A tall control specialist, Downs spent six full seasons in the minors before finally reaching the Giants in 1986. He was plagued by misfortune throughout his brief ML career. He posted a 2.75 ERA in 14 starts as a rookie in 1986 and was one of the Giants’ top starters for most of 1987, but he was relegated to the bullpen when San Francisco acquired Rick Reuschel for its successful pennant drive. Downs rejoined the rotation in 1988 and was 13-9, 3.32 before spending the last month of the season on the DL with shoulder problems that plagued him through 1989. Originally with the Phillies organization, Downs was one of two pitchers traded to San Francisco for Al Oliver in 1984. His older brother, Dave, was 1-1 in four starts for the Phillies in 1972, including a 3-0 shutout against the Braves in his ML debut.