The top homerun hitter in the first decade of the two league platform, Davis led the American League in homeruns four consecutive years (1904 through 1907). The great Hank Aaron only had one back-to-back homerun title in his lengthy career.
Davis made his Major League debut with the Giants in 1895, back when they were a struggling outfit. The next year he was traded midseason to the Pirates for Hall of fame first baseman Eagle-eye Jake Beckley. In his first full season in Pittsburgh, Harry led the loop in triples with 28. The next season was a nomadic one for Davis, playing for Pittsburgh, Louisville and Washington.
His gypsy lifestyle came to a close in 1901 when the two league platform was adopted. Harry settled in with the Philadelphia Athletics of Connie Mack. In 1902, Harry established himself as a ranking star, leading the AL with 43 doubles. he was the junior circuit’s top run scoring first baseman that season and again in 1903.
But it was 1904 when Harry began his mashing exploits. He clubbed ten homeruns that year–good enough to lead the league–while hitting a lusty .309. Harry was the lone .300 hitting first baseman in the American League and the only Major League first baseman to slug over .500. Davis led the A’s to a pennant in 1905, leading the league in homeruns, runs scored, doubles and RBI. Among AL first basemen, Harry was also the leader in hits and slugging average. His A’s lost the Fall Classic to the Giants of John McGraw but Harry would get a couple more chances at postseason play.
For the third straight year, Davis paced the American League in long balls during the 1906 campaign while also topping the circuit with 96 RBI. He made it four years running when he copped the homerun title again in 1907. That year he also led the AL in doubles and topped Major League first basemen in RBI.
Dethroned as the homerun king in 1908, Harry nevertheless led AL first basemen in long clouts. In 1909, his last year of greatness, Harry led American League first basemen in RBI, hits, runs, doubles and walks. Still the A’s regular first baseman in 1910, Davis was with the club when they won their first World Series. In the contest, Harry hit a robust .353 with an amazing .476 on-base percentage.
Aging, the A’s handed first base off to the capable and then some Stuffy McInnis in 1911. The Athletics copped another title, defeating the Giants in the World Series, with Harry serving as a reserve during the season. However, in the Fall Classic, Davis played regularly and drove home five runs during the contest.
Harry was sent to Cleveland after the season and served as their manager throughout most of the season before his replacement by Joe Birmingham late in the season. He returned to the A’s and served as a coach and seldom used reserve for the next five years.
G 1,745/R 986/H 1,835/2B 364/3B 143/HR 74/RBI 952/SB 312/BA .277/SA .409