There are nine former members of the extended Fish Family who have birthdays on January 21st. Let’s check out today in Marlins History.
Byung-Hyun Kim (39)
Kim is a 5’11”, 176 lb. right-handed pitcher from Gwangju, Korea. Although he wasn’t drafted, he ended up playing over seven seasons of major league baseball after signing with the Arizona Diamondbacks through free agency in 1999.
Kim made his major league debut in his age-20 season, the same year that he made his professional debut. He rose quickly from the double-A El Paso Diablos through the triple-A Tuscon Sidewinders to pitch in 25 games with Arizona. He played with the D-Backs for parts of five seasons, then got traded to the Boston Red Sox for parts of two seasons, then traded in turn to the Colorado Rockies for parts of three seasons.
Colorado traded Kim to the Marlins for Jorge Julio on May 13th, 2007. They waived him on August 3rd, and after he was claimed by the Diamondbacks (he pitched in two games), the Marlins managed to resign him again on August 25th. For the Marlins, he went 9-5 making 19 starts and 23 appearances in total, with a 5.42 ERA, a commensurate 5.47 FIP, striking out 102 in 109 2⁄3 innings, with a 1.605 WHIP. It was his last appearance in affiliated ball, although he did resurface with the Orange County Flyers in the Golden League for nine starts in 2010, going 3-1 with a 2.56 ERA.
Chris Hammond (52)
Hammond was a 6’1”, 195 lb. left-handed fireballer when selected in the sixth round of the 1986 draft by the Cincinnati Reds, 148th overall out of Gulf Coast Community College. An Atlanta, Georgia native, he made his way up to the Reds over the next four seasons, eventually posting a 15-20 record over 47 starts and 80 overall appearances, with a 4.52 ERA.
Just prior to Florida’s first ever opening day, the Reds traded Hammond to the Marlins for Hector Carrasco and Gary Scott. Chris immediately joined Florida’s rotation as their number three starter.
Hammond spent four seasons with the Marlins before testing free agency then signed with the Boston Red Sox, going 3-4 mostly out of their bullpen. He resigned with Florida for the 1998 season, making three starts. In total for the Marlins, he posted a 29-32 record with a 4.52 ERA, a 4.30 FIP, 332 whiffs in 520 innings, and a 1.42 WHIP.
Travis Brewster (26)
Brewster was a 5’9”, 210 lb. outfielder from Mesquite, Texas. After going undrafted out of Grayson Community College, he signed with Miami through free agency near the end of 2014, going five-for-23 in nine games with the GCL Marlins.
In 2015, Brewster got looks at Miami’s three levels of A-ball, slashing .271/.342/.319 in 42 games for the Batavia Muckdogs, hitting six-for-25 with the Greensboro Grasshoppers in eight games, then going one-for-12 in four appearances with the Jupiter Hammerheads. The Marlins released him prior to the 2016 season.
Josh Wall (31)
Wall is a 6’6”, 190 lb. right-handed pitcher from Walker, Louisiana. The Los Angeles Dodgers chose him in the second round of the 2005 draft, with the 74th overall pick out of Central Private School in Baker, LA.
Wall rose through the Dodgers’ system for seven years before making his major league debut with Los Angeles in 2012. On July 7th, 2013, the Dodgers traded him with Steven Ames and Angel Sanchez to the Marlins for Ricky Nolasco. Wall came out of the bullpen in 20 contests for the New Orleans Zephyrs, going 1-1 with a 3.27 ERA, 21 K’s in 22 innings, and a 1.41 WHIP before getting waived following the season.
Robert Ray (34)
Ray is a 6’5”, 190 lb. right-hander from Lufkin, Texas. He was chosen in the seventh round of the 2005 draft by the Toronto Blue Jays four of Texas A&M, where he racked up an 8-6 record, a 3.82 ERA, 155 whiffs in 146 frames, and a 1.29 WHIP.
Ray remained with the Blue Jays system through 2011, peaking with the parent club in 2009 and 2010, where he went 1-2 with a 4.18 ERA over four starts and three appearances in relief. On July 10th, 2012, he signed with the Marlins on a minor league deal.
Ray joined the New Orleans Zephyrs and came out of the bullpen 33 times, going 2-2 with a 3.48 ERA, 45 K’s in 54 1⁄3 innings, and a solid 1.27 WHIP. He declared free agency following the season, and remains so presently.
Chris Thedorf (35)
Thedorf is a 5’10”, 190 lb. outfielder from Elmhurst, Illinois. Florida made him a 32nd round selection in the 2003 draft out of Elgin Community College. In 34 games for the Jamestown Jammers that year, he went 13-for-90, with just one extra base hit (a triple) and seven RBI. He was six-for-six in stolen bases, but struck out over 1⁄3 of the time, walking 10 times to 31 K’s. It was his only appearance in organized baseball.
Eric Abshor (40)
Abshor was a 6’, 190 lb. outfielder from Littleton, Colorado, and Florida’s 38th round selection in the 1997 draft, 1,146th overall out of Heritage HS.
Abshor signed instead with the Wichita State Shockers, and slashed .305/.373/.470 in 110 games of collegiate ball. He did appear in professional baseball for 44 games in 2001 with the River City Rascals, where he slashed .172/.265/.299.
Keith Shepherd (50)
Shepherd had a 12 year career in professional baseball, making four appearances with the Charlotte Knights in 1995 and going 1-1 with a 21.21 ERA in 4.2 innings.
A Wabash, Indiana native, the 6’2”, 205 lb. right-handed pitcher was picked in the 11th round of the 1986 draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, 264th overall out of Wabash HS. Aside from his time in the Marlins’ system, Shepherd also at one point or another counted himself as a Pirate, a Kansas City Royal, a Cleveland Indian, a Chicago White Sock, a Philadelphia Phillies, a Colorado Rockie, a Boston Red Sock, a Baltimore Oriole, and a New York Met. He made a total of 41 major league appearances, between the Phillies, the Rockies, the Red Sox, and the Orioles, going 2-5 with a 6.71 ERA and 34 whiffs in 63 innings.
Brian Reid (43)
Reid was a 5’8”, 175 lb. shortstop from Mesa, Arizona. The Marlins chose him in the 74th round of the 1993 draft, 1,670th off the board out of Corona del Sol HS in Tempe, AZ. The deal, apparently, wasn't good enough to turn down college, and Reid played in 85 games for the Grand Canyon Antelopes, hitting .187/.305/.255 in parts of three seasons of Division I play.
To everyone with a January 21st birthday, we want to wish you a good one and many more. Check back tomorrow for more Marlins history.