Tuesday, July 12, 2011

#370 Tommy Davis

#370 Tommy Davis
That's an interesting expression on Tommy Davis' face. He looks like he's halfway between a grin and a grimace, doesn't he?

Fun facts about Tommy Davis:

-A native of Brooklyn and a high school basketball teammate of NBA Hall of Famer Lenny Wilkens, Tommy was 17 when he signed with the hometown Dodgers in 1956 at the urging of star Jackie Robinson. Of course, the team moved across the country the following year, and Robinson retired rather than accept a trade to the rival Giants.

-After a one-game glimpse with Los Angeles in September 1959, he started about half of the team's games in the outfield in 1960. Despite his part-time status, he placed fourth on the club with 11 home runs and 44 RBI while batting .276.

-His career year came in 1962, when he led the National League with a .346 average, 230 hits, and 153 RBI. He is still the Dodgers' single-season RBI record holder. He also achieved personal bests with 120 runs scored, 9 triples, 27 home runs, and a .535 slugging percentage. He made the All-Star team for the first time, and finished third in MVP voting behind teammate Maury Wills and Willie Mays.

-On June 18, 1962, Tommy faced Bob Gibson with one out in the bottom of the ninth and the score tied 0-0. His walkoff home run was just the third hit that Gibson allowed that day, and it made a winner of Sandy Koufax, who yielded only five hits himself.

-Though his power figures dipped in 1963, Davis repeated as an All-Star and successfully defended his batting crown with a .326 mark. He also paced the Dodgers with 88 RBI, and batted .400 (6-for-15) with a pair of triples in the team's World Series sweep of the Yankees.

-A broken ankle cost Tommy most of the 1965 season and seemed to hinder his power for the duration of his career. He also became something of a journeyman, going from L.A. to the Mets, White Sox, Pilots, Astros, Athletics, Cubs, A's again, Cubs again, Orioles, Angels, and finally the Royals in the span of 11 years.

-Other than his time with the Dodgers, Davis' longest tenure with one team was his three-plus years with the Orioles (August 1972-October 1975). He was Baltimore's first designated hitter, and was a vital part of their A.L. East championships in 1973 (.306 with a team-high 89 RBI) and 1974 (.289, team-high 84 RBI). He later admitted that when he was DHing, he would retire to the clubhouse between at-bats to read or even to shave.

-Tommy excelled when called upon as a pinch hitter. He had a career .307 average (62-for-202) in those situations.

-He retired after the 1976 season as a career .294 hitter with 153 home runs and 1,052 RBI in parts of 18 seasons.

-Davis had a short turn as Mariners hitting coach under manager Maury Wills, and has also worked for the Dodgers as a minor league instructor and a community relations employee.
#370 Tommy Davis (back)


  1. He was a very good player until he broke his ankle and was still good although his stats went down, probably reflecting the offense-challenged era.

    But perhaps his main claim to fame now is being mentioned prominently by Jim Bouton in "Ball Four."

  2. Until last year, I thought he was Willie Davis' brother!

  3. Tommy's expression is so interesting that it reappears on his 1966 Topps card.

  4. Marc - Yeah, he could still hit some line drives even after the injury. Imagine what he could've done if medicine was as advanced as it is today.

    Jim - I know people who still think Chris Singleton is related to Ken Singleton.

    night owl - I know you're not suggesting that Topps would recycle photos...