Spud Davis

Last updated
Spud Davis
SpudDavisGoudeycard.jpg
Catcher / Manager
Born:(1904-12-20)December 20, 1904
Birmingham, Alabama
Died: August 14, 1984(1984-08-14) (aged 79)
Birmingham, Alabama
Batted: RightThrew: Right
MLB debut
April 30, 1928, for the St. Louis Cardinals
Last MLB appearance
September 5, 1945, for the Pittsburgh Pirates
MLB statistics
Batting average .308
Home runs 77
Runs batted in 647
Teams
As Player

As coach

As manager

Career highlights and awards

Virgil Lawrence "Spud" Davis (December 20, 1904 – August 14, 1984) was an American professional baseball player, coach, scout and manager. [1] He played in Major League Baseball as a catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds, and Pittsburgh Pirates. [1] Davis' .308 career batting average ranks fourth all-time among major league catchers. [2]

Americans citizens, or natives, of the United States of America

Americans are nationals and citizens of the United States of America. Although nationals and citizens make up the majority of Americans, some dual citizens, expatriates, and permanent residents may also claim American nationality. The United States is home to people of many different ethnic origins. As a result, American culture and law does not equate nationality with race or ethnicity, but with citizenship and permanent allegiance.

Baseball Sport

Baseball is a bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a player on the fielding team, called the pitcher, throws a ball which a player on the batting team tries to hit with a bat. The objectives of the offensive team are to hit the ball into the field of play, and to run the bases—having its runners advance counter-clockwise around four bases to score what are called "runs". The objective of the defensive team is to prevent batters from becoming runners, and to prevent runners' advance around the bases. A run is scored when a runner legally advances around the bases in order and touches home plate. The team that scores the most runs by the end of the game is the winner.

In baseball, a number of coaches assist in the smooth functioning of a team. They are assistants to the manager, who determines the lineup and decides how to substitute players during the game. Beyond the manager, more than a half dozen coaches may assist the manager in running the team. Essentially, baseball coaches are analogous to assistant coaches in other sports, as the baseball manager is to the head coach.

Contents

Baseball career

Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Davis began his professional baseball career in 1926 at the age of 21, playing for the Gulfport Tarpons of the Cotton States League. [3] After posting a .356 batting average in 27 games for Gulfport, he was sent to play for the Reading Keystones of the International League where he hit for a .308 average in 137 games during the 1927 season. [3]

Birmingham, Alabama Most populous city in Alabama, United States

Birmingham is a city in the north central region of the U.S. state of Alabama. With an estimated 2017 population of 210,710, it is the most populous city in Alabama. Birmingham is the seat of Jefferson County, Alabama's most populous and fifth largest county. As of 2017, the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 1,149,807, making it the most populous in Alabama and 49th-most populous in the United States. Birmingham serves as an important regional hub and is associated with the Deep South, Piedmont, and Appalachian regions of the nation.

Professional baseball is played in leagues throughout the world. In these leagues and associated farm teams, baseball players are selected for their talents and are paid to play for a specific team or club system.

Davis made his major league debut with the St. Louis Cardinals on April 30, 1928 however, after only two games, he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. [1] [4] He began as a second-string catcher with the Phillies behind Walt Lerian but, by the end of the 1929 season, he had taken over as the starting catcher with a .342 batting average along with 7 home runs and 48 runs batted in. [1] [5] That season would mark the first of seven consecutive seasons with batting averages above the .300 mark. [1] In 1933, he finished second to team-mate Chuck Klein in the National League Batting Championship with a .349 average. His .395 on-base percentage was also the second highest in the league. [6] Davis ended the season ranked 25th in the National League Most Valuable Player Award voting, despite the fact that the Phillies finished in seventh place. [7]

The 1928 Philadelphia Phillies season was a season in Major League Baseball. The Phillies finished eighth in the National League with a record of 43 wins and 109 losses.

Walter "Peck" Irvin Lerian was an American professional baseball player who played two seasons for the Philadelphia Phillies from 1928 through 1929. He was born in Baltimore, Maryland and died there at the age of 26 when a truck leaped the curb and he was pinned against a building ending what was considered at the time to be a promising major league career.

The following lists the events of the 1929 Philadelphia Phillies season.

In November 1933, Davis was traded back to the St. Louis Cardinals for catcher Jimmie Wilson. [4] He platooned alongside left-handed hitting catcher Bill DeLancey, posting a .300 batting average in 107 games on a Cardinals team that became known as the Gashouse Gang for their colorful, extroverted personalities. [1] [8] The Cardinals won the 1934 National League pennant and, went on to defeat the Detroit Tigers in the 1934 World Series. [9] In his only post-season appearance Davis played in two games in the seven-game series, with two hits in two at bats. [10]

Jimmie Wilson (baseball) American soccer and baseball player

James Wilson, nicknamed "Ace," was an American professional athlete in soccer and baseball. He began his professional sports career as a soccer outside right in the National Association Football League and American Soccer League before becoming a catcher, manager and coach in Major League Baseball. Wilson was the starting catcher for the National League in baseball's first All-Star game. He threw and batted right-handed and was listed at 6 ft 1 12 in (187 cm) tall and 200 pounds (91 kg).

The platoon system in baseball or football is a method directing the situational substitution of players to create tactical advantage.

William Pinkney DeLancey was an American professional baseball player during the 1930s. As a 22-year-old rookie catcher in 1934, he helped to lead the St. Louis Cardinals' fabled Gashouse Gang team to the world championship; but, after only one more full big-league season, he was stricken with tuberculosis, effectively ending his playing career.

Davis had another good season in 1935 with a .317 batting average, 60 runs batted in and led National League catchers in fielding percentage however, the Cardinals slipped to second place in the standings. [1] In 1936, his batting average dipped to .273 and in December of that year, he would be traded to the Cincinnati Reds. [1] [4] Davis served as a reserve catcher in 1937, working behind future Hall of Fame member Ernie Lombardi. In June 1938, he was traded back to the Philadelphia Phillies. [4] Davis rebounded in 1939, posting a .307 batting average in 87 games. [1] He was purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates in October 1939 and continued to hit well in 1940 with a .326 batting average in 99 games. [1] [4] By 1941, Al López, another future Hall of Fame member, had taken over the Pirates starting catcher's role and, in 1942, Davis took a role as a coach for the Pirates. Due to player shortages during the Second World War, Davis returned to the playing field in 1944, appearing in 54 games for the Pirates and posting a .301 batting average at the age of 39. [1] He appeared in 23 games in 1945 before retiring as a major league player at the age of 40. [1]

The 1935 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 54th season in St. Louis, Missouri and its 44th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 96–58 during the season and finished 2nd in the National League.

In baseball statistics, fielding percentage, also known as fielding average, is a measure that reflects the percentage of times a defensive player properly handles a batted or thrown ball. It is calculated by the sum of putouts and assists, divided by the number of total chances.

The 1936 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 55th season in St. Louis, Missouri and its 45th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 87–67 during the season and finished 2nd in the National League.

He continued as a coach and a scout for the Pirates and, briefly managed the team when manager Frankie Frisch resigned in September of 1946. [11] After playing with the minor league Alexander City Millers in 1947 and 1948, he returned to work as a coach with the Chicago Cubs from 1950 to 1953 before retiring from baseball. [3] [12] [13]

Manager (baseball) someone who manages a baseball team

In baseball, the field manager is the equivalent of a head coach who is responsible for overseeing and making final decisions on all aspects of on-field team strategy, lineup selection, training and instruction. Managers are typically assisted by a staff of assistant coaches whose responsibilities are specialized. Field managers are typically not involved in off-field personnel decisions or long-term club planning, responsibilities that are instead held by a team's general manager.

Frankie Frisch American baseball player and coach

Frank Francis Frisch, nicknamed The Fordham Flash or The Old Flash, was an American Major League Baseball player and manager of the first half of the twentieth century.

The 1946 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the 65th season of the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise; the 60th in the National League. The Pirates finished seventh in the league standings with a record of 63–91.

Career statistics

In a sixteen-year major league career, Davis played in 1,458 games, accumulating 1,312 hits in 4,255 at bats for a .308 career batting average along with 77 home runs, 647 runs batted in and a .369 on-base percentage. [1] He ended his career with a .984 fielding percentage. [1] Davis hit over .300 ten times in sixteen years. [14] [15] At the time of his retirement, Davis' .308 career batting average was second only to Mickey Cochrane all-time among major league catchers. [16] As of 2010, he ranks fourth all-time among career batting averages for catchers behind Joe Mauer, Mickey Cochrane and Bill Dickey. [2]

Davis led National League catchers twice in fielding percentage, once in assists and once in baserunners caught stealing. [1] During his playing days, he was twice traded for the same player, fellow catcher Jimmie Wilson. These trades happened between the Phillies and Cardinals five years apart in 1928 and 1933. In 1977, Davis was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. [17]

Davis died in Birmingham, Alabama, at age 79, and is buried there. [18]

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References

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  2. 1 2 "Catcher Batting Average Leaders". The Encyclopedia of Baseball Catchers. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
  3. 1 2 3 "Spud Davis minor league statistics". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 "Spud Davis Trades and Transactions". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
  5. "1929 Spud Davis Batting Log". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
  6. "1933 National League Batting Leaders". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
  7. "1933 National League Most Valuable Player Award balloting". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
  8. "Dizzy, Dazzy and Ducky". thisgreatgame.com. Retrieved March 15, 2011.
  9. "1934 World Series". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
  10. "Spud Davis post-season statistics". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
  11. "Frisch Quits As Manager Of Pirates". Miami Daily News. Associated Press. 28 September 1946. p. 6. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
  12. "Davis Gets Cub Coaching Job". Miami Sunday News. Associated Press. 21 January 1950. p. 7. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
  13. "Gas Housers Best, Spud Davis Claims". The Milwaukee Journal. United Press. 1 May 1959. p. 2. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
  14. Grosshandler, Stan (February 1981). 13 Most Forgotten Stars In Baseball History!. Baseball Digest. Books.Google.com. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
  15. Vass, George (July 2004). Baseball's Forgotten Stars. Baseball Digest. Books.Google.com. Retrieved 25 October 2010.
  16. All-Time Best Hitting Catchers. Baseball Digest. Books.Google.com. October 1979. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
  17. "Davis' Memory In HOF". Times Daily. United Press. 18 February 1985. p. 3. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
  18. "Virgil Spud Davis Obituary". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. Associated Press. 15 August 1984. p. 10. Retrieved 10 November 2010.