more all-star teams, winning two more Gold Gloves, and winning his first Silver Slugger. He significantly declined in 2011, batting only .262 with an OPS of .765, but bounced back in 2012 to hit .313, although he failed to hit 20 homers for the first time since 2005. A free agent again after the 2012 season, he signed with Detroit and is continuing to hit well. He turns 38 today, so the end could come at any time, but he’s showing no signs of being there yet.
Third baseman Glenn Williams had forty at-bats with the Twins in 2005. Born and raised in New South Wales, Australia, his father, Gary, was heavily involved in the development of baseball in that country. He was signed by Atlanta as a free agent in 1993. His first year was in rookie ball; he then spent four years in Class A. He moved up to AA in 1999 (when he was still just 21), but when he flopped there the Braves released him. Williams signed with Toronto and went back to Class A. He then started to make a normal progression, going up to AA in 2001 and to AAA in 2002. He had a good year in 2002 in Syracuse, hitting .274 with 15 homers, and appeared to be ready to move forward. He went back to Syracuse in 2003, however, and had a bad year. He bounced back at Syracuse in 2004, hitting .264 with 23 homers, but was allowed to become a free agent after the season. Minnesota signed him for 2005. He hit .303 in 48 games in Rochester and came up to the Twins in early June. He played for about three weeks, hitting .425/.452/.450 in 40 at-bats over 13 games. He then dislocated his shoulder and missed the rest of the season. The above line is his career major league line, as he never made it back. He stayed in Rochester two more years, but his numbers declined each year, and his playing career came to an end. Since then, he has returned to Australia, playing for their Olympic qualifying team in 2008 and coaching for Australia in the 2009 World Youth Championship. Glenn Williams has the post-1900 record for most at-bats with a lifetime average over .400. He was inducted into the Australian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012. At last report, he was the director of the Fun+Fitness Company, which works with junior baseball players in Australia, and was also a coach for the Sydney Blue Sox.