Tommy Davis turns 78 today
The first great LAD hitter to grace Dodger Stadium turned 78 today. Dodger Stadium opened in 1962 the same year that Tommy Davis went off and put these stats:
- Led the league in hits with 230, Frank Robinson and MVP Maury Wills were tied for 2nd with 208
- Hit nine triples, good for a tie for 2nd place
- Drove in 153 runs while hitting only 27 home runs
- Led the NL in batting average at .346 thus depriving Frank Robinson of leading the NL in BA/OBA/SLUG.
- Came in 3rd in MVP behind Maury Wills and Willie Mays. He placed in front of Frank Robinson who had a slug% of .624 that year.
For context on that RBI season. Tommy Davis is the only player since 1900 to drive in more than 150 runs and hit less than 30 home runs. 1962 was the year of the RBI with 18 players driving in more than 100 runs. In 1963 only eight players did the trick.
Tommy Davis would follow up his breakout 1962 season and win a second batting title in 1963.
At just 24 years old Tommy Davis appeared to Dodger nation as though he’d be one of the all time greats but those two years were as good as it would get for Tommy Davis. He would break his leg in 1965, never recover any of the speed that had been part of his game, and would eventually get traded for Ron Hunt after 1966.
Tommy would bounce around baseball until 1976 playing for 11 more teams before retiring.
What Tommy Davis accomplished as a major leaguer on one good leg, most players would be proud to do on two. Not that this sums up his athletic career, but it is an important backdrop to his improbable baseball odyssey. Davis seemed ready to have his ticket punched for Cooperstown as he entered his ball-playing prime. An instant on the basepaths in 1965 took him down a very different road.