MLB

Baseball birthdays for February 21

Here’s a subjective ranking of the top five for Feb. 21:

1) Alan Trammell (1958)
The Hall of Famer was a fixture at shortstop for the Tigers for the better part of 20 seasons, cementing his legend there with his World Series MVP performance in 1984. In that series, Trammell went 9-for-20 (.450), hitting a pair of homers in Game 4 to give Detroit a 3-1 advantage over the Padres before winning it all in Game 5. He made six All-Star teams, won four Gold Gloves and three Silver Slugger Awards, and had his No. 3 retired by the Tigers. Following his retirement, Trammell coached in several different organizations, including stints managing for Detroit and Arizona; most recently, he has served as a special assistant to the Tigers’ general manager.

2) John Titus (1876)
A right fielder, Titus — whose nicknames included “Silent John” and “Tight Pants” — was a consistent producer for 11 seasons, most of which he spent with the Phillies. He was regularly among National League leaders in hit-by-pitches, topping both leagues in that category in 1909 with 16. He didn’t debut in the Majors until the age of 27; according to the Society for American Baseball Research, he spent his early 20s working as a coal miner and serving in the Spanish-American War.

3) Jouett Meekin (1867)
Meekin was a right-hander known for throwing the first intentional walk in baseball history, in 1896. He played six of his 10 career years in the Majors with the New York Giants, including their championship season of 1894. This was prior to the creation of the World Series; at that time, a champion was determined by a best-of-seven set played between the NL’s top two clubs. Though they finished the regular season in second, the Giants swept the Orioles in the championship round to take home the Temple Cup.

4) Franklin Gutierrez (1983)
A Gold Glove outfielder, Gutierrez had the nickname “Death to Flying Things” bestowed upon him by Mariners broadcaster Dave Niehaus. Since retiring, Gutierrez landed a gig with Seattle as a special assignment coach.

5) Joe Foy (1943)
Foy, a speedy third baseman with a power swing, had clear talent and great potential, hitting a combined 31 homers in his first two Major League seasons, 1966-67, all the more impressive as it was prior to the mound being lowered from 15 feet to 10 feet. Unfortunately, his on-field performance was hurt — and his career ultimately cut short — by substance abuse issues.


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