WASHINGTON – Not one but two former infielders in the Washington system celebrate birthdays today, April 1.
Will Rhymes was born on April 1, 1983, in Houston. He played in college at William & Mary in Virginia, and was drafted in the 27th round from the Tribe program by the Detroit Tigers in 2005.
Rhymes played in the majors for Detroit in 2010 and 2011 and for Tampa Bay in 2012.
The infielder ended his pro career at the Triple-A level in the Washington farm system, playing for Syracuse in 2013 and 2014.
Daniel Murphy, who was very productive while with the Nationals, was born on April 1, 1985, in Jacksonville, Florida.
He stayed home to play in college at Jacksonville and for two summers while in college played for Luray in the Valley Baseball League in Virginia.
One of his teammates there was Harrisonburg, Virginia native Brian Bocock, who played shortstop in the majors for the Giants and Phillies.
Murphy was drafted out of college by the Mets in the 13th round in 2006.
He played for the Mets from 2008 to 2015 and was a postseason star in 2015 as the Mets made the World Series.
The lefty hitter had an average of .347 and .322 in his first two years with the Nationals, in 2016 and 2017.
He was dealt to the Cubs at the trade deadline in 2018.
Murphy was with the Rockies in 2020 and after that season announced his retirement.
April 1 was also a milestone in the career of Bryce Harper, the former Washington MVP.
“The legend of Bryce Harper keeps growing. He homers off Miami’s Ricky Nolasco in his first two at-bats of the season and accounts for all of the Nationals’ runs in a 2-0 Opening Day win at home. Harper, the reigning National League Rookie of the Year, is the youngest player to homer twice on Opening Day. Stephen Strasburg gets the win, giving up three hits and no walks in seven innings,” baseballreference.com wrote of that day in 2013.
In 2021, the Nats had their Opening Day on April 1 called off against the Mets due to COVID-19 issues with Washington players.