Monday, July 20, 2009

1976 Topps #149 - Tommy Davis

  • Tommy Davis was in the last year of his long (1959-1976) career when this card was made. He started out as a good outfielder for the LA Dodgers and ended up as a good DH for several teams.
  • Davis got his start in the Brooklyn Dodgers system in 1956 when he was 17 years old. After batting .365 for the Dodgers' AAA Spokane club in 1959, Tommy was brought up to the big club and struck out in his one at bat in 1959. He played 110 games in 1960 and batted .276 with moderate power for the Dodgers. Davis finished fifth in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 1960 (teammate Frank Howard won it). In 1961 Davis played 59 games at 3B and 86 games in the outfield. He batted .278 with 15 homers.
  • In 1962 Tommy had his best season. He led the NL with a .342 average, 230 hits, and 153 RBI. Davis finished third (behind Maury Wills and Willie Mays) in MVP voting and made the NL All Star team for the first time. He also hit a career-high 27 home runs and scored 120 runs.
  • Tommy made his second (and last) All Star team in 1963 as he led the NL in batting again with a .326 average. In 1964 Davis dropped to a .275 average. The 1965 season was a lost season for Tommy -- he broke his ankle sliding into second base against the SF Giants on May 1 and was out until the last game of the year (he had a pinch-hitting appearance on October 3). In 1966 Davis played in 100 games and batted .313 but hit only three home runs.
  • After the 1966 season Davis began an odyssey that saw him play for 10 teams in 11 years. In November 1966 he was traded by the Los Angeles Dodgers with Derrell Griffith to the New York Mets for Jim Hickman and Ron Hunt. Tommy batted .302 with 16 homers in 154 games for the Mets in 1967, but he was traded to the Chicago White Sox after the season in a multi-player trade that got the Mets Tommie Agee and Al Weis.
  • Davis spent one season with the White Sox (1968) and batted .268 with eight home runs in 132 games. After the season Tommy was selected by the Seattle Pilots in the expansion draft. He batted .271 in 123 games and was traded to the Houston Astros on August 30 for Sandy Valdespino and Danny Walton. He played in 24 games for the Astros to finish the 1969 season.
  • In 1970 Davis played for three teams. He started with the Astros (.282 in 57 games). On June 22 he was purchased by the Oakland A's. Tommy batted .290 in 66 games for the A's and was sold to the Chicago Cubs on September 16, where he played in 16 games. Davis was released by the Cubs after the 1970 season. He signed with the A's again during spring training of 1971. Tommy batted .324 in 79 games for the A's in '71.
  • During spring training in 1972 Davis was released by the A's. He signed with the Cubs in July and he spent six weeks with the Cubs. Davis batted .269 in 15 games and then was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for Ellie Hendricks. Tommy played in 26 games and batted .256 with no homers for the Orioles.
  • Davis had a career resurrection in 1973 when the AL adopted the designated hitter rule. He batted .306 with seven homers in 137 games for the Orioles and finished tenth in AL MVP voting. Tommy had another good year as DH in 1974 (.289 with 11 homers in 158 games). He batted .283 in 116 games in 1975 but then was released by the Orioles in February 1976.
  • Tommy was signed as a free agent by the New York Yankees before spring training, but was released before the 1976 season. The California Angels signed Davis in June 1976. He played in 72 games for the Angels and batted .265. Davis was sold to the Kansas City Royals on September 20 and he played in eight games to finish the season. He was released in January 1977 and retired.
  • Davis had the highest pinch-hitting average in history (.320 in 197 at bats).
  • He served as a Seattle Mariners coach in 1981, and published a book called Tales From the Dodgers Dugout in 2005.
  • Here is a link to a chat session on ESPN with Davis and Al Downing.
  • Here is a link to a 2-minute clip about Tommy Davis on
  • Below is a YouTube clip of an interview with Davis and Joe Pignitano:

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