Davis' historic season keeps getting better
Slugger becomes third player to hit 50 homers, 40 doubles in a season
BALTIMORE -- Orioles manager Buck Showalter joked on the team's recently wrapped homestand that when Davis hit his 49th home run Monday, his high-five was so hard, Showalter thought he broke his hand. And while the first baseman has had plenty of practice this season, Friday's hand slap was in a category of its own.
Davis launched Blue Jays reliever Steve Delabar's 2-2 changeup over the left-center-field fence for his 50th home run to start the top of the eighth inning, leading Baltimore to a 5-3 win. Davis, who has an astounding 129 RBIs, is just the third player in Major League history to have at least 50 homers and 40 doubles in a single year, joining Babe Ruth, who hit 59 homers and 44 doubles in 152 games in 1921, and Albert Belle, who hit 50 homers and 52 doubles for Cleveland in 143 games in 1995.
"It's a humbling feeling to be in the same company with the guys I'm in," Davis said of the feat. "It's one of those things where you appreciate it and move on."
Davis accomplished the feat in his 146th game, with Friday's homer also tying him with current special assistant Brady Anderson for the Orioles' single-season home run record and moving him ahead of Hall of Famer Frank Robinson. Davis is the first player to reach the 50-homer mark since Toronto's Jose Bautista in 2010.
"It's crazy," Davis said. "I feel like I've been swinging the bat well all year. There have been times when I've wanted to pull my hair out, but thankfully, they've been few and far between. It's a tough game to go out there and do it every day. It says a lot about the guys who do it.
"I think the other night when I hit 49, I felt like I was never going to hit another one again and I ran into one. I felt like I had some good at-bats, and I was staying through the ball. Now that that one's behind me, I can take a little breath."
Friday's accolade was the latest in a decorated 2013 campaign for Davis, who eclipsed new career highs in home runs and RBIs before the All-Star break. The American League All-Star starting first baseman's 90 extra-base hits, which is tops in baseball, is 20 more than Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera and two shy of Anderson's club record set in 1996.
Davis' double on Wednesday made him the first Orioles player to record a 40-double/40-homer season, and he's the 11th left-handed batter to do it in baseball history.
"He's doing it, man," Blue Jays outfielder Colby Rasmus said. "He has been through some things, some stuff over there with the Rangers and got to a good place that's good for him mentally and physically. And he's just doing his thing."
Tabbed to be the Orioles' starting first baseman since Spring Training, Davis has made it a priority to be a good fielder, and Showalter has singled out Davis' defensive skills as Gold Glove-worthy. The manager has also said numerous times that the way Davis has handled the limelight this season has been the most impressive part.
"Every once in a while, I do remind myself, I don't want to use the word historic -- I just did -- but every once in a while I go, 'It's pretty cool that I get to watch this,'" Showalter said. "It's some kind of year he's having, also at first base. He's set the bar really high, not only for other players in the organization, but also for himself. I hope you all are kind to him next year if he goes back to 30 and 101. I think we'd sign up for that in blood. But if I know Chris, he wouldn't."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.