A Crash Landing
You can't help but think of Crash Davis, the journeyman catcher played by Kevin Costner in the movie Bull Durham, when you consider Doug Davis, a 29-year-old catcher who the Rangers called up from Triple A Oklahoma City last week. A minor leaguer for 8� years, Davis got the call because catcher Ivan Rodriguez left to attend his grandfather's funeral. This is Davis's second big league tour; he was 0 for 12 in a two-week stay with California in 1988. Davis was issued uniform number 66, meaning he may not stay up in the majors for long. "You'd think they'd have given me a little lower number," he said, smiling. "But at least I have a number." And he has a hit. Last Thursday he got a single, and he called for the ball afterward. "I'll put that ball and the bat somewhere special," he said.
He May Be onto Something Here
Only three teams in baseball history have started a season with a 1-16 record or worse, and pitcher Mike Boddicker has played for two of them—the '88 Orioles, who lost their first 21 games, and this year's Royals, who were 1-16 before beating Toronto on Sunday night. (The 1907 Brooklyn Dodgers were the third team.) Even Boddicker is starting to wonder. "Do you think it's me?" he asks.
Life in the Fast Lane
The Orioles' most pleasant surprise this season may be the standout play of speedy leftfielder Brady Anderson, who has filled their desperate need for a leadoff man. Through Sunday he was hitting .309 with the second-highest RBI total in the league, 18. That's quite a turnaround for Anderson, who hit .230 with 27 RBIs in 1991. This is how bad things got for him last year. He was in a car with former teammate Rene Gonzalez when a rainstorm hit, making driving dangerous. Gonzalez, though, continued to zoom along at 60 mph. "Gonz, if I wasn't hitting. 178, I'd ask you to slow down," Anderson said.
Tiger catcher Mickey Tettleton had an unusual week at the plate. On April 19 he became the first player to hit a homer over the 25-foot-high rightfield wall at Orioles Park at Camden Yards. The next night he belted another homer that fell only about 25 feet short of reaching the warehouse behind the rightfield wall. (The first player to hit the warehouse wins a car.) On April 22, against an exaggerated shift put on by the Rangers, Tettleton dropped a bunt down the third base line for his first bunt single in five years. "I don't think I'll be breaking that one out again for a while," he said.
He Also Shoots Baskets with a Medicine Ball
Texas second baseman Julio Franco sometimes takes batting practice with the weighted batting doughnut on his bat. "He hits the ball right on the button, to wherever he wants on the field, just like without the doughnut," says Rangers manager Bobby Valentine. "How does he do that?"
By the Numbers
?The next homer for the Mets' Eddie Murray will be number 400. When he gets it, he will become the 15th player in history with at least 400 homers and 2,500 hits. Of the 14 players who have accomplished this feat, 12 are in the Hall of Fame and the other two, Reggie Jackson and Dave Winfield, will most likely join them when they become eligible.
?Free-swinging Cubs Shawon Dunston and Sammy Sosa are among the least likely players in the majors to walk, but twice this year Phillie pitcher Tommy Greene has walked them back-to-back to open games.