May 23, 2020

About Ron Davis, one more time

In our slower, baseball-less world, except in South Korea, of course, I found myself staring at Twitter when a tweet popped up about a horrible Twins loss on May 13, 1985. Where did this happen? Where else? The Bronx, the site of so much Twins agony.

On that spring night at Yankee Stadium, the Twins raced out to an 8-0 lead, only to see the Bombers chip away at that lead all night until they had two men on in the bottom of the ninth. On the mound for the Twins, reliever Ron Davis. At the plate for the Yankees, the eventual AL MVP winner that season, Don Mattingly.

A video of this moment can be found on YouTube. Davis throws ball one to the Hit Man, then his next pitch is thrown expertly down the middle. Donnie Baseball doesn’t miss and crushes it for a three-run, walk-off win, 9-8. And so it goes, Twins fans. Here’s the hard part: It was Davis’s third loss that week.

It all began May 10 at Memorial Stadium, the former home ground of the Baltimore Orioles. The Twins were certainly game enough. Mickey, Kent and Bruno banged out six of the Twins’ 10 hits, but the O’s Fred Lynn stepped up to the plate in the ninth and homered off Davis for the 6-5 win.

The next day they were back to play the Orioles again. The Twins took the early lead, but later served up three runs in the ninth. This time Davis set up closer, Curt Wardle, but it didn’t matter because Davis allowed two men to get on base, then Wardle gave up the home run to Lynn for the 4-2 win. The blown save went to Wardle, the loss to Davis. And then it was on to the Bronx…

Davis finished May 1985 with a record of 1-5 and an ERA of 6.75.

Extra innings…

-Happy anniversary, Rod Carew. On May 20, 1970, Carew went 4-for-5 and hit for the cycle in a 10-5 win over the Kansas City Royals before only 7,700 fans at Municipal Stadium in K.C.

-The 1970 Twins were a good team. Pitcher Jim Perry won 24 games and the AL Cy Young award, Harmon hit 41 home runs and Tony Oliva hit .325 and drove in 107 runs. The team stumbled in August, but came roaring back in September to win 21 games that month. They won the division by nine games. As good as the Twins were, the Baltimore Orioles were even better.

That O’s team was a juggernaut in 1970, winning 108 games and the division by 15 games. Jim Palmer, Mike Cuellar and Dave McNally all won 20-plus games that season, and Boog Powell crushed 35 dingers and drove in 114.

The Twins were swept by the Orioles 3-0 in the AL Championship Series (none of the games were really close; Palmer struck out 12 in Game 3), then the O’s won the World Series in five games over the Cincinnati Reds.



Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.