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20 & 20: Magic Johnson & Eric Davis

<em>Simon Barnett | Getty Images</em>
Simon Barnett | Getty Images

Twenty years ago today, the sports world stopped. Magic Johnson announced that he was HIV positive and had to retire from the Lakers. What nearly everyone thought was a death sentence was anything but for Magic, who lives on to this day. Today he held a press conference to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Magic Johnson Foundation:

Also in the news on November 7, 1991 was a baseball story in the Los Angeles Times from Bob Nightengale about a potential hot stove move:

The Padres are moving closer to acquiring All-Star center fielder Eric Davis of the Cincinnati Reds in a multi-player trade, a highly placed source said.

The Padres are discussing a proposal that would send infielder/outfielder Bip Roberts and possibly two other players in a package deal for Davis, the source said.

"Let's put it like this, I'll be very surprised if it doesn't happen," the source said.

Nightengale also mentioned the Dodgers had interest in Davis, who had one year and $3.1 million remaining on his contract and was still recovering from a lacerated kidney suffered during the 1990 World Series.

That trade between the Padres and Reds never happened, but just 20 days later the Dodgers sent pitchers Tim Belcher and John Wetteland to the Reds for Davis and pitcher Kip Gross.

Belcher was 50-39 in just over four seasons with the Dodgers with a 2.99 ERA and 118 ERA+, but had also just turned 30. Wetteland was a 25-year old relief pitcher who would save 329 games with a 2.70 ERA over the next nine years.

Davis never was able to succeed in his hometown. The "triple threat" outfield of Davis, Brett Butler, and Darryl Strawberry didn't pan out, with only Butler doing anything at all. Davis had 19 home runs in 184 games with the Dodgers in about a season and a half, hitting .232/.315/.362 before he was traded to the Detroit Tigers in 1993 for a pitcher named John DeSilva, who pitched in three games for the Dodgers.

Sometimes you can't go home again.