On this day in 1969, Dave Nilsson was born in Brisbane, Australia. He was 17 years old when the Brewers signed him as an amateur free agent in 1987, and just 22 years old when he was called up to the big leagues for the first time in 1992. At the time, he was only the third Australian ever to play major league baseball.
Nilsson came up to the big leagues as a catcher and played nearly half of his career games there (309 of 653), but defensive issues and injuries would later force him to move around a bit. He played 178 games in the outfield and 166 at first base in the majors, along with 160 at DH.
It was worth the effort, though, for the Brewers to find a way to keep Nilsson's bat in the lineup. He was a .284/.356/.461 hitter in his eight major league seasons, setting career highs with 21 home runs and a .554 slugging percentage in 1999, his final major league season.
Following the 1999 season Nilsson signed with a Japanese team so he would be allowed to play in the 2000 Olympics for Australia. He never returned to the major leagues.
Despite having left the majors for good before his 30th birthday, Nilsson is second all time among Australian born players in games played:
Quinn played 17 seasons between 1884-1901 as a member of the St. Louis Browns (later to be renamed the Cardinals) and seven other franchises.
Nilsson turns 42 today. With help from the B-Ref Play Index, we'd also like to wish a happy birthday to:
- Shaun Marcum, who turns 30.
- 1998 and 2002 Brewer Marcus Jensen, who turns 39.
- Seattle Pilot and 1970 Brewer Greg Goossen, who would have turned 66.
- 1901 Milwaukee Brewer John Anderson, who would have turned 138.