Sunday, November 23, 2014

Tommy Davis #180

Herman Thomas "Tommy" Davis Jr. was a prolific hitter in the late 50's through the early 70's. In the field, Tommy played 3rd and left field, but it was his bat that gave him success in the big leagues. Over his 18 year career, he ended up with a .294 average and 2,121 hits, 153 of them clearing the fence. With the Dodgers, he exceeded many records, breaking Campanella's single season RBIs in 1962 as well as the most hits in a single season by a right handed batter with 230. His 1962 season earned him a 3rd place finish for league MVP, with his .346 batting average the highest for a right handed batter in Dodger history until Mike Piazza broke it in 1997. Tommy also has one of the highest career pinch hitting averages at .320.

Even though he signed with Brooklyn, Davis broke into the majors in 1959 after the Dodgers relocated to LA. After a couple low seasons, Tommy broke out at the plate in 1962 by winning the batting title by four points over Frank Robinson. The following season, he continued his batting tear, winning the title with a .326 average, six points better than Roberto Clemente. Davis went .400 in the series that year as the Dodgers swept the Yankees.

In 1964, Davis slumped at the plate to .275, and in 1965 was knocked out for the season when he broke an ankle while breaking up a double play early in the season. He found his skill at the plate when he returned in 1966, battling .313, but the Dodgers were swept in the series by the Orioles.

In 1966, Tommy was sent to the Mets. This started a trend of Davis playing for a 10 teams over the next 10 years. In order, it was the Mets ('67), White Sox ('68), Pilots ('69), Astros ('69-70), A's ('70), Cubs ('70), A's again ('71), Cubs again ('72), Orioles ('72-75), Angels ('76) and the Royals ('76). Throughout all the change, however, Davis continued his hitting pace, never hitting below .250 in a season. He was very frustrated with his yearly moves, but realized his did have a reputation as a lazy player.

After retirement, he spent a year as a coach with the Mariners, and release a book Tales From the Dodgers Dugout in 2005.

Claim to fame: Coming out of high school, Tommy had planned to sign a major league contract with the NY Yankees. However, a phone call from Jackie Robinson changed his mind and he signed with the Dodgers.

Comic answer: 4 - foot high stakes.

Card condition: Major centering issues. No scratches, dirt or marks and the corners are barely rounded. Paper loss in the center of the back, most likely from the card being glued into an album.

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