h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Chili Davis

chilli daivs back chilli front

Man, Topps had a real succinct way to sum up Davis’ life as it stood in 1987. He likes to cook, swim, jog and travel – but one thing is missing: hitting (more on that later).

Cooking, yeah that can be fun and delicious, travelling – not so bad (if you’re not being literal). However, who really likes yogging? I mean it’s just running for as long as you can. Some of my long-term readers know I run a decent amount, but I don’t enjoy it — it’s simply the easiest way to get cardio and combat the two helpings of French Fries I had last weekend. Seriously, just because I run fast (did 7.3 miles in 51:29 recently) doesn’t mean I like it. In fact, it means I hate it and want to get it over with ASAP.

That is all well and good, perfect and succinct (tongue and cheek) analysis, but I’ll posit that what the card misses is Davis love of hitting. Davis has the 11th most at bats in major league baseball history by a switch-hitter (8,673 — more than Mickey Mantle, Ruben Sierra, Bernie Williams and Maury Wills). He also has the (not surprisingly) 13th most hits by a switch hitter with 2,380 — just 35 less than the Mick. He wasn’t hitting wimpy singles either — he logged the ninth best slugging percentage (.451) by a switch hitter, just behind Carl Everett of all people. With that slugging percentage, it wouldn’t surprise you that he ended with the fifth most RBIs by a switch hitter…more than Pete Rose and Chipper Jones.

Oddly enough, he finished with the 16th most career intentional walks since 1955. Davis had 188 which was tied with Ted Simmons and more than Dave Winfield, Rafael Palmeiro, Frank Thomas, Reggie Jackson and Harmon Killebrew. Another thing he did better than just about every player? Hit home runs from both sides of the plate in a single game — he did it 11 times and tied for the most all-time with Eddie Murray.

Lastly, Davis played in the 62nd most games in MLB history (2,436) — more than Killebrew and Mike Schmidt. I’ll submit that any time you do several things that Hall of Famers didn’t, you’ve had a worthwhile career.

Maybe all that cooking helped him relax and focus. Clearly the swimming and yogging must have helped his longevity. Also a like of travelling couldn’t hurt as the daily baseball grind includes long hours in planes. But, in reality, I’m sure a love of putting the ball in play made Chili an underrated player in the ’80s and ’90s.

One question? Do you think Davis made chili? If so, was it caliente?

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For the history of this series, check out this article: Check You Out On the Flip Side: Howard Johnson.

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One response to this post.

  1. I have had the opportunity to meet and become good friends with Chili Davis. Besides his great baseball talents and being one-of-the greatest pinch hitters of all time – he is a great people person PERIOD! I have met lots of pro players from rookies to Hall of famers, but there is not too many with the attitude and people skills like Chili Davis. Chili recently has been the victim of hard aches, not so much hard times, but some endeavors he has being been trying to get off the ground have come up short. Lately, just missing the hitting coach position for the Dodgers. I think to myself, “Why is he falling short, as he is a great human being – he deserves better.” I hope Chili Davis gets what he deserves, that is the best that life offers. May God be with you Chili and keep up the great attitude.

    Reply

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