TRIVIA QUESTION: When Tommy Davis drove in 153 runs in a season, which Dodger great's record did he surpass?
When he retired he had bested the record of a player only purists remember; Frenchy Bordagaray. Bordagaray played for several teams including the Giants during the depression years and later retired to work for the parks district in Ventura, CA, where he became a local hero. He retired with a lifetime pinch-hit average of .310. When Davis retired he was 63-197 in the pinch for a .312 record.
Davis was known for more than his pinch-hitting. in 1962 at the age fo 23 he had his best year ever. His .346 BA edged Frank Robinson by four points and his 230 hits led the NL along with his 153 RBI. He also smacked a career high 27 homers. The following year he bested Roberto Clemente by half a dozen points at .326 to win his second batting title. That year he led the Dodgers to the World Series where he hit .400 with a pair of triples as Los Angeles beat the Yankees to take the title.
In 1964 he tailed off but still hit a respectable .275 but his homers and RBI dropped substantially. It was 1965 however which pretty much killed his career. On May 1, 1965 in a game against the Giants, he slid into second base awkwardly and dislocated his ankle. He was lost for the year. It opened the door for Lou Johnson who filled in admirably and became a hero when the Dodgers played the Twins in the 1965 Series.
Ron Hunt and Jim Hickman. Derrell Griffith went along with him. He hit .302 with 16 homers in his only season in New York before he was shipped off to the American League Chicago White Sox in a multiplayer trade which brought Tommy Agee to New York. It was the trade which was key in building the Miracle Mets of 1969.
Before the decade of the 1960's ended he would also play in Seattle and Houston. He hit .271 in his only season for the Pilots who only had one season in the Northwest city. Davis would end his career with a .294 lifetime average and 153 homers. At times he set franchise records and outperformed teammates including the year of the pitcher; 1968. He led the Sox in batting that season by far at .268
A three time all-star he played for 12 teams in 18 seasons and was often bitter about it. He said he could not understand why he kept being released, or sent elsewhere. His casual style of play may have been a factor because it wasn't his bat. He stated later "the lazier I felt the better I hit", and admitted he often went into the clubhouse to read and even to shave between at bats as a DH with Baltimore.
Please share this blog with your friends and colleagues and leave a comment at the bottom of the blog if you have one. Thank YOU VERY MUCH!!
Please pick up a copy of my book "Tales of My Baseball Youth; A Child of the 60's" at www.bobbrillbooks.com, or on Amazon.