On this day in 1996 the Brewers signed pitcher Ben McDonald, the former #1 overall pick in the 1989 draft, as a free agent. McDonald was 28 at the time and had already pitched seven major league seasons as a member of the Orioles.
The Brewers were the last stop in the majors for McDonald, but he was very good during his time in Milwaukee. His 1996 season was arguably the best of his career: He posted a 3.90 ERA (only his second sub-4 season as a full time starter) over 222.1 innings, the most he'd worked in four years.
The 1997 season, however, would be McDonald's last as a big leaguer. He pitched just 133 innings and was done for the year on July 16 with a torn rotator cuff. He eventually retired following his third shoulder surgery, despite the fact that he was still just 29.
All told, McDonald made 56 starts as a Brewer and posted a 3.96 ERA over 354.1 innings. According to this MLB.com article he's living back in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and doing a lot of hunting and fishing.
With help from Brewerfan.net and the B-Ref Play Index, happy birthday today to:
- Helena Brewer Seth Harvey, who turns 24.
- 2003 Brewer Luis Martinez, who turns 32.
- 2005 Brewer Julio Santana, who turns 39.