Tag Archives: Ron Davis

Happy Birthday–August 6

Sam Mertes (1872)
Sherry Magee (1884)
Ray Blades (1896)
Jim Turner (1903)
Prez Jones (1905)
Clem Labine (1926)
Ray Culp (1941)
Andy Messersmith (1945)
Ken Phelps (1954)
Ron Davis (1955)
Bob Horner (1957)
Stan Belinda (1966)
Chris Heintz (1974)
Luis Vizcaino (1974)
Jake McGee (1986)

Prez Jones was the president of Grambling University and started the school's baseball team.

We would also like to welcome to earth MagUidHir's second child!

Continue reading Happy Birthday–August 6

Random Rewind: 1984, Game One Hundred Fourteen

SEATTLE 5, MINNESOTA 4 IN SEATTLE (10 INNINGS)

Date:  Saturday, August 11.

Batting stars:  Tom Brunansky was 3-for-4 with two home runs (his twenty-second and twenty-third), a walk, and three RBIs.  Tim Teufel was 2-for-4 with a home run, his twelfth.  Randy Bush was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.

Pitching stars:  Mike Smithson pitched 7.1 innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on seven hits and no walks and striking out six.  Ron Davis pitched 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up two hits and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Salome Barojas pitched 7.2 innings, giving up three runs on eight hits and four walks and striking out four.  Alvin Davis was 3-for-4 with a two-run homer (his twenty-fourth), a walk, and two runs.  Steve Henderson was 2-for-4 with a double.  Ken Phelps was 2-for-4.  Al Cowens was 2-for-5 with a double.

The game:  The Twins loaded the bases with two out in the first but could not score.  The Mariners put men on first and third with two out in the first but could not score.  In the third, however, Seattle did score--Jack Perconte hit a one-out double and Davis hit a two-out two-run homer to give the Mariners a 2-0 lead.

The Twins got one back in the fourth on Brunansky's homer.  It stayed 2-1 until the eighth.  With two out Bush walked and Brunansky struck again, hitting a two-run homer to give the Twins their first lead at 3-2.

The lead lasted until the bottom of the eighth.  With one out Spike Owen reached on an error.  Davis and Phelps followed with singles, tying the score, and Henderson hit a two-out double that put Seattle back in front 4-3.  The Twins came right back in the ninth, as Teufel hit a leadoff homer to tie it 4-4.

The Twins went down in order in the top of the tenth.  In the bottom half, Owen led off with a single and Davis walked.  Barry Bonnell fouled out, but Cowens delivered an RBI single that gave the Mariners the victory.

WP:  Edwin Nunez (2-1).  LP:  Pete Filson (6-4).  S:  None.

Notes:  Tim Laudner was the catcher.  He shared the job with Dave Engle in 1984, with Engle catching slightly more games (86 to 81).  Neither was anything great at the plate--Engle hit for a better average, Laudner had more power, but both posted an OPS below .670.  Neither had a reputation as a great defensive catcher, either.

Darrell Brown was in left in place of Mickey Hatcher, who was out for a few days.

Andre David pinch-hit for Houston Jimenez in the seventh.  Ron Washington came in to play shortstop.

Kent Hrbek was leading the team in batting average at .326.  He would finish at .311.  Kirby Puckett was batting .301.  He would finish at .296.  Hatcher would also finish over .300, at .302.

The Twins had three solid starters in 1984:  Frank Viola (18-12, 3.21), Smithson (15-13, 3.68), and John Butcher (13-11, 3.44).  They couldn't find a fourth or a fifth, though.  Making double-digit starts were Ken Schrom (5-11, 4.47), Ed Hodge (4-3, 4.77), and Al Williams (3-5, 5.77).

If you're like me, when 1984 came up and you saw the Twins had lost in extra innings, you may have suspected that Davis had blown the game.  Well, yes and no.  He came in in the eighth inning with men on first and second, one out, and a tie game.  He retired one man and then gave up the RBI double to Henderson that put Seattle in front 4-3.  The Twins tied it in the ninth and he retired the side in the bottom of the ninth with no trouble.  Filson came in to start the tenth and Mike Walters eventually gave up the deciding hit.

Even though the Twins were in contention most of the way, they were a pretty flawed team.  They had some very good players, but also some very obvious holes.  We discussed catcher and fourth and fifth starter.  Another hole was shortstop.  Jimenez played the most there, but batted .201/.238/.245 in 317 plate appearances.  Washington was a superior batter, batting .294/.307/.447 in 206 plate appearances, but he was not good enough to field the position.  Others tried were Lenny Faedo and Chris Speier (at the end of his career).  Had the Twins been able to find even an average shortstop, they probably would have won the division.

Record:  The Twins were 59-55, in first place in the American League West, 1.5 games ahead of California.  They would finish 81-81, tied for second with California, three games behind Kansas City.

The Mariners were 53-65, in sixth place in the American League West, 8 games behind Minnesota.  They would finish 74-88, tied for fifth with Chicago, 10 games behind Kansas City.

Rewind Record:  The Twins are 35-29 in Random Rewind games.

The Summer I Learned To Hate Ron Davis

I was only three years old during the 1984 season. I hated eggs and potty training, but I'm sure I had few thoughts on Ron Davis. The first year I paid attention to the Twins was 1987. That was a good year to start, I think.

Now that I'm older, I understood the hatred for Ron Davis, even if it was irrational. I felt somewhat similar in 2001 watching LaTroy Hawkins blow save after save. It wasn't in September, but he was partly responsible for the Twins fading down the stretch. So I understood it. But I didn't get it.

