Jan 16, 2020

Chili Davis: Mets Hitting Coach (2019-2020)

Charles Theodore Davis was born January 17th 1960 in Kingston, Jamaica. He became the first MLB player to be born in that country. Davis along with three brothers & a sister moved to Los Angeles as kids. 

The six foot-three, switch hitting outfielder was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 11th round of the 1977 draft, while still in high school. 

Moniker Trivia: He got the nickname Chili as a kid, when his father gave him a bad haircut. His friends said it looked like  they put a bowl of chili on his head & cut around it, the name stuck.

Davis spent seven seasons with the San Francisco Giants, playing his first full season in 1982. That year he came in fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting, with 19 HRs 27 doubles 24 stolen bases & 76 RBIs while batting .261. 

He would make two All Star teams representing the Giants (1984 & 1986) & also won two Player of week Awards.

 In 1984 he batted .314, coming in third in the NL batting, hitting 21 HRs (8th in the NL) & made 16 outfield assists best in the league.

On the Giants 1987 NL Western Division Champion team he was second behind Will Clark in HRs (24) & third in RBIs (76). In the NLCS loss to the St. Louis Cardinals he went 3-20 (.150) with a double. 

In December of 1987 he signed on with the California Angels as a free agent. His offensive production got better as he hit over 20 HRs 24 plus doubles & drove in over 90 runs in each of the next two seasons, winning two Player of the Week Awards. In 1990 he missed fifty games due to injuries.

In January 1991 he signed a contract with the Minnesota Twins & became the teams main designated hitter. That year the Twins won their first World Series Championship, as Davis led the talented team with HRs (29) doubles (34) & RBIs (93) while batting .277.

1991 Post Season: In Game #1 of the ALCS against the Toronto Blue Jays, he had a two run single, leading the Twins to a 2-1 win. Overall he batted .294 in the ALCS (3-20) with a walk.

1991 World Series: In Game #2 of the World Series he hit a two run, 2nd HR off Tom Glavine, helping the Twins to a 3-2 victory. In Game #3 at Atlanta's Fulton County Stadium, Davis tied the game up, sending it to extra innings with a two run HR off Braves  reliever, Alejandro Pena. The Twins lost it in the 12th. He hit the two HRs with four RBIs in the Series batting .222 (4-18) with two walks.

After two seasons in Minnesota he signed back with the California Angels (1994-1996). In first year back with the Angels he drove in a career high 112 runs while striking out a career high 135 times. He hit 25 or more HRs in three of those four seasons, driving in 84 or more runs every year. 

In the strike shortened 1994 season, he made another All Star team & batted over .300 that year as well as the next. By this time in his career he was mostly a full time DH, reaping the benefits of that AL style of play, helping extend his career.

At the end of the 1996 season he was traded to the Kansas City Royals for Mark Gubicza & Mike Bovee. In the 1997 season, he hit a career high 30 HRs & drove in another 90 runs, it was the sixth time in his career he had over 90 RBIs.

He closed out his playing career with the AL New York team (1998-1999) winning two Championships there as well. 

Post Season: He drove in two runs in five of six games in the 1998 post season, with a three run HR against the Cleveland Indians in Game #4 of the ALCS. In the 1998 Series against the San Diego Padres he drove in runs in Games Two & Three. He ended his playing career in 1999 with 19 HRs & 78 RBIs in 146 games as a DH.

Davis had a fine career overall, in 13 years he played in 2435 games (1184 as an outfielder & 1160 as a DH). He has hit the seventh most HRs all time as a switch hitter- 350 HRs (95th all time overall). 

He hit HRs from both sides of the plate eleven times, tied with Eddie Murray as best all time when he retired but is now 4th most.

He had 1240 hits with 424 doubles 30 triples 142 steals  & 1372 RBIs (86th all time) batting .274 with a .360 on base %. 

He walked 1194 times (63rd all time), was walked intentionally 188 times (22nd all time) & hit 94 sac flies (51st all time). He struck out 1698 times (36th most all time) & grounded into 232 double plays (57th all time).

Retirement: Davis started coaching the Australian National Team & then in the minors for the LA Dodgers & Boston Red Sox. 

He became the hitting coach for the following teams at the MLB level: Oakland Athletics (2012-2014) those A's won two Divisional Titles. 

The Boston Red Sox (2015-2017) the 2016 Sox had the best batting average & on base % in the AL, they also had the most hits, doubles & runs scored in the AL. 

Two of those Sox teams won AL East titles as well. He then moved on to coach the Chicago Cubs (2018) which were first in hits, average & made a wild card appearance.

Mets Coaching Career: In 2019 he signed on as hitting coach for the New York Mets. Davis did a fine job with the Mets in his first year, most notably with NL Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso & Jeff McNeil who contended for the batting title most of the season. JD Davis, Wilson Ramos also had good years at the plate & Amed Rosario finally showed his potential.

The Mets team were fourth in the NL in hits (1445) fifth in average (.257) & HRs (242) as well as strike outs (1384). They were seventh in runs scored (791) eighth in doubles (280) & ninth in walks (516).

Davis was given a two year deal starting in 2020. The organization believes he is a big asset to new manager Carlos Beltran.

Family: Davis & his wife Ann have three children & live in Arizona.

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