August 6 – Happy Birthday Ron Davis
Watching 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. His son Ike now plays first base for the New York Mets.