Introducing… Chili Davis

A switch-hitting outfielder, the Jamaica-born Chili Davis was a solid power threat during the 1980s and on into the 1990s.  Never of the Willie Mays variety in the field, Chili played everywhere in the pasture and wasn’t what one would call a flychaser.  He made his money with his bat.  Davis had ten seasons in which he reached 20 or more homeruns.

Drafted by the Giants in 1977, Chili made his Major League debut in the strike shortened season of 1981.  With just 15 at-bats that year, Chili was technically a rookie in 1982 when he socked 19 homeruns in the San Francisco lineup.    But like many players who have a solid rookie showing, Chili took a big step back his second season.  However, he righted the ship and got back on course in 1984 when he was the only NL right fielder to slug over .500.  Chili hit a lusty .315–second to Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn among right fielders.

Named to his second All-Star team in 1986, Davis led National League outfielders in walks drawn.  The switch-hitter posted a new high of 24 homeruns in 1987, but since his batting average and on-base percentages fell, the Giants allowed Chili to leave via free agency and he changed leagues but not states when he signed on the dotted line with the Angels.  His first year in the American League was a solid one as he led California with 93 RBI.

Chili left the Angels courtesy of free agency again in 1991 when he signed with the Twins.  He found the dimensions of the Metrodome to his liking as he tagged a new career high 29 long balls in the northern state.  The Twins went to the postseason and Chili played fine baseball.  In the ALCS, he hit .294 and he launched a pair of homeruns in the World Series to help make the Twins World Champions. 

When Chili’s homerun total dropped significantly in 1992, the Twins let him return to the Angels in 1993.  At his run-producing best that year, Chili led designated hitters with 112 RBI.  Named to his third All-Star team in 1994, Chili returned to the .300 regions in batting average.  Chili owned an adequate batting eye which enabled him to post above average on-base percentages.  In 1994, he tied Jose Canseco for most walks by a DH.  He followed up that season by hitting .318 with 20 homeruns in 1995 and then driving in 95 runs with 28 homers in 1996.

After the 1996 season, Davis was involved in what amounted to a lopsided trade.  The Angels dealt Chili to the Kansas City Royals for veteran pitcher Mark Gubicza, but Gubby, a reliable pitcher in KC, suffered an arm injury and was done early in the season.  All Chili did in Kansas City was swat a career-high 30 homeruns.  His big bashing for the Royals earned him a large free agent contract with the Yankees, but the 38-year-old Davis missed most of the ’98 season to injury.  His last Major League action came in the 1999 World Series.

THE NUMBERS

G 2,435/R 1,240/H 2,380/2B 424/3B 30/HR 350/RBI 1,372/SB 142/BB 1,194/SO 1,698/BA .274/SA .451/OBP .360

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1 comment
  1. brettkiser said:

    A good switch-hitter but abysmal defender, Chili was a reliable player who was rarely among the league leaders. His day was a day in which homerun totals spiked but Chili only had a couple big homerun seasons. His HOF chances are weak.

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