14 November 2012

the travels of tommy davis

tommy davis began his big league career with a pinch-hit strikeout against the cardinals in 1959.  he was just 20 years old and obviously had a lot of baseball left in him.  here's his 1960 topps card.
i don't think anyone would have guessed, especially after he won back-to-back batting titles for the dodgers in 1962 and 1963, what davis's career would ultimately look like.  there was a slump in 1964 and an ankle injury in 1965, and when coupled with the emergence of lou johnson, it seems that davis was expendable in the eyes of dodger management.  after the 1966 world series, in which davis made 2 starts and 2 pinch-hitting appearances, he was dealt to the mets.  from there, well, i'll let the back of jerry reuss's 1977 topps card tell the tale.
yes, davis went from the dodgers (that's one uniform) to the mets (that's two), although he is obviously still wearing dodger gear on his 1967 topps card
after the 1967 season, he was traded to the white sox (that's three), but again, i am fairly sure that he's still wearing dodger stuff on his 1968 topps card
he was 'one and done' once again, as the expansion seattle pilots (that's four) selected him in the draft after the 1968 season.  here's his 1969 topps card with him still in dodger duds since topps recycled his 1967 card photo.
davis did not head east with the pilots to milwaukee because he had been traded during the 1969 season to the houston astros (that's five) and so he was featured as an astro on his 1970 topps card.
i am still thinking that he's actually wearing dodger stuff in that photo, but i can't be sure. here's an alternative 1970 topps card that i made a while back that leaves no doubt as to what uniform he's wearing, even if he didn't finish the 1969 season as a pilot.

davis had his contract purchased by the oakland a's (that's six) in june of 1970, but he was featured in the 1971 topps set as a member of the chicago cubs (that's seven)
because the cubs had purchased his contract in late september.  kudos to topps for getting a photo of davis in a cubs uniform, even though he only appeared in 11 games for them in 1970.

it seemed that maybe davis's traveling days were over, as the cubs released him in december of 1970., however, the a's brought him back into the fold in march of 1971 (and we were treated to a nice o-pee-chee variation as a result).  here's davis's 1972 topps card showing him in oakland attire.  that's still only seven uniforms, though.
davis made it through the 1971 season with the a's, but they released him towards the end of spring training in 1972.  he was out of the big leagues for the first few months of the 1972 season before the cubs signed him as a free agent in july.  fifteen appearances and about a month later, the cubs dealt him to the baltimore orioles (that's eight).  with all the moving around in 1972, it's no wonder that topps did not issue a card of davis in 1973.  he was back in the set in 1974, however, with some in game action!
the creation of the designated hitter in the american league benefitted davis greatly, as he had three solid seasons for the orioles in that role, even finishing in the top ten in the 1973 american league mvp voting as he helped the o's get to the alcs.

after another trip to the alcs in 1974, davis returned to the orioles for the 1975 season and played in 116 games that year.  he was released by the team at the onset of spring training in 1976, but was quickly signed by the new york yankees.  i know what you're thinking (that's nine?), but the yankees released davis at the start of the season, and he never wore the famed pinstripes in a regular season game.  no, davis's ninth uniform came courtesy of the california angels who signed him in june of 1976.

topps didn't make a card of davis as an angel, although there is one that should have been featured at the baseball card blog (now that's nine).  then, in what was becoming somewhat of a tradition, davis was traded to the kansas city royals (that's ten!) in september of 1976.  that marked the final stop for davis, as he was released by the royals after the 1976 season ended.  he went out with a bang, of sorts, getting a hit in his final big league at bat off of former teammate (and somewhat of a team traveler himself) bill singer.

topps was kind enough to make a card of the weary traveler in 1977
complete with his entire major league career on the back - a true final tribute.
and thus ends the travels of tommy davis.  what a long, strange trip it must have been!


Nick said...

I never knew Davis played for so many teams. I love backs of cards that have all those career stats squished in, especially one that has so many different team names.

night owl said...

Now do Bob Miller!

gcrl said...

ok, but bob miller isn't as fun because he doesn't have cards featuring him in as many uniforms.