August 6th, 2010

August 6 – Happy Birthday Ron Davis

RonDavisWatching the Yankees struggle in seasons past to build an effective bridge between their starting pitchers and Mariano Rivera made me appreciate Ron Davis even more. From 1979, when he went 14-2 in his rookie season with New York, until 1981 when he was traded to the Twins for Roy Smalley, there was no better bridge pitcher in baseball than this tall, right-handed fireballer. With no disrespect to Dave Robertson, Phil Hughes, Flash Gordon, Mike Stanton or even Mo himself (Mariano began his Yankee career as the very-effective bridge to closer John Wetteland for the 1996 World Champions) if I had to pick a guy to hold a lead in the seventh and eighth inning for the all-time Yankee team, I’d pick the Ron Davis I watched baffle Yankee opponents in those two late-innings for almost three seasons. That’s how good he was. The Twins converted him into a closer and he did fine in that role for four seasons but Ron Davis  was born to take the ball from a starter with his team ahead and give it to a closer with that lead still intact.

Ron was born on this date in 1955, in Houston. He told the NY Post in 2009 that he wasn’t ready to leave the big leagues when he did at the age of 32, but doing so made it possible for him to become part of his own family’s life. He had already been divorced once by then and had five children from his two marriages. he became a stay-at-home Dad after leaving the game, who became very involved in his children’s lives. His youngest child Ike now plays first base for the New York Mets.

Davis shares his August 6th birthday with this former Yankee who was immortalized in a famous “Seinfeld” episode, this former Yankee reliever and this long-time Yankee pitching coach.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1978 NYY 0 0 11.57 4 0 2 0 0 0 2.1 3 4 3 0 3 0 2.571
1979 NYY 14 2 .875 2.85 44 0 21 0 0 9 85.1 84 29 27 5 28 43 1.313
1980 NYY 9 3 .750 2.95 53 0 29 0 0 7 131.0 121 50 43 9 32 65 1.168
1981 NYY 4 5 .444 2.71 43 0 22 0 0 6 73.0 47 22 22 6 25 83 0.986
11 Yrs 47 53 .470 4.05 481 0 340 0 0 130 746.2 735 361 336 82 300 597 1.386
MIN (5 yrs) 19 40 .322 4.51 286 0 249 0 0 108 381.1 384 201 191 47 185 349 1.492
NYY (4 yrs) 27 10 .730 2.93 144 0 74 0 0 22 291.2 255 105 95 20 88 191 1.176
CHC (2 yrs) 0 2 .000 6.54 38 0 11 0 0 0 52.1 74 41 38 11 15 41 1.701
SFG (1 yr) 1 1 .500 4.67 9 0 4 0 0 0 17.1 15 10 9 4 6 15 1.212
LAD (1 yr) 0 0 6.75 4 0 2 0 0 0 4.0 7 4 3 0 6 1 3.250
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/5/2013.