Saturday, January 8, 2011

The name that ruled the '80s

As a Dodger fan, I like to think that my team had the market cornered on the surname "Davis."

Tommy and Willie (or Wm.), had more in common than their last name. They were both productive, speedy outfielders who helped make the early-to-mid-60s Dodgers go. They will be remembered forever as World Series champions in 1963.

But how things change in two decades. Any child of the junk wax era knows that no team was big enough to lay claim to the Davis name. There would come a time when the Davis name became so big that it was associated with a single era rather than a single team.

Donruss was so impressed that it named four players with the Davis name as team MVPs in its 1990 set:

They weren't even the only Davises in the majors at that time. Mark Davis was the N.L. Cy Young Award winner in 1989. Storm Davis was 19-7 for the A's. Catcher Jody Davis was still hanging with the Braves. Mike Davis had just played his final major league season with the Dodgers as did pitcher Steve Davis for the Indians. Butch Davis and John Davis made brief major league appearances.

In fact, 1988 was an even better year for the Davises as it was the final year for pitchers Ron and Joel Davis, and third baseman Doug Davis played six games for the Angels.

That's 14 Davises in the major leagues between 1988 and 1989! In between 1984 and 1990 there were at least 10 players with the name Davis in the majors. How many kids tried to get their name changed to Davis in hopes of making the big leagues?

Davis is the eighth-most common surname in major league history (and yes, I just gave you one answer to a sporcle quiz. You have to get the other 37 though). There has been at least one Davis in the majors every year since 1949.

We are in the midst of a Davis renaissance with Ike Davis, Doug Davis, Rajai Davis, Chris Davis, Wade Davis and Brad Davis.

Kids, it might be your ticket to the majors once again. Go tell mom and dad you want to head down to city court and fill out some papers.

Although Ozzie says you're better off changing it to "Smith."


  1. And to think, I just added one of the aforementioned Davis' card (albeit a few years older than 1990 Donruss) to my trade stack going live tomorrow AM.

    Interesting sure, but most assuredly not worth staying awake for to check out tomorrow. I assure of that.

  2. Unfortunately, one of the Davis was "He Who Must Not Be Names", the "closer" of the Twins in the mid 80's and bane of any Twins game I ever went to when I lived in LA.