On this day in 1994 the Brewers dealt reliever Doug Henry to the Mets for two players to be named later. One of those players turned out to be catcher Javier Gonzalez, who never reached the majors. The other, though, was second baseman Fernando Vina.
At the time Vina was a 25 year old utility infielder still looking for his first full time opportunity in the majors: He had played 24 games for the Mariners as a Rule 5 pick in 1993 and 79 more as a Met in '94, but that was it. The Brewers gave him a shot and the decision paid off pretty handsomely: Vina hit .286/.349/.389 while playing over 500 games over five seasons as a Brewer. He made the lone All Star appearance of his career in 1998, scoring 101 runs and narrowly missing 200 hits while batting .311/.386/.427 in 159 games.
Unfortunately, the end of Vina's Brewer tenure was marred by injuries: He was limited to just 37 games in 1999 and the Brewers eventually traded him to St. Louis to make room for Ronnie Belliard to take over second base full time. The Cardinals made the playoffs in three of Vina's four seasons in their uniform.
With help from the B-Ref Play Index, happy birthday today to:
- 2008 Brewer Ray Durham, who turns 40.
- 1989 Brewer Dave Engle, who turns 55.