Saturday, April 19, 2014

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #126 ERIC DAVIS

HE'LL ALWAYS BE ERIC THE RED.


THE '90s WEREN'T KIND TO DAVIS.


DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • Eric Davis epitomized what the best professional baseball players looked like in the 1980s: sinewy, flexible and fast. And make no mistake, Davis was one of the very best in the last half of the decade. A five-tool dynamo for the Reds, Davis averaged 30 homers, 41 steals and slashed .277/.371/.527 from '86-'90. His OPS+ during that stretch was 143. Injuries cut him down like a sickle swinging in a wheat field and a certain Hall of Fame career never materialized. Still, for those of us lucky enough to have watched him roam and rob home runs in center field and take over games offensively, it was hard to imagine anyone better.

DEFINING MOMENT

  • Davis set the tone in the bottom of the first in Game 1 of the '90 World Series against the Athletics on Oct. 16. With two outs and one on, Davis drove Dave Stewart's first offering over the center-field fence. The Reds went on to win 7-0 and wound up sweeping the series in one of baseball's biggest upsets. 

DEFINING SEASON

  • Few players ever had a better first two months than Davis in '87. By the end of May, he had hit an NL record 19 homers and was Player of the Month for April and May. He also hit an NL record three grand slams in May. Despite playing in only 129 games because of injuries, he still hit 37 homers, drove in 100 runs and stole 50 bases. He became the first player to hit 30-plus homers and steal 50-plus bags.

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. Whetted the appetite of fans in '86 when he hit 27 homers and stole 80 bases.
  2. Won the first of three consecutive Gold Gloves in '87.
  3. His 84.1 stolen-base percentage is second all-time to #183 Tim Raines.
  4. The beginning of the end for Davis began in Game 4 of the '90 World Series when he lacerated his kidney making a diving catch. While his teammates celebrated the series-clinching win, Davis was in the hospital, where he'd stay for 11 days.
  5. After playing 89 games in '91, Davis was traded after the season to the Dodgers, along with Kip Gross, for Tim Belcher and #129 John Wetteland. Davis had a few 20-plus homer seasons left in his 17-year career but never approached the level attained with the Reds.

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