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Twins Birthdays--July 15

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Brett Merriman (1966)
James Baldwin (1971)


Right-hander Brett Alan Merriman pitched for the Twins in 1993 and 1994. He was born in Jacksonville, Florida, went to high school in Nevada, Missouri, attended Grand Canyon University, and was drafted by Cleveland in the ninth round in 1988. He did not pitch that badly in two years in the minors, although he had problems with his control, but was released by the Indians late in 1990 spring training. California signed him a few days later, converted him from a starting pitcher to a reliever, and he pitched well in their system for three season, rising as high as AAA. He was left unprotected in the expansion draft and was chosen by Colorado in November of 1992. During spring training of 1993, Merriman was traded to Minnesota for Rob Wassenaar and Gary Wayne. He started the season with the Twins, but was sent down after a month with an ERA of 19.00. He went to AAA Portland, had a good season there, and came back for the last month of the season, pitching substantially better. He got off to a bad start in 1994 in Salt Lake but was called up to the Twins anyway, staying for nearly two months and not pitching very well. A free agent after the season, he signed with San Diego for 1995, pitched poorly in AAA for them, and then his playing career was over. In his major league career, all with the Twins, Brett Merriman was 1-2, 8.39 in 44 innings spread over 34 appearances. No information about Brett Merriman’s life after baseball was readily available.


Right-hander James Baldwin, Jr. made ten appearances for the Twins in 2003. He was born in Pinehurst, North Carolina, went to high school in Southern Pines, North Carolina, and was drafted by the White Sox in the fourth round in 1990. He started slowly in the minors, but came on strong in 1992 and reached AAA in mid-season of 1993. He got a full year there in 1994 and was in the majors for about a month of 1995. He had a bad year in 1995, but after two strong AAA starts in 1996 he was in the majors for good. He went into the White Sox’ rotation and stayed there until he was traded in mid-2001. He did so despite the fact that he really was not very good: his ERA was over five for three consecutive years, 1997-1999, and the lowest ERA he ever posted for the White Sox was 4.42 in 1996. He had some good won-lost records, though, going 11-6 in 1996 (when he finished second in Rookie of the Year voting), 13-6 in 1998, and 14-7 in 2000. He made the all-star team in 2001, despite not pitching any better then than he had any other time, and was traded to the Dodgers in late-July of that season. He was a free agent after the season, went to Seattle for 2002, pitched about the same as he had before, and became a free agent again. He signed with Kansas City for 2003, went to AAA, was released June 1, and signed with Minnesota ten days later. He made five starts in Rochester, then came up to the Twins. He was in the bullpen for about five weeks, going 0-1, 5.40 in 15 innings. Minnesota released him in mid-August. He signed with the Mets for 2004, made two major league starts for them, and was released in mid-May. He was in AAA for Detroit the rest of the season. In 2005, he signed with Baltimore, was chosen off waivers by Texas in late July, and was chosen off waivers by Baltimore again in late August. He went to Toronto for 2006 and was released in late April, finally ending his career. He pitched for a long time and got a couple of honors, which isn’t bad for a guy who never really had a good year. At last report, James Baldwin had moved back to North Carolina and was a baseball coach at Pinecrest High School. His son, James Baldwin III, was drafted as an outfielder by the Dodgers and is currently playing for Class A Great Lakes in the Midwest League.
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