Los Angeles Dodgers Hall of Very Good: Willie Davis
A veteran of 14 MLB seasons, Willie Davis spent his first 12 campaigns with the Los Angeles Dodgers after being signed as an amateur free agent in 1958. During his time in Dodger Blue, the man known as “3-Dog” by his teammates hit an inspired .279/.311/.412 with 182 home runs, 1053 RBI, and 398 stolen bases.
From a strict value standpoint, Davis put up an fWAR of 48.6 with the Dodgers, ranking him just behind Cey among all-time Dodgers. While he was no slouch with the bat, most of his value came from his play in center field, where he had the unenviable task of replacing Duke Snider. He accumulated a Total Zone Rating of 105 while making 5278 put-outs and accounting for 133 assists.
Like Cey, Davis offered a ton of value for the Dodgers during his time but struggles to match up against the luminaries of the position, especially from an offensive standpoint. While Davis ranks 2nd in total fWAR from 1960-1972, Willie Mays was the benchmark of that time, accumulating 93.2 fWAR against Davis’ 48.6. Mays far eclipsed Davis offensively while nearly matching him from a defensive standpoint. It didn’t help matters that Mays was the recipient of every Gold Glove from 1957 to 1968 either.
The biggest knocks on Davis are from the offensive side of the game. While the Hall of Fame has made strides in recent seasons to honor those who provided elite defensive value, Davis did not fall into that era. Instead, he comes up short of offensive milestones like 3000 hits (2561) and 400+ home runs (182).
Davis ranks just 27th in terms of WAR7, which measures a player’s best 7-years and directly correlates to his JAWS rating (16th), which uses a combination of standard WAR and WAR7 to determine Hall of Fame comparison at his position. Of the 15 players that rank above him in JAWS, 10 are in the Hall of Fame and three are not yet eligible. The average cut-off for induction is 58, with Davis falling short at 49.8.