Word came last night that longtime Dodger Center Fielder Willie Davis, who Vin Scully usually referred to as “The Three Dawg”, has died at the age of 69.
Davis, of whom former Dodger GM Buzzie Bavasi described as having Hall-of-Fame talent and a 10-cent head, was the Dodger center fielder for 14 seasons, and holds many team records. He was a great talent, possessing blinding speed, and though he had several excellent years late in his career, he never developed into the great player envisioned early in his career.
In fact, Davis will always be best remembered for his defensive lapses in the last game ever pitched by Sandy Koufax, Game Two of the 1966 World Series, which Sandy and the Dodgers lost to Baltimore, thanks in great part to Davis’ World Series Record Three Errors in one inning.
Besides that, I will always remember Davis for the stats he compiled in the 1968 season. Playing 160 games in center field and coming to bat 643 times in the number three slot, and though recording 161 base hits, including ten triples, Davis managed to drive in the absolutely incredible number of 31 runs.
He was a personable guy, and his deep, resonant voice lead him to a part time career of guest-spots in a handful TV sitcoms. Later in life, he made the news a few times due to some erratic behavior, including threatening his parents with a Samurai sword and Ninja-type weapons.
He made games, and life, interesting. So-long, Three Dawg.