#23 - Chili Davis, OF/DH
This writeup of Kingston Jamaica's own Charles Theodore Davis is brought to you by The Chronicles of the Lads Blog and its impressario, its maestro, The Chronicler. He voted Mr. Davis All-Time Angel #10 on our ballotting (and The Chronicler was the only other balloteer along with yours truly, the Rev, to waste three days compiling a list of the Top 100 Angels for this Series). Chili's next highest Ranking was #17, by Top 40 voter and Baseball Analyst Rich Lederer. Take it away, Chronicler...
When I first set out to make this list, I assumed that the top-rated DH in Halo History would be either Reggie or Don Baylor. Baylor, of course, won the team's only MVP before Vlad, and Reggie ... well, he's Reggie, for God's sake. But, in an Angel uniform, Chili outperformed both of those guys.
Chili vs. Reggie? That one's easy. Chili had 1000 more at-bats, and his OPS+ was eight points higher (122-114).
The competition with Baylor is a bit closer. Chili only had about 300 more AB, and Baylor's lesser OPS+ (117) is probably offset a tiny bit by his better base-stealing (89 steals against 46 caught, but Chili was 28 against 20). That's a small advantage, though; Chili was a better hitter for a slightly longer period of time.
Chili, of course, had one of the absolute worst defensive seasons in Angel history, his first year with the club. Playing RF in 1988, he made 19 errors. If you wonder how a right fielder can make 19 errors, you never saw Chili Davis play right field. Imagine any possible error: that's how he would make them.
After two years in Anaheim, Chili went to Minnesota, where he was moved to DH and won a World Series. Getting the defense out of his way worked wonders for his hitting, and he's a rare creature whose best performances came after his thirtieth birthday. The Angels brought him back two years later; after a mediocre first season, he spent the mid-nineties ripping the ball apart.
He was a mentor too, to guys like Garret Anderson (the Angel radio guys were talking this past season about how Garret and Chili still keep in touch). When Cal Ripken Jr. broke the consecutive games record against the Angels, the Orioles held a post-game ceremony, and Chili - dressed cool in a stylish suit - was brought in as a representative of Cal's opponents.
After the 1997 season, the Angels traded him for an injured Mark Gubicza (who pitched less than five innings for the Halos) and a pitching prospect named Mike Bovee, who pitched less than four. Despite being hurt for much of one of the next three years, Chili managed to hit 52 home runs and knock in 177 after the trade, along with an OPS+ of 122. The Angel DH in 1998 was Eddie Murray.