“Like they say, once you get away from the Giants, you become a star,” Chili Davis once said about a former teammate. But that statement could apply to Davis as well, since he hit nearly 250 homers and had more than 1,500 hits after the Giants allowed him to leave via free agency.
Born in Jamaica, Davis was originally a promising center field prospect for the Giants, finishing fourth in NL Rookie of the Year balloting in 1982 when he hit 19 homers and stole 24 bases as the Giants battled the Braves for the NL West title until the final weekend of the season. The switch-hitter eventually shifted to right field when the Giants inserted Dan Gladden in center. Davis was a two-time All-Star for San Francisco, but he left them via free agency in 1988, going south to play for the Angels.
In two stints with the Halos, Davis became a power source in the designated hitter role, hitting 20 homers and driving in 90 runs on several occasions. He bolted California briefly for a two-year stint with the Twins, where he led the club with 29 homers and 93 RBIs in 1991 when Minnesota won the World Series. But he was back with the Angels after that brief jaunt in the midwest, where he was popular with the SoCal fans.
Chili Davis ranks in the top five all-time in hits, home runs, runs batted in, and total bases for designated hitters. He appeared in more than 1,100 games in that role.
Unlike most switch-hitters, Davis was equally effective from both sides of the plate. His platoon splits were nearly identical: 276/370/450 vs RHP and 270/336/453 vs LHP.