The first shortstop of the post-Yount era was born 52 years ago today.
On this day in 1960 Ernie Riles was born in Cairo, Georgia. The Brewers drafted him in the third round of the 1981 January draft and after four years in the minors he made his major league debut in 1985.
Riles must have been under some kind of pressure in his debut season: He was first Brewer shortstop to take over the position full-time after future Hall of Famer Robin Yount's injuries forced him to move to the outfield. Riles was up to the challenge, though, hitting .286/.339/.377 in 116 games and finishing third in the voting for AL Rookie of the Year. White Sox shortstop Ozzie Guillen won the award, and Riles' teammate Teddy Higuera finished second.
All told Riles played four seasons as a Brewer, hitting .265/.326/.361 over 385 games before being traded to the Giants in 1988. Riles' nephew, Willie Harris, has played 12 major league seasons as a member of seven teams, including the 2012 Reds.
Riles turns 52 today. With help from the B-Ref Play Index, we'd also like to wish a happy birthday to:
- 2004-05 Brewer Victor Santos, who turns 36.
- 1973-76 Brewer Kevin Kobel, who turns 59.
- 1973-75 Brewer Bob Coluccio, who turns 61. We covered his birthday in this space last year.
- 1964-65 Milwaukee Brave Mike de la Hoz, who turns 74.