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Thread: Happy Birthday to the "real" Eric Davis.

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    Member Eric_Davis's Avatar
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    Happy Birthday to the "real" Eric Davis.

    Eric Keith Davis (born May 29, 1962 in Los Angeles, California) is a former center fielder for several Major League Baseball teams. Davis was 21 years old when he broke into the big leagues on May 19, 1984, with the Cincinnati Reds, the team for which he is most remembered. Davis actually began his professional career as a shortstop, but after committing 35 errors during his first season in the professional ranks, he was on the verge of being released. It was then suggested that he be moved to center field and his career flourished.

    When Eric Davis first appeared in 1984, his physical talents gave him the potential to be one of the most exciting players in the game. He was a rare five-tool player with home-run power as well as sheer speed on the basepaths. He made a habit of robbing home runs and elicited comparisons to Willie Mays.

    Unfortunately, he was also highly injury-prone, never playing more than 135 games in any season.

    Davis showed what he could do in 1986 hitting .277 with 27 homers and stealing 80 bases. He built on that success by hitting .293 with 37 homers and 50 steals in 1987, despite playing in only 129 games. From 1986 to 1990, he averaged 30 home runs and 40 steals. In 1990, with a solid team around him, Davis would be a key player in Cincinnati's "wire-to-wire" championship season.

    One of Davis' most famous moments was when Davis homered off Oakland's Dave Stewart in his first World Series at bat in 1990. The home run triggered a World Series sweep for the Reds. While diving for a ball during the Series, Davis suffered a lacerated kidney which required surgery. He also underwent off-season surgery on a knee that he had injured earlier in the season.

    After 1990, Davis was unable to get his career back on track. Injuries sabotaged his play in 1991 and he was traded to Los Angeles for Tim Belcher and John Wetteland. He suffered several more injuries in 1992 and was largely ineffective. By the end of 1993, the Dodgers dealt him to Detroit for a minor-leaguer. After the trade, his body continued to deteriorate and he retired at the end of the 1994 season.

    After recuperating for one season, he felt healthy enough to return to baseball with Cincinnati in 1996. He had a solid season with a .287 average and 26 home runs, although injuries cut into his playing time. He had played well enough, however, to convince Baltimore to sign him as a free agent.

    Cancer diagnosis and recovery
    In May of 1997, Davis was devastated to learn that he had colon cancer. He vowed to return that season, although most felt that it would be unlikely that he could recover in time. By September, while he was still in treatment, Davis returned to the team. His cancer treatment left him tired but he worked hard to regain his form. Davis was well-enough to hammer a game winning home run in the 1997 American League Championship Series. After the season, he was given the Roberto Clemente Award. He serves as an honorary board member of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

    Davis was brought back for 1998 and went on to have one of his best seasons, batting .327 with 28 homers. He also hit in 30 consecutive games that season.

    1999 would be the beginning of the end for Davis. He spent three injury-plagued seasons with St. Louis and San Francisco before retiring in 2001.

    In 1999, Davis wrote his autobiography, Born to Play in which he credited Pete Rose for having faith in him and teaching him about the game. He also had harsh words for Ray Knight, who was the Reds manager in 1996. He claimed Knight did not support his comeback and did not stand up for him in contract negotiations after the season. Davis remains bitter about the Reds treatment of him after his World Series injury. Davis was left behind in Oakland after the series and requested that the Reds provide a private plane to bring him back to Cincinnati. Davis claimed that he was refused a number of times and made his own way home after the hospital released him.

    Davis was also among the first high profile baseball players to wear Nike high-top cleats.
    He was known as "Eric the Red" during his career in Cincinnati.
    He is the godfather of NBA basketball player Jordan Farmar.
    Steve Carlton recorded his 4,000th strikeout against Davis in 1986.
    He is childhood friends with Darryl Strawberry, Tony Gwynn and Byron Scott
    Teams
    Cincinnati Reds (1984-1991, 1996)
    Los Angeles Dodgers (1992-93)
    Detroit Tigers (1993-94)
    Baltimore Orioles (1997-98)
    St. Louis Cardinals (1999-2000)
    San Francisco Giants (2001)

    Twice National League All-Stars (1987, 1989)
    3-time Gold Glove Award (1987-89)
    Twice Silver Slugger Award (1987, 1989)
    Second in stolen bases (NL 1986, 80 - behind Vince Coleman, 107)
    TSN Comeback Player of the Year Award (1996)
    Roberto Clemente Award (1997)
    Hutch Award (1997)
    Tony Conigliaro Award (1997)

    Best season: 1987
    .293 batting average
    37 home runs
    100 RBI
    50 stolen bases

    Stole 80 bases in 1986 with 27 homers in only 415 At Bats.

