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Twins Birthdays--September 9

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Also posted at wgom.org

Jay Ward (1938)
Alex Romero (1983)

Utility player John Francis Ward played briefly for the Twins in 1963 and 1964. He was born in Brookfield, Missouri and was signed by the Yankees as a free agent in 1956. He hit very well in the low minors, hitting exactly .300 in three years in Class D and C. He spent most of 1958 in the Washington organization, then was selected off waivers by the Kansas City Athletics. Ward was pretty average in AA and AAA, and was traded to the Dodgers after the 1961 season in a multi-player deal. He came to the Twins organization in July of 1962 in a trade for Bert Cueto. Ward was in the Twins’ organization through mid-1964, went to the Giants, came back to the Twins’ organization in 1965, went to Japan in 1966, went to Cleveland in 1967, came back to the Twins’ organization in 1968, went back to Cleveland for 1969, was with the Reds’ organization in 1970, and went to the Kansas City Royals’ organization in 1971. He got brief trials with the Twins in 1963 and 1964, batting .174/.283/.239 in 46 at-bats. Ward was also in the big leagues briefly in 1971 with Cincinnati, going 0-for-3. He showed some power in the minors, hitting 241 minor-league home runs, but never hit for a high average, and never got enough of a chance to see if he could have been a low-average slugger in the big leagues. After retiring as an active player, Jay Ward had a lengthy career as a minor league coach and manager. He then was the co-owner of a hitting school (with Wade Boggs) in Tampa, Florida, before retiring, first to Springfield, Missouri, then to Troy, Montana, where he enjoyed hunting and fishing. Jay Ward passed away in Troy on February 24, 2012.

Outfielder Alexander Rafael (Galban) Romero did not play for the Twins, but was in their minor league system for five seasons. He was born in Maracaibo, Venezuela, and was signed by the Twins as a free agent in 2002. He worked his way up the ladder one level at a time, playing rookie ball in 2002, low Class A in 2003, high Class A in 2004, and Class AA in 2005, hitting at or very near .300 at every stop. He slumped a little in 2006, batting .263 in a year split between AA and AAA, and the Twins placed him on waivers after the season. Romero was selected by the Diamondbacks. He hit very well in AAA Tucson in 2007, and split 2008 and 2009 between AA and Arizona. Romero hit well over .300 each year in AA, but in the majors hit .239/.279/.339 in 280 major league at-bats, with 2 homers and 30 RBIs, in sporadic playing time. He was a free agent after the 2009 season and signed with Atlanta, but was released in late June and was not picked up by anyone. After the season, however, he signed with Florida, and hit very well in a season split between AA and AAA. He became a free agent and was not signed, so he went to the Mexican League for 2012 and hit extremely well. In 2013 he moved on to Italy and had an awesome year there. He’s thirty now. He’s done very well everywhere he’s been, so he might have been able to help somebody in the majors if he’d been given the chance. He wasn’t, though, and most likely it’s too late now.
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