So I decided to try and live it. I bought the 1984 season for Diamond Mind Baseball and played with the hometown team. Unlike Billy Gardner, I knew that Davis wasn't going to be much good. So I didn't use him as often.

Gardner put him out there for 83 innings, while I could only stomach 55. In real life, Davis blew 14 of 43 save opportunities. He thrived even worse for me, blowing 8 of 18 save opportunities. Overall, though, his statistic wound up about the same with a virtually identical WHIP and strikeout rate.

Why did I even let him pitch that often? Well, the main problem with the 1984 Twins was that all of their relief pitchers were terrible. Some of them had decent ERAs, but none of them could be counted on to close anything as difficult as a cupboard door. Thus, I burned through relievers quite a bit, and Lysander and Filson had even worse luck than Davis. Gardner must have hated his relief options as well, since the Twins threw 32 complete games that year. I allowed them to pitch 42.

How did the season go? John Castino was on fire before I lost him to a career-ending injury. Brunansky led the way with 36 homers. Puckett was brilliant on defense, as expected (he had one of the best seasons ever for a centerfielder that year). Hrbek underperformed his near MVP year, though he still played well. The starting pitching was good, despite Butcher and Smithson allowing 69 homers between them.

In an early series against the Angels, the Twins had blown a 9-2 lead to lose 16-14. The next game was more of the same, blowing a 7-2 lead to go down 15-9.  But a Brunansky grand slam and a clutch Darrell Brown single tied it in the 9th. Hrbek walked off the game with a homer to win 16-15.

Instead of fighting the Royals and the Angels for a playoff spot, they only had the Royals to contend with, the Angels somehow finishing with 102 losses in this simulation. The Twins led the division nearly the entire way, but after a three game-sweep at the Royals in early September, the Twins had blown an 8 game lead and were tied.  All dramatics soon vanished, however, when they swept the Royals at home the week after and reeled off 13 wins in 18 days. They lost three games in a row to end the season, but still finished the division with 89 wins (3 ahead of the Royals) and a division championship.

Of course, the 1984 Tigers were waiting. In game one of the ALDS, Viola blew a 2-0 lead late. But the Twins evened it up with a 7-6 victory in game 2, thanks to a Hrbek come-from-behind blast in the 8th. Game 3 was a 4-3 loss, thanks to Smithson and Filson blowing another lead. And Game 4 ended the series, with another 4-3 loss.

One guess as to who gave up that 4th run.

2012 Game Logs: Game 18 Red Sox @ Twins

Josh Beckett
v
Nick Blac_burn

I figure I should try telling a story.

"Give me one of everything" he said as he slowly approached the St. Paul diner's dilapidated counter. Maggie, the aging waitress, laughed. "The usual, eh?" She was greeted by silence.

It had been 12 hours since he had induced himself into a food coma the night before. He had always used food as a coping mechanism and the previous night was no different. As he left work on Monday night he was accosted by his co-workers, his managers, and those who monitored his work.

"Do you have the internet, Maggie?" Before she could answer back Matt continued "I went home last night after stopping at Pizza Hut for unlimited medium pizzas for $10 each. After I finished I logged onto my America Online Account and went to the USA TODAY homepage. A home page is kind of like a newspaper on your computer, Maggie, and all I saw was how stupid I looked. There I was, right there for everyone to see. It was so embarrassing. Have you ever been on a newspaper, Maggie?

"Well, no, Matt. I am just a simple waitress from a small town"

"I knew you wouldn't understand" groaned Matt as Maggie walked away unsure of what to say-- again.

It was at that time that a slovenly cook clumsily walked from the kitchen with three plates of food.

"Dammit, Matt, you can't come in here every morning and make my waitress feel like garbage. I know what it feels like to be in the news. Oh, I know alright". Matt looked up from his slice of Key Lime Pie that Maggie had brought as an appetizer. "What the hell are you talking about?" Matt asked the cook.

"Your not from around here, are you?" said the cook. "I can tell just by looking at 'cha. You wouldn't know it but I used to be someone around here. Just one town over, I used to be somebody".

"Sure you were, pops" said the equally slobbish patron as he shoved the fresh fishsticks dipped into mustard in his mouth.

"You might not know me but we have a lot in common, Matt. If you aren't careful, this could be your future" he said as he waved his hands pointing to the sparsely populated diner. "I used to play baseball, too, Matt. Yessir, I know who you are. What, you don't think that we get the newspaper here? Get your head out of your rear end. Anyway, I used to be like you Matt. I was a pitcher, too. In fact, I even pitched at the end of games, just like you."

Matt interrupted "Gees, Joe, you look like crap. Texas sure has aged you."

"I am not Joe Nathan!" screamed the man as Maggie brought more plates of food out to Matt. "Look at the mirror. You are eating yourself into a gosh darn joke." Matt looked down into his plates, confused. "The year was 1986 and we had all the making of a fine young team. We had Kent and Kirby, Bruno and Gags. They were mostly kids but they were on the brink of something special. That was, until Frankie or Bert handed the ball off to me. After that, well, let's just say my back was on the front page of the newspaper a few times".

"Like the USA Today?"

"Yeah, Matt, even USA Today. Now go wash off your hands and get the hell out of here before your eat yourself right out of the big leagues, ya hear?"

"Yes sir" Matt replied.

And with that, Matt Capps walked as fast as he could to his car and drove to Target Field to begin training for that night's baseball game.

As he was leaving Maggie turned to the cook, who it turns out owned the diner, and screamed:

"Dammit, Ron, you just lost our best customer. He was putting my kid through college. He was single handily keeping our the restaurant afloat! We are going to have to close the doors here at Davis' Diner!"

Ron laughed and said "don't worry, Maggie, he will be back. He always comes back."