On this day in 1977 Grant Balfour was born in Sydney, Australia. The Twins signed him as an amateur free agent in 1997 and he made his major league debut in 2001, getting a brief cup of coffee in Minnesota.
Balfour was back with the Twins as a reliever in 2003 and '04, but an injury threatened to derail his career and cost him the entire 2005 and most of the 2006 seasons. Finally healthy in 2007, Balfour found another chance with the Brewers and put up huge numbers in the minors, posting a 1.87 ERA and striking out 14.1 batters per nine in 32 outings between Huntsville and Nashville.
Unfortunately, that success didn't immediately carry over to the big leagues. Balfour posted a 20.25 ERA and was designated for assignment after just three outings as a Brewer. The Rays, however, hadn't given up on him and acquired him (in exchange for Seth McClung). Since the start of the 2008 season Balfour has been one of the game's best relievers, posting a 2.85 ERA over 243 outings.
Balfour turns 34 today. With help from the B-Ref Play Index, we'd also like to wish a happy birthday to: