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Jody Davis

Jody Davis

Position(s):
C, 1B
Born:
November 12, 1956
Bats:
Right
Throws:
Right
Height:
6' 4"
Weight:
192 lbs
Major League Debut:
4-21-1981 with CHN
Allstar Selections:
1986 GG

A fine catcher both offensively and defensively for the Cubs from 1981 to 1987, Davis became expendable in 1988 when Damon Berryhill emerged as a capable ML player, and he was traded to the Braves on September 29 after hitting a career-low .230.

Davis was originally drafted by the Mets, but he was traded to the Cardinals organization for Ray Searage after the 1979 season. He played only 58 games in 1980 after losing 50 pounds while being treated for an ulcer, then was drafted by the Cubs following the season during the Rule V draft.

Davis made his major league debut on April 21, 1981 and became the Cubs starting catcher as a rookie. Davis grabbed the starting catching job by hitting .389 in May, but lost it the following spring to Keith Moreland before regaining it during the 1982 season. In 1983 Davis hit .271 with 24 HR and 84 RBI, and in 1984 he made the NL All-Star team for the first time as the Cubs won the NL East. Davis starred in the '84 NLCS, with seven hits in five games and home runs in Games Four and Five, but the Cubs lost the final three games to the Padres after taking a 2-0 series lead.

Later in his career, Davis improved on defense. During his great offensive seasons in 1983 and 1984, defense was somewhat of a challenge for him; in 1983 alone, he had 13 errors and 21 passed balls. However, by 1985 with the help of coach and former catcher, Johnny Oates, he had his defensive problems under control; his passed balls decreased, as did his errors. In 1986 he led National League catchers in putouts, assists and baserunners caught stealing and, finished second to Bob Brenly in fielding percentage. When Davis broke the 100 assists barrier in 1986, he joined Johnny Bench, Jim Sundberg, Gary Carter and Tony Peña as the only catchers to have more than 100 assists in a season since the end of the Second World War. His defensive improvement resulted in his first and only Gold Glove Award and, earned him his second All-Star Game appearance

Davis hit 21 HR and won a Gold Glove in 1986, throwing out 78 would-be basestealers, but in 1987 his durability and consistency began to lapse. He had caught at least 138 games each of the previous four seasons, and had never gone on a ML disabled list, but in 1988 an early-season stint on the DL forced the promotion of Berryhill from the minors, and Davis would catch only 76 games.

Managing career
Davis managed the Calgary Outlaws of the Canadian Baseball League to a 24-13 record during the league's only season (2003). Since the league suspended operations at its All-Star break, the Outlaws were awarded the Jenkins Cup. Following his time in Canada, Davis was a minor league manager and roving catching instructor in the Chicago Cubs system, serving as manager of the Daytona Cubs of the Florida State League in 2007 and 2008. During the 2010 baseball season he managed the Boise Hawks. The Hawks are a minor league Class 'A' affiliate of the Cubs and compete in the short-season Northwest League. His pitching coach was former major league starter Jeff Fassero. During the following off-season, he managed in the winter leagues in Venezuela.

Resources:

Baseball Library and Wikipedia

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