On this day in 1978, Ben Sheets was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. After a college career at Louisiana-Monroe the Brewers drafted Sheets with the tenth overall pick in the 1999 draft, and he needed just two professional seasons (and some time with the 2000 US Olympic team) to prove he deserved a spot at the top of a rotation in the big leagues.
Sheets made his major league debut in 2001 when he was just 22 years old, posting a 4.76 ERA over 151.1 innings and making his first of four All Star appearances. As would become relatively common over the course of his career, he missed some time with injuries: He missed multiple starts in April and most of August and September with rotator cuff tendonitis.
Sheets had several very good seasons in Milwaukee (including a career year in 2004), but unfortunately he's probably best remembered for his durability issues. He averaged just 21 starts per season from 2005-07, and broke down again down the stretch during the Brewers' playoff run in 2008. Despite the injuries, however, Sheets is the second greatest pitcher in Brewer history by rWAR:
Sheets turns 33 today. With help from the B-Ref Play Index, we'd also like to wish a happy birthday to: