1987 Rewind: Game Eighty-six


Date:  Thursday, July 9.

Batting stars:  Tim Laudner was 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, his twelfth.  Mark Davidson was 2-for-4 with a double.

Pitching stars:  Les Straker pitched 7.1 innings, giving up one run on six hits and two walks with one strikeout.  Jeff Reardon struck out four in 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Eric Bell pitched 7.2 innings, giving up three runs on six hits and two walks with four strikeouts.  Mark Williamson struck out three in 1.1 perfect innings.

The game:  It was scoreless until the fifth, when Laudner hit a three-run homer.  Straker allowed only one hit through six innings, but gave up three singles in the seventh that led to a run.  He allowed a single and a double in the eighth, bringing Reardon on with one out.  He struck out Cal Ripken and Eddie Murray to end the threat.  Larry Sheets got a leadoff single in the ninth but did not advance past first base.

Of note:  Kirby Puckett was 0-for-3 with a walk and was batting .340.

Record:  The Twins were 48-38, in first place by two games over Kansas City.

Notes:  Davidson was in right field and batted second, with Tom Brunansky at DH and Roy Smalley out of the lineup.

Player profile:  This was the only year Eric Bell would be a rotation starter.  A ninth round draft choice by the Orioles in 1982, he reached Baltimore as a September call-up in 1985 after a good year in Class A.  He got another September call-up in 1986 and was with the Orioles all of 1987 at age twenty-three despite having made only 11 starts in AAA.  He wasn't a disaster, but it wasn't a good year, either:  10-13, 5.45, 1.53 WHIP.  He was apparently injured much of the next two seasons, making only seven minor league starts in 1988 and fourteen in 1989.  He played a full season in AAA in 1990, and while he may have been healthy he was not particularly effective.  The Orioles let him become a free agent after the season and he signed with Cleveland.  He was a starter in the minors, but whenever he got a chance in the majors it was in the bullpen.  He got ten appearances with the Indians in 1991, seven more in 1992, and got ten appearances with Houston in 1993.  That was his major league swan song, although he continued to pitch in AAA through 1996.  His major league numbers are 15-18, 5.18, 1.49 WHIP in 234.2 innings (68 games, 34 starts.  165 of those innings came in 1987.

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