Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Card #2: Ron Davis Highlight

Like a baby learning to walk, this blog is putting one hesitant foot in front of the other.  On to Card #2:

Who Can It Be Now? 
Ron Davis was a fireballing righty who teamed with the imposing Goose Gossage to form a bullpen tandem that made coming back to try to win games in the late innings against the Yankees a very difficult task.

For what it is worth, Davis still holds the record for most consecutive batters struck out in a relief role.  Based on how pitchers are used in the middle and late innings these days, unless you get a guy whiffing people in a mop-up role or in an extremely long extra innings game, this record could stand for another 30 years.

Family Ties 
Baseball ability tends to run in families.  To celebrate those ties and named in honor of the 1980s sitcom of the same name which debuted in 1982, we have this category.

Ron Davis's son is current (as of today, at least) Mets first baseman Ike Davis.  Interestingly, while Ron was brought up Baptist, Ike's mother is Millie Gollinger, who is Jewish.  In doing research into his family tree, Ike found out that much of his mother's family (originally from Lithuania) perished in the Holocaust.

A Few Minutes with Tony L. 
I didn't like Ron Davis much by the time this card came out in 1982.  That is because he was a New York Yankee.  

The 1981 season, of course, was interrupted by the players' union strike and resulted in the first time that baseball went to a three-tiered playoff to have the divisional champion of the "first half" play against the divisional champion of the "second half."  The Yankees "won" the first half of the season, finishing at 34-22 in the first 56 games of the season.  After play resumed in July, Milwaukee went on a run and finished the second half as the divisional champions with a 31-22 record.  

In the combined standings, that meant that the Brewers "won" the Division by finishing 62-47, one game ahead of the second place Orioles.  The Yankees finished at 59-48, third (by one percentage point) and tied on record with the Detroit Tigers 2 games behind.  

In the first round of the playoffs, the Yankees and Brewers had to face off in a 5-game series to decide who would play the winner of the divisional series between Oakland and Kansas City from the West.  The series went 5 games, with the Yankees beating the Brewers 3 games to 2 -- thwarting the Brewers come back from being 2 games down in the series.

Ron Davis played a key role in the Yankees winning both games 1 and 2 and in winning the series, pitching 6 scoreless innings of one-hit ball.  Having robbed me of the possibility of an American League Championship Series in Milwaukee in 1981, Davis and Gossage immediately became unwelcome in my world.

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