Mark Langston on Alvin Davis and Seattle
Former Mariners pitcher Mark Langston has fond memories of Seattle and he says he’s looking forward to throwing out the ceremonial first pitch on Saturday night at Safeco Field, part of the Mariners season-long 35th Anniversary tribute.
Langston broke into the Major Leagues in 1984. He won 17 games and was named Rookie Pitcher of the Year by the Sporting News. He might have been the American League Rookie of the Year but for another pretty good young guy who was his teammate, Alvin Davis.
“He was my closest friend, bar none. There’s not a better human on the planet than Alvin Davis. If he called me today and asked me to do anything, I’d do it.”
Langston and Alvin were roommates on the road “the whole time I was in Seattle.”
After games, the two would go back to their hotel room and “digest the game. I’d hear from the hitter’s standpoint, and Alvin was one of the better hitters in the game, and that really helped me formulate my pitching plan. I’d listen to him, he’d listen to me,” says Langston.
Langston laments that players today no longer have roommates on the road. “Everyone goes back to his own room and watches SportsCenter or whatever, and the communication isn’t as good as it used to be.”
Langston now works for the Angels as a radio analyst for 50 home games a season. He says it’s a great way to stay connected with the game without the demands of 162 games and traveling half the summer.
“While the team is on the road, I’m watching games, studying the opposing players, learning about the other teams. It feels like I’m doing scouting reports when I pitched,” says Langston.
During his pitching days, Langston says he was always a student of the offensive side of the game. “On the bench, I never sat with pitchers, I always sat with hitters. I usually hung out with Rod Carew (Hall of Famer who was the Angels hitting coach from 1992-1999). He’d break it down for me, deconstruct an at-bat. He’d say ‘watch where his hands are.’”
Langston listened to Carew and the other hitters and that helped him formulate his approach to pitching. That experience gave him a deeper knowledge of both sides of the game, which comes in handy as an analyst. “I may not get all the mechanics of the offense, but I’ve got a good understanding,” says Langston.
Although Langston won’t be traveling with the Angels to Seattle during the season, he’s likely to find a lot of opportunities to head north. His oldest daughter Katie, 27, is moving to Seattle this week.
“Katie was born in Seattle, and she was three when we got traded to Montreal. But she’s always had this connection to the city,” says Langston, who calls Seattle a “special place for our family.”
When asked if Katie has any idea about the difference between the climate here and in sunny Southern California, he says he “relayed the information about the weather,” but she’s undaunted. “She may miss the Southern California weather, but she and her husband are looking forward to disconnecting from L.A., and Seattle will be a nice change.”
As for the rest of the family, Langston’s younger daughter, Abby, just finished her freshman year at Texas Christian University, where she is on an equestrian scholarship. And his wife is in her second season working with the Angels as a real estate consultant helping players find housing, something she has a unique perspective on because “she understands every aspect of their needs.”
Next on tap for the Mariners 35th Anniversary celebration is Bill Caudill, July 15.