    Became the first, and one of only two players ever to hit over 25 or more home runs and steal 80 or more bases in a season in 1986 (Rickey Henderson accomplished this feat for the Yankees that same year).

    Holds the Baltimore Orioles hitting streak record with 30 games in 1998.
    Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame (inducted in 2005)

    Games Played: 1626
    At Bats: 5321
    Hits: 1430
    Runs: 938
    Doubles: 239
    Triples: 26
    Home Runs: 282
    Runs Batted In: 934
    Batting average: .269
    Stolen bases: 349
    Played 17 seasons from 1984 to 2001.

    30-30 club
    Hitting for the cycle
    Top 500 home run hitters of all time
    Athlete on Wheaties box

    Autobiography: Born To Play, 1999, ISBN 0-670-88511-8

    Official Eric Davis website
    Baseball-Reference.com - career statistics and analysis
    Eric Davis at Baseball Library
    Eric Davis at PreventCancer.org
    Time Magazine article on Eric Davis (1987)
    National League Player of the Month July 1986
    National League Player of the Month April & May 1987
    National League Player of the Month August 1988
    Home Run Derby Champion 1989
    NL Comeback Player of the Year 1996
    Rob Neyer: "Any writer who says he'd be a better manager than the worst manager is either 1) lying (i.e. 'using poetic license') or 2) patently delusional. Which isn't to say managers don't do stupid things that you or I wouldn't."

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  3. #2
    Dunnilicious creek14's Avatar
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    Re: Happy Birthday to the "real" Eric Davis.

    Ah, those were the days.

    Happy Birthday, Eric.
    Will trade this space for a #1 starter.

  4. #3
    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Happy Birthday to the "real" Eric Davis.

    The guy was an inspiration. You just couldn't keep him down.

    People used to rag on him for being lazy and "refusing to play through pain." Well, he came back from colon cancer. That pretty much silenced any talk of him being lazy.

    He was my favorite baseball player of the 1980's.

    Happy Birthday, Eric!
    "I prefer books and movies where the conflict isn't of the extreme cannibal apocalypse variety I guess." Redsfaithful

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    Hisssssssss Yachtzee's Avatar
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    Re: Happy Birthday to the "real" Eric Davis.

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Footstool View Post
    The guy was an inspiration. You just couldn't keep him down.

    People used to rag on him for being lazy and "refusing to play through pain." Well, he came back from colon cancer. That pretty much silenced any talk of him being lazy.

    He was my favorite baseball player of the 1980's.

    Happy Birthday, Eric!
    He and Barry Larkin were my two favorites of the late '80s Reds. I couldn't believe it when we would travel down to Cincinnati for a game and the radio talk shows would slam him. I think what I remember most about the way he played was the way he could whip the bat through the strike zone and swat a home run like he was swatting a fly. Happy Birthday, Eric "The Red."
    Burn down the disco. Hang the blessed DJ. Because the music that he constantly plays, it says nothing to me about my life.

  6. #5
    Haunted by walks
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    Re: Happy Birthday to the "real" Eric Davis.

    "Last year [1986], in 415 at bats, he had 27 homers and 80 steals. That's 40 home runs and 120 steals for a full year. [...] This year [1987], in 93 at bats, he's hitting .409 with those 12 homers, 27 RBI, 28 runs and 13 steals. For a full year, that projects to ... well, it doesn't project to anything. It's nonsense. More than 70 home runs, 170 RBI, 180 runs, 80 steals. Wayne Gretzky stats for baseball."

    -- Thomas Boswell on Eric Davis

  7. #6
    Baseball card addict MrCinatit's Avatar
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    Re: Happy Birthday to the "real" Eric Davis.

