The unlikely Opening Day starter from 1999 turns 41 today.
On this day in 1972 Rafael Roque was born in Cotui in the Dominican Republic. He was 19 when the Mets signed him as an amateur free agent in 1991, and 26 when he signed with the Brewers as a minor league free agent in October of 1997.
After pitching one partial season in the minors Roque made his Brewer debut on August 1, 1998 and started nine games down the stretch, posting a 4.88 ERA over 48 innings. Despite the fact that those nine starts were his only major league experience, Roque was the Brewers' Opening Day starter in 1999.
That start didn't go well, as Roque pitched just two innings, and foreshadowed things to come. By the end of May the Brewers had bumped Roque from the rotation and he posted a 5.34 ERA over 43 appearances in his only full big league season.
Roque has spent the last five seasons as a coach for the Royals' Dominican League affiliate.
- LaMarr Hoyt, 2004 inductee into the Appleton Baseball Hall of Fame. He turns 58.
- 1901 Milwaukee Brewer Ned Garvin, who would have turned 139.