When he was a big-league pitcher, Ron Davis had the nickname “Topper.” Teammates used to say that if you saw a 25-foot great white, he’d say he saw a 26-footer. This actually was in contention for my recent list of 101 all-time baseball nicknames but didn’t quite make the cut.
In any event, Ron’s son Ike topped his dad in terms of big league debuts last night. Ron said in one of his interviews this week that he first came up to the Yankees in 1978, and not just any old day in 1978, but Old Timers Day at Yankee Stadium. And not just any Old Timers Day, but the one at which Billy Martin was sneaked in, hidden away and then introduced as future (as well as former) manager. The place went nuts.
Needless to say, Ron wasn’t the star of the show as Ike was at Citi Field last night.
That’s fine with dad, who told Michael Kay on the latter’s radio show yesterday that he figured he would be much more nervous than the rookie first baseman.
Ron was asked what kind of player his son is and first the former pitcher said, “a team player.” When Kay pressed him, the elder Davis said he hates labels, but added that Ike is said to be a John Olerud type. That is, solid around the bag and a good line drive hitter. Don’t expect tons of home runs, but the onetime standout setup man (before they were called setup men) believes Ike can hit 45 to 60 doubles a season.
An Olerud type? The Mets will shake on that right now.