    Depressingly enough, the last game I went to live was in 1990.
    I did nothing but watch Davis when the Reds were on the field. It was truly special to watch him.

  8. #7
    I thought you'd be bigger OldXOhio's Avatar
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    Re: Happy Birthday to the "real" Eric Davis.

    Still the most exciting player I've ever seen in a Reds uniform.
    Originally Posted by nate
    Chapman can be downright pornographic at times.

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    Member cumberlandreds's Avatar
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    Re: Happy Birthday to the "real" Eric Davis.

    Quote Originally Posted by OldXOhio View Post
    Still the most exciting player I've ever seen in a Reds uniform.

    I will concur with that. I have watched the Reds for 36 years and no one approaches Davis in overall ability. It's just too bad injuries cut short a sure HOF career.
    Reds Fan Since 1971

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    Ripsnort wheels's Avatar
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    Re: Happy Birthday to the "real" Eric Davis.

    Eric Davis is the reason I became a rabid baseball fan. Johnny Bench caught my attention, and Eric Davis hooked me.

    It's also my brithday. I used to send him birthday cards as a kid, and he always wrote back, and remembered me from the year before. I always wondered how many kids he personally wrote back.

    Has been elected to the Reds hall of fame yet?
    "We know we're better than this, but we can't prove it." - Tony Gwynn

  11. #10
    So Long Uncle Joe BoydsOfSummer's Avatar
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    Re: Happy Birthday to the "real" Eric Davis.

    One of my all-time favz. For 3 years he was probably the best I've ever seen. He never seemed to be the same after he slammed into the bricks at Wrigley. Therefore I blame the Cubs.
    0 Value Over Replacement Poster


    "Sit over here next to Johnathan (Bench)...sit right here, he's smart."--Sparky Anderson

  12. #11
    Making sense of it all Matt700wlw's Avatar
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    Re: Happy Birthday to the "real" Eric Davis.

    Eric Davis was and still is the man

  13. #12
    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
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    Re: Happy Birthday to the "real" Eric Davis.

    Quote Originally Posted by wheels View Post
    Eric Davis is the reason I became a rabid baseball fan. Johnny Bench caught my attention, and Eric Davis hooked me.

    It's also my brithday. I used to send him birthday cards as a kid, and he always wrote back, and remembered me from the year before. I always wondered how many kids he personally wrote back.

    Has been elected to the Reds hall of fame yet?
    Yes, last year. Happy birthday to you too.

    Eric Davis = best baseball player ever.
    There is no such thing as a pitching prospect.

  14. #13
    Please come again pedro's Avatar
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    Re: Happy Birthday to the "real" Eric Davis.

    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum View Post
    Yes, last year. Happy birthday to you too.

    Eric Davis = best baseball player ever.

    My very favorite.

    Hope you enjoyed the nature BTW.
    Get your nunchucks and the keys to your dad's car. I know where we can get a gun

  15. #14
    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: Happy Birthday to the "real" Eric Davis.

    Eric was the first of only two guys who ever reminded me of Willie Mays when he came up. The other was Junior.

    Such incredible talent, and such a tragedy that he struggled with nagging injuries throughout much of his career.

    I agree that his first inning homer in the '90 series was instrumental in the Reds annihilation of the A's.
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
    ~ Mark Twain

  16. #15
    Member Sabo Fan's Avatar
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    Re: Happy Birthday to the "real" Eric Davis.

    I grew up with the Larkin-Davis-Sabo-O'Neill Reds of the late 80's and early 90's. I still remember watching Davis play, and even though he wasn't my favorite player, I knew even then that he might be the most gifted player I would ever see. The things he did on a baseball field bordered on ridiculous.

    Unfortunately, one of the lasting memories I'll have of Davis is not a great one. I remember being at a game in his last season as a Red (the first time around), which without looking I want to say was 93. He came in to pinch hit and was throroughly booed by the Cincinnati fans and I felt bad not just for him, but for Reds fans as a whole. For everything he had done in a Reds uniform it was embarassing to see a city boo a guy like Davis, because more than just about anyone else he didn't deserve the backlash he got.
    "It's still a long way to the top if we want to rock'n'roll, but at least they dumped the tuba player."
    --M2


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