Results tagged ‘ Paul Boris ’

Another Stadium, another Davis

There was a decided lack of buzz at Yankee Stadium before the opener of Subway Series II. Perhaps it was due to the late-arriving crowd dealing with the usual Friday in the summer rush-hour traffic. At any rate, it was so quiet you would have thought you were at Dodger Stadium, where entering the park in the third inning and leaving in the seventh has been a ritual in L.A.

Then the game started, and it didn’t take long for the folks to get into it. Mets third baseman David Wright, who entered the game leading the National League in runs batted in, got Yankees fans booing when he doubled to left with two out in the first. Ike Davis, in his first Yankee Stadium at-bat, dropped a single in front of Nick Swisher in right field.

A play at the plate followed, with Wright sliding hands first and slapping the bottom of the plate while eluding catcher Francisco Cervelli’s swipe tag. Yankees fans bellowed, but replays from several angles indicated that Cervelli never touched Wright.

Davis was looking forward to playing at the Stadium. “It would have been nice to have played at the old one where my dad pitched, but this is just as cool,” Ike said before the game.

Ike’s father was Ron Davis, a hard-throwing, right-handed pitcher who is often considered the first set-up reliever. He may not have been the first, but in his four seasons with the Yankees (1979-82) setting up for Goose Gossage Davis was one of the best.

The 6-4, 200-pounder was 27-10 with a 2.93 ERA in 144 appearances for the Yankees, including a spectacular 1979 season when he was 14-2 with nine saves and a 2.85 ERA. Davis was that rarity, a non-closer who made the All-Star team, in 1981. However, he did get roughed up by the Dodgers that year in the World Series (23.14 ERA) after he had pitched 9 1/3 scoreless innings of one-hit relief in the playoffs.

The Yankees found themselves in need of a veteran shortstop early in the 1982 season and that April they traded Davis and two minor-leaguers, pitcher Paul Boris and infielder Greg Gagne, to the Twins for Roy Smalley. The Twins made Davis their closer, and while he had 108 saves in five years in Minnesota his record was 19-40 with a 4.51 ERA. It was a bad trade all around because Gagne turned out to be a much better shortstop than Smalley, who if nothing else was sartorially splendid and earned the nickname “Tootsie,” after the popular Dustin Hoffman movie.

Ron Davis lives in Arizona, but he and his family are in town for the weekend and will be at the Stadium to see their boy play.

Speaking of newcomers, the Yankees signed their first-round draft choice, shortstop Cito Culver of Rochester, N.Y. He had committed to attend the University of Maryland, but that was before he was drafted by the Yankees. College will have to wait.