There might not have been a more popular Cincinnati Reds player when I was a kid. Even though I was probably more partial to Barry Larkin, Eric “the Red” also known as Eric Davis was who every kid in little league tried to emulate. Even the stance where he casually stands there and holds the bat in a funny, non-chalant motion.
Couple of memories come to mind that make us miss Eric Davis. Remember the fall of 1990 when he made that sliding catch in the World Series that lacerated his kidney? Right after homering early on in the series to give the Reds a huge jumpstart? Of course everyone remembers his 30-30 season that was actually 37 and 50. Eric Davis could do it all on a baseball field. He was Micheal Jordan in cleats for a while and that is rare for Cincinnati to have a superstar of that caliber.
How about that summer in 1996 when Eric Davis came out of retirement to make the Reds as a non-roster invitee? Then he went on to hit .287 with 26 home runs and 23 stolen bases. He couldn’t play every day anymore, but he brought a ton of excitement back to Reds baseball. I remember a multi-homer game one Sunday night (back when the Reds were still welcome on ESPN baseball) against the San Francisco Giants. As a baseball fan, watching Eric Davis play 2 out of every 3 days that summer was one of my favorite memories.
Darryl Strawberry described Davis a lot in his book. Davis was basically a warrior with way more heart then any other guy Darryl ever played with. He said Davis had a positive attitude and it was no surprise that he beat cancer because he beat everything he set his mind to.
For some odd reason last night as we watched the Reds grind out a meaningless end of the summer game, we found ourselves thinking about Eric the Red. If he was out in centerfield, the game wouldn’t have seemed so meaningless. They don’t make them like #44 anymore.
Eric Davis lifetime statistics. [Baseball-Reference]