Michael Cuddyer retired recently. Forgive me if I misspelled his first name. My middle name is "Michael" and I never know how to spell it. I also screw up "I" and "E" all the time. Vowels suck.
Drafted in 1997 by the Twins, Cuddyer was considered a middling-to-good prospect for many seasons. Around the time I started following this team, Cuddyer was mentioned in Prospect Watching Publications as the lamer version of Michael (sp?) Restovich.
Originally pegged as a shortstop, Cuddyer struggled at that position. It came out some years later that he was deaf in his left ear, making it difficult for Cuddyer to hear communication from fielders on his left side. Cuddyer kept this as secret as he could. There is by no means anything shameful in having hearing loss, however MLB teams might understandably regard this as a handicap (in real, non-baseball life, it is something society should adjust to and not the other way around.)
Cuddyer began thriving with the Twins once he moved to right field. He wasn't exactly rangy out there by the Metrodome milk jug, but he caught most everything hit at him and had a monster-sized throwing arm.
Cuddyer was noted as a clubhouse guy, both for his experience as a late-blooming prospect and his general geniality. He was (is, he's not dead, I don't know why I'm adopting this past-tense tone) a gifted amateur magician. See him charming/creeping out kids here, or Denard Span here, or random fans in Maple Grove here, or in Colorado here. (The Colorado trick is my favorite. I'm a sucker for card magicians.)
And, like Twins fan favorite/whipping post Joe Mauer, Cuddyer's first kids were twins.
Here's his retirement note:
"To the Twins, Rockies and Mets, thank you for always treating me with class and respect. Thank you to my managers and coaches both in the minor leagues and major leagues. Thank you to my teammates. Every one of you holds a special place in my heart. Thank you to all of the front office workers, PR departments, clubhouse attendants, head clubhouse guys, and trainers for the wonderful relationships we formed. Thank you to all of the stadium workers and security that took care of my family while I was playing. Thank you to the fans, for loving me, celebrating me and especially for holding me accountable for times I didn’t live up to your standards."
Dude did fine but basically beats himself up for not doing better. My kind of guy.