Damon Minor continues majors race with brother Fraternal twin roots for, also competes with, Ryan

October 29, 1998|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

As far as Damon Minor is concerned, the game is not over.

When twin brother Ryan made history by becoming the player who replaced Cal Ripken in the Orioles' starting lineup, Damon did not consider it an end to their race to the majors.

"We always root for each other, but we have always competed, too," said Damon, who is completing a stint with the Delmarva Rockfish in the Maryland Fall League.

"We help each other out, but we both want to be the first up there." Permanently, he means.

Damon, Ryan's fraternal twin, is built almost exactly like Ryan, 6 feet 7 and 230 pounds. But he plays exclusively at first base and throws and bats left-handed while Ryan is right-handed all the way.

Like most sluggers, Damon is prone to the strikeout (229 in 215 games his first two years), but he belted 31 home runs at Bakersfield in 1997 and has flirted with a .300 batting average his last two seasons.

He could be a San Francisco Giant soon although a guy named J. T. Snow stands in front of him.

"J. T. and me, that's it in the system," he said matter-of-factly. "I'd like to be up there next season. I think I could help the big club."

The big difference in the brothers' athletic careers is that Damon never had much interest in basketball. "I had no future there," he said.

When Ryan made his historic start at Camden Yards, Damon was in the stands cheering him on.

"He didn't find out until 10 minutes before," said Damon. "He still had the nerves flowing when he went out there. But after he touched one ball, he was pumped to play."

Damon was drafted by the New York Mets following his junior year at Oklahoma but stayed to finish his eligibility. He and Ryan often manned the corners as Sooners teammates and Damon played first base for the school's 1994 College World Series champion. "This league gives you a chance to get used to the cold," he said of the first-year circuit. "But it also helps you learn a lot of things. I think I'm doing pretty well here."

Damon is likely to play for the Giants' Triple-A club at Fresno next summer.

FALL-LEAGUE NOTES: Bowie manager John Tamargo was promoted to bullpen coach of the Houston Astros after winning the Triple-A World Series with their top affiliate, New Orleans. The Nationals' pitching coach, former Oriole Steve Luebber, has been advanced to the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs by the Florida organization. More than 5,000 students from elementary and middle schools participated in a "Read and Hit a Home Run" program at Bowie, producing the league's biggest crowd, 9,065. That is believed to be a fall-league record. Orioles farmhand Eddie Garabito was named the latest Player of the Week after batting .323 with two doubles, a triple and two home runs. He scored eight times. Garabito, a 19-year-old infielder, is tied for the league lead with 13 extra-base hits. Only Bowie is out of contention as the league plays its final week. With six games left, Frederick was 19-15, Delmarva 18-15 and Delaware 17-17. Frederick and Delmarva have combined for 74 of the league's 98 home runs.

Pub Date: 10/29/98

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