Top 100 Mets: #87 - Tommy Davis

Tommy Davis had a solid major league career for a number of teams, including the New York Mets. Though he would only play one year as a Met, his legacy in blue and orange would stretch far past 1967. For it was that Davis was the key to acquiring a player that had a great impact for years beyond Davis' Mets tenure. Thus Davis is here honored with slot # 87 on this celebration of the 100 Greatest Mets. (Free Preview of Premium Content)

Herman Thomas Davis Jr. came into baseball as an amateur free agent signing of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1956. His first official action as a Major League player came in 1959, when he was granted the sum of one at bat for the Dodgers. Thus it is that one year of his career bears the undistinguished line .000/.000/.000 (BA/OBP/SLG). He soon thereafter started generating solid numbers, slugging .426 in 1960 and .413 in 1961. In 1962 Davis broke through with a .346/.374/.535 season. This season would not be typical of Davis, as much of his success was batting average related, and Davis would never again approach a .346 average. His next best season came the very next year, when he hit .326/.359/.457.

Davis was above average in 1964, but amassed only 64 at bats in 1965. He returned with aplomb in 1966, batting .313/.345/.383 in 313 AB. (A .383 SLG was about average for the Dodgers in 1966. This was to be his last year in Dodger blue. On November 19, 1966, Davis and Derrell Griffith were traded from the Dodgers to the Mets for Ron Hunt and Jim Hickman.

For the Mets, Davis would have the third best year of his career offensively, and the best in which he did not win a batting title. He hit .302, his on base percentage was .342, and he slugged .440. His combined OBP and SLG was 25 percent above the average adjusted to half the games at Shea Stadium in 1967. Davis led the Mets starters in all three categories.

Year

Team

AVG.

AB

Hits

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

K

OBP

SLG

1967

Mets

.302

577

174

16

73

72

9

31

71

.342

.440



Despite his success with the bat in his year with the Mets, the team decided that he was best fit as trade bait. The Mets dealt Davis and three other players to the Chicago White Sox for Tommie Agee and Al Weis. Davis and Agee turned out to be similar offensive players over their careers, but in making the switch the Mets improved defensively. The best defensive statistics with data available in this decade are to be found at baseballprospectus.com. Their method rates Davis at 40 runs below average over his career, and Agee 53 runs above.

In cementing the Davis/Agee trade a place in Mets history, Agee would go on to be a key contributor for the 1969 World Series (upset for the ages) Champion Mets. Though the Mets had added Donn Clendenon, and had Cleon Jones provide the best year of his career, rather than one of his worst as was the case in 1967, Agee was a key part of what was not on the whole an imposing offensive squad. The Mets finished ninth in runs scored among 12 National League teams, with Agee being one of the reasons they weren't ranked lower. He hit .271/.342/.464 in 565 AB, finishing second in SLG to Jones and second in OBP to second baseman Ken Boswell. Additionally, Agee provided a solid defensive season, saving more than 10 runs if the good folks at Prospectus have any clue how to evaluate defense.

Over the course of their careers, both Davis and Agee had careers dominated with close to average seasons with enough standout years to push their overall career lines to 8 percent above average. Agee would play five seasons with the Mets, over which he experienced his prime. Three of his Met years were above average, the worst being 16 percent over.

In the 1969 postseason, the only one Agee would play, he ran from core of the Sun hot to uncomfortably chilly. In the LCS, the first of two rounds of playoffs in the pre-Wild Card era, Agee walloped the baseball for a .357/.457/.857 line in 14 at bats in three games. In the World Series, Agee hit for just a .250 OBP and a .333 SLG, in 18 at bats. It was the Mets pitching that bore the brunt of the blame for defeating the juggernaut Baltimore Orioles, but Agee provided a notable boost in getting the Mets to that point.

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