I like birthdays.
Of course, my own is my favorite because I am showered with attention (over 100 Facebook well-wishes, yo!) and –- best of all –- I share it with Mrs. SoxNerd.
Birthdays, in general, give me a chance to Tweet about some memorable White Sox figures. A couple of days ago, Neal Cotts got a lot of love on the old TwitterMachine.
Speaking of love, a SoxNerd birthday tweet sparked one of the sweetest exchanges that has crossed my timeline.
After I posted “ #WilsonAlvarez , who threw a no-hitter in his 1st @whitesox start in 1991, is 45 2day,” his daughter retweeted it accompanied by: “Love my dad” with plenty of heart emoticons.
A few days before that, the Nerd even got a shout out on WSCR via Dan Bernstein for acknowledging Ivan Calderon’s birthday.
Knowing Dan was a Calderon fan I tweeted to him: “ @dan_bernstein Happy #IvanCalderon Day. The big man, his JheriCurl, gold chains and big bat woulda been 53 today.”
Sometimes, though, I get stumped.
Today is a good example of that.
My long-ago assembled file of Sox notes did not give me any birthdays today. I then headed to the birthday page at baseballreference.com and, while I found no significant White Sox birthdays (sorry Michael Taylor and Matt Davidson), I did find a pattern.
Today is a great day for birthdays for some notable White Sox opponents.
Here’s the rundown:
Happy 33rd, Brendan Ryan! On April 21, 2012, Ryan was the 27 th out in Philip Humber’s perfect game in the White Sox 4-0 win over the Mariners at Safeco Field in Seattle.
Ryan, pinch-hitting for Munenori Kawasaki, was thrown out by A.J. Pierzynski on a dropped third strike after homeplate umpire Brian Runge indicated he swung on a low and outside 3-2 pitch called out by homeplate umpire Brian Runge on a check swing.
Happy 33rd, Jason Maxwell: I have witnessed well over 1,000 games at New Comiskey Park/U.S. Cellular Field since it opened its doors 100 percent union built on time and under budget in 1991.
Fifty days after his perfecto, Humber was victimized by Maxwell, who did something I hadn’t seen before or since at 35 th and Bill Veeck Drive.
Batting eighth for the Houston Astros, the former Cubs prospect launched a 461-foot home run in the fifth inning of a 11-9 win.
I’ve seen plenty of homers at the Cell and even some of that have traversed as far as or longer than 461-feet.
However, Maxwell used his lumber hammer to curl his four-bagger around the left field foul pole and into the second deck. Every other ball I had seen hit there had been foul.
Happy 47th, Jose Vizcaino: For a brief moment, I hated Jose Vizcaino more than any player in baseball history.
When the ex-Cub delivered a two-run pinch-single off the seemingly invincible Bobby Jenks, the Astros had pulled even in Game 2 of the World Series. At that point, I thought White Sox Nation would be in for a long and grueling night on a miserable night at U.S. Cellular with a potentially fatal outcome.
A loss here, at home, would rob the White Sox of the momentum they had collected with a thrilling Game 1 win and, even worse, render Paul Konerko’s seventh-inning grand slam practically meaningless.
Two outs later and one Scott Podsednik walkoff home run later, the next time I thought about Vizcaino was today.
Happy 54th, Mike Warren: Not be confused with the UCLA basketball star who later was a regular on Hill Street Blues, this Oakland pitcher won nine big league games.
One of those victories was a no-hitter against the powerhouse 1983 American League West Division champion “Winning Ugly” White Sox.
On Sept. 29 in Oakland, Warren, in his 12th big league appearance and ninth start, stymied arguably the most offensive team in White Sox history.
All the Sox, sitting on 96 wins and the division title, could muster against the no-name rookie were three walks.
The Sox did recover from that embarrassment and closed out the campaign with three straight victories.
However, Warren did show a lineup despite the presence of Baines, Fisk, Kittle, Luzinski, Law, Paciorek and Cruz, could be had.
The Orioles proved that over and over a few days later in the American League Championship Series.
Led by another Mike – this time Boddicker — the futue World Series champions limited the Sox to three runs and 10 hits (no homers) in claiming the pennant in four games.
There you have it. Now give me a rousing chorus of the birthday song!