Two-Time Dodgers Batting Champion Tommy Davis Passes Away

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Tommy Davis, who twice won a National League batting title during his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, passed away Sunday night at 83 years old. Davis, who was born March 21, 1939 in Brooklyn, New York, died in Phoenix, Arizona, with family at his bedside.

Davis is survived by his wife Carol, five children (Lauren, Carlyn, Leslie, Herman Thomas III and Morgana Davis) and 17 grandchildren. The two-time All-Star was the first batting champion in Los Angeles franchise history.

Davis won his first NL batting title in 1962 by hitting .346, then batted .326 the following season to again claim the crown. His 230 hits and 153 RBI in 1962 still stand as Los Angeles franchise records for a single season.

In addition to eight seasons with the Dodgers (1959-66), Davis also played for the New York Mets (1967), Chicago White Sox (1968), Seattle Mariners (1969), Houston Astros (1969-70), Oakland Athletics (1970, 1971), Chicago Cubs (1970, 1972), Baltimore Orioles (1972-75), California Angels (1976) and Kansas City Royals (1976) over his 18-year career.

Davis finished with a .294 lifetime batting average, 153 home runs and 1,052 RBI over 1,999 games. He won World Series with the Dodgers in 1959, 1963 and 1965.

During retirement Davis maintained ties to the organization by being part of the Dodgers’ community relations team. Among other appearances, he threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Dodger Stadium before Game 1 of the 2017 NL Championship Series.

Robinson helped steer Davis to Dodgers

That Davis began his professional career with the Dodgers is thanks in large part to Jackie Robinson.

Davis starred in baseball and basketball at Boys High School in New York and was set to sign with the Yankees in 1956. However, Robinson called Davis and encouraged him to sign with the Brooklyn. Dodgers scouting director Al Campanis knew Davis’ mother was a Brooklyn fan.

“My mother wondered who was calling,” Davis recalled during a 2019 interview. “I pointed to the receiver and mouthed the words, ‘IT’S JACKIE ROBINSON!’ I couldn’t believe I was speaking to one of my heroes, although I don’t remember doing much talking.”

Davis received a $4,000 signing bonus and made his MLB debut three years later, though only appeared in one game during the 1959 season.

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