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Twins Birthdays--August 29

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Bill Latham (1960)
Henry Blanco (1971)
Steve Lomasney (1977)


Left-hander William Carol Latham played for the Twins in 1986. Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, he was signed out of Auburn University as a free agent by the Mets in 1981. He did well in the minors, winning 13 games in both 1984 and 1985 with an ERA under 3.00 both years, mostly at AAA Tidewater. Latham started 1985 with the Mets and did not do badly, posting an ERA of 3.97 and a WHIP of 1.24 in 22.2 innings, starting three games and relieving four. In the off-season, the Mets traded him along with Billy Beane and Joe Klink to the Twins for Pat Crosby and Tim Teufel. Latham pitched well in AAA Toledo, and appeared in seven games for the Twins in 1986, two of them starts, going 0-1 with a 7.31 ERA in 16 innings. He started poorly in 1987 with AAA Portland and was traded back to the Mets in May for Jayson Felice. He spent the rest of 1987 and all of 1988 in the Mets’ minor-league organization, and then his playing career came to an end. At last report, Bill Latham was a scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers after having done that job for several years for the Red Sox.


Catcher Henry Ramon Blanco played for the Twins in 2004. He was born in Caracas, Venezuela, went to high school in Miranda, Venezuela, and was signed by the Dodgers as a free agent in 1989. He did not hit much in the minors, but slowly moved up, making his AAA debut in 1995. A .313 average at AAA Albuquerque in 1997 earned him a cup of coffee with the Dodgers, but he was back in Albuquerque for all of 1998. Blanco became a minor-league free agent after that season, and was signed by the Rockies. His first full year in the majors came in 1999 for Colorado, but it was his only season there, as he was traded to the Brewers as part of a three-team deal that also included future Twin Jeff Cirillo. Blanco spent two seasons as a part-time player in Milwaukee, and then was traded to Atlanta in spring training of 2002. After two years in Atlanta, he became a free agent. Minnesota signed him during the 2003-04 off-season to back up Joe Mauer, but when Mauer was hurt, Blanco became the regular, playing 114 games, the most he has ever played in a season. He had never hit well in the majors and did not do so in Minnesota, batting .206/.260/.368 with 10 homers and 37 RBIs, but he gave the Twins good defense behind the plate. The Twins let him go after that season, and Blanco moved on to the Cubs, where he spent four years as a part-time catcher. Let go by the Cubs after 2008, he signed with the Padres for 2009, moved on to the Mets for 2010, was with Arizona in 2011-2012, signed with Toronto for 2013, was released in mid-June, and signed with Seattle three days later. Henry Blanco has thrown out 43 percent of opposing base stealers for his career, throwing out 58 percent in 2000 and twice leading the league in that category. Needless to say, the Twins still miss him.


Catcher Steven James Lomasney did not play for the Twins, but was in their farm system for about four months in 2006. He was born in Melrose, Massachusetts, went to high school in Peabody, Massachusetts, and was drafted by Boston in the fifth round in 1995. He was not too bad in the low minors, hitting 20 homers or more in consecutive seasons in 1998-1999. In 1999, after hitting .259 with twenty home runs in a season split between Class A and AA, Lomasney got a September call-up. He made his major league debut in the last game of the season, replacing Jason Varitek in the fifth inning. He went 0-for-2, striking out against B. J. Ryan and Brian Falkenborg. Unfortunately, that was Lomasney’s major league swan song as well, as he never got back to the major leagues. He struggled when he got to AAA, posting a batting average of .220 and an OPS of .590 with seven home runs in 631 career AAA at-bats. He suffered a serious eye injury near the end of 2001 when he was struck by a batted ball and his eyesight never fully recovered, which partly explains his struggles in the high minors. He became a free agent after the 2002 season and signed with Baltimore for 2003. After one year in their farm system, he moved on to the Cincinnati chain for 2004-2005. He signed with Minnesota for 2006, spending most of the season at New Britain with ten at-bats in Rochester. The Twins released him in August 3, bringing his playing career to an end. At last report, Steve Lomasney was running The Show, a baseball academy in Lawrence, Massachusetts. He is also the coach of an under-fifteen baseball team which won the New England championship in 2010 and finished second in the national AAU championship for under-sixteen (there was no under-fifteen division).
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