It is former Blue Jay Dave Berg’s 51st birthday today.
The Angels drafted Dave in the 38th of the 1993 amateur draft. How many players make the majors after being drafted in the 38th round? In 1998 he made it to the Marlins and playing 81 games, batting a terrific .313/.393/.407 playing 2B, 3B, and SS. He played three more seasons with the Marlins as a utility player. He kept a pretty decent OBP, though his numbers dropped each of those seasons. In his last season with the Marlins, he hit .242/.292/.363.In the off-season before the 2002 season, Berg signed with the Jays as a free agent. He played three seasons as a utility play, but his glove wasn’t good enough to be a middle infielder, and his bat wasn’t good enough to play in the corner infield or outfield spots.
In his three seasons with the Jays, his OPS+ dropped each season, starting at 84 in ‘02, then 76 in ‘03, and 57 in ‘04. After the 2004 season, he signed with the Red Sox as a free agent, then went to the Card and Angels without ever making it to the majors. Finally, in May of 2006, he retired.
Berg finished his career with 582 games played, 228 with the Blue Jays, 21 home runs, 163 RBI. His batting line .269/.328/.373. Not bad for a 38th round draft pick.
Happy Birthday, Dave.
It is also Rene Gonzales’ 61st birthday.
Rene had a 13-year MLB career, mostly as a utility infield. One of those 13 seasons was with the Blue Jays. Before the 1991 season, we traded Rob Blumberg to the Orioles for him. He played in 71 games, hitting .195/.289/.246 in 141 at-bats. We had Manny Lee at short that year so Gonzales was picked up to give him some competition at the position.
Drafted by the Expos, in the 5th round of the 1982 draft, he made it to the Expos in 1984, as a good glove, weak bat infielder. After the 1986 season he was part of the trade that brought the Expos Dannis Martinez (that worked out well for the Expos).
He became one of 34 third basemen to play with Cal Ripken (as well as one of 34 second basemen to play with Ripken). He played four seasons with the Orioles.
Rene would play with seven different MLB teams, playing 704 bases. Career he hit .239/.315/.320 with 19 home runs. He played in the Mexican League after his MLB career was over.
I don’t remember much about him, as a Blue Jay.
Happy Birthday, Rene.
Lefty reliever Juan Perez turns 43 today.
He pitched in 19 games for the Jays in 2013, with a 3.69 ERA, with 15 walks and 33 strikeouts in 31.2 innings.
Perez set a team record by going 22.1 consecutive scoreless innings to start his Jays' career. If you watched the Jays back then you likely remember him leaving a game with a rather obvious arm injury (it was one of those injuries that if you saw it, you remember it). It turned out to be a torn UCL. I see a note that Juan elected to rehab instead of taking Tommy John surgery. However it worked out, he didn’t pitch in the majors again.
He pitched parts of five seasons in the majors, 61 games in total with a 4.25 ERA. In 59.1 innings he allowed 37 walks, with 64 strikeouts, playing for four different teams.
My memory of Juan is that he had a rather different delivery. Rather than try to explain (I don’t think I could do it justice, other than to say he lands very ‘open’, he doesn’t really stride straight towards the plate and kind of slung the ball. I can’t imagine a pitching coach suggesting he do it that way), here is some video:
Happy Birthday, Juan.