Tuesday, August 25, 2009

#128 Vic Davalillo

#128 Vic Davalillo

Is it just me, or does Vic Davalillo sound like he should be a guest star on "The Love Boat"? Cruising along with us this week are Telly Savalas, the lovely Charo, and Vic Davalillo! But I digress.

Fun facts about Vic Davalillo:

-Hailing from Cabimas, Venezuela, the diminutive Davalillo was signed by Cincinnati in 1958 as a pitcher. Despite crafting a 3.08 ERA in the minors, he was moved to the outfield in 1962. He would pitch in two games in his major league career, both in 1969, without retiring a single batter.

-His older brother, Pompeyo "Yo-Yo" Davalillo, hit .293 in 19 games as a shortstop for the Senators in 1953, but with negligible power and walks. It was his only big league experience.

-Vic debuted with the Indians in 1963, just a year after converting to the outfield, and hit .292 with 30 extra-base hits in 90 games.

-He won his only Gold Glove in his sophomore season. Patrolling center field, he led all American League outfielders with five double plays. He also hit a career-high 26 doubles.

-1965 was his lone All-Star season, as he hit .301 and stole 26 bases.

-Vic became something of a journeyman when his impatience at the plate and lack of power began to take their toll, but he seemed to find his niche as a pinch hitter with the Cardinals in 1970. That year, he had a record-tying 24 pinch hits in 73 tries (.329).

-Was a valuable member of the 1971 and 1972 Pirates squads, hitting .285 and .318, respectively.

-After failing to hit even .200 in 1973 and 1974, he was out of the major leagues. One highlight during this time was his 5-for-8 performance in Oakland's ALCS win over the Orioles in 1973.

-Vic kept his career going in the Mexican League, where he played from 1974-1977, hitting well over .300 during that span. The Dodgers brought him back to the States for the 1977 stretch drive, and he hit .313 at age 40! In his only at-bat in that year's NLCS, his two-out drag bunt hit sparked a ninth-inning rally to beat the Phillies.

-He remained with Los Angeles as a sporadic pinch hitter into the 1980 season, at which point the 43-year-old Venezuelan finally hung up his spikes...or did he? Wikipedia (I know, I know) claims that he played in his home country's winter league for a whopping 30 seasons (1957-1987), retiring at age 50 as the holder of most of the significant career offensive records! Whether or not that astounding bit of trivia is true, he was a career .279 hitter in parts of 16 major league seasons. Davalillo stole 125 career bases and recorded 95 pinch hits.

#128 Vic Davalillo (back)


  1. Yes, that's right...Vic did play during 30 winter seasons in Venezuela. There's plenty more on this at the SABR BioProject.