Though the difficult news hasn’t come quite as rapidly as it did prior to the 2021 season, when the Dodgers family was forced to reckon with the losses of Tommy Lasorda, Don Sutton and Vin Scully’s beloved wife Sandra, fans of a certain age were hit hard again on Monday.
Confirming rumors that emerged earlier in the day, the Dodgers family acknowledged the passing of two-time batting champion and community stalwart Tommy Davis, who reportedly died peacefully on Sunday.
The Brooklyn-born Davis unfortunately never got to star in his home borough, instead making his debut in Los Angeles in 1959 in a one-game cameo before truly making his mark on Major League Baseball the next season.
Carrying a .276 batting average in 110 games that season, he’d parlay a fifth-place Rookie of the Year finish into a sterling several seasons yet to come.
Dodgers batting champion Tommy Davis passes away at 83
Davis’ two most memorable seasons came in 1962 and 1963 at the ages of 23 and 24. In both years, he finished in the top-10 in the MVP race (third in ’62, eighth in ’63). In both years, he led the Senior Circuit in batting average, notching .346 and .326 marks. And, across both years … he made the All-Star Game three times, participating in both games in 1962. Now there’s a mark that’ll never be equalled.
Davis, of course, remained a wizard in the 1963 World Series, helping to top the Yankees with a .400 average in four games, highlighted by two triples.
Though his time in Dodger Blue ended after the ’66 season, Davis remained a central figure in the game for another decade, bouncing around to impart his wisdom while doing what he did best: hit.
In addition to his two centerpiece seasons, Davis received MVP votes in 1964 in Dodger Blue, 1967 with the New York Mets, and in 1973 and 1974 with the Baltimore Orioles, where he helped mentor a young Ken Singleton.
After learning of his passing, Davis’ former pupil delivered him a proper tribute.
In all, Davis racked up 2,121 hits and stuck around the game for a remarkable 1,999 contests across 18 years.
Though his peak may predate most modern Dodger fans, the 1963 series sweep of the Bombers certainly doesn’t happen without his contributions. Though his team pulled off a 1965 title without his contributions (a broken ankle felled him for the season in April) and the ’66 World Series didn’t end quite so well, Davis remains one of the faces of a dominant 1960s Dodgers team predicated on speed and Sandy Koufax/Don Drysdale.
If you weren’t there (or if you were there and occasionally blinked), you wouldn’t believe it.