The Royals and human beings named Davis just don't mix. They are like oil and water, Frenchy and walks, or the Chiefs and playoff wins. The two should never hang out together. Ever again. Ever.
This whole debacle started in December of 1989. You remember, back when the Royals were still relevant in Major League Baseball. Back before late night comedians used them as a perpetual baseball punchline. Back when the fans weren't twice as knowledgeable and three times as quick to recognize the obvious as the front office.
December 11th, 1989: The Royals had just finished the season 92-70 (more than enough to qualify for the postseason in today's baseball). Had they played in the East, they would have won the division and been in the ALCS. But, as luck would have it, they played in the same division as the juggernaut Oakland Athletics, who were at the peak of their glory. They finished an MLB best 99-63 and left the Royals out in the cold after an excellent season by any standard.
It appeared that the Royals had found their new closer that year in the person of 27 year-old Jeff Montgomery. He had appeared in 63 games, saving 18 of them. His ERA was a staggering 1.37 and he had struck out 94 batters in 92 innings. But the team clearly wasn't convinced he was the guy, and the big name free agent was too tempting to pass up. Enter Davis #1.
Mark Davis had just won the Cy Young Award as a closer for the San Diego Padres. He had back-to-back stellar seasons (2.01 ERA, 28 saves in 1988; 1.85 ERA, 44 saves in 1989). He was in the prime of his career at 28 years old. So the Royals did what they felt they needed to do and signed him to a massive 3 year, $9+ million contract. In today's dollars, that would be closer to $16 million. It was the equivalent of the team standing up at the table and pushing it all in. And it couldn't have gone worse.
Mark pitched in 95 games for the Royals over 3 seasons. He saved a total of 7 games. His Royals ERA was an atrocious 5.31. He went 9-13.
Four days earlier that same December, the Royals had sent the first signal about how serious they were about beating the A's when they signed another free agent pitcher. One who had been part of their target's starting rotation for the past two years. Enter Davis #2.
Storm Davis had won 16 games in 1988 for Athletics. He followed that up by winning 19 in 1989. His ERA was middling, and he didn't strike out a lot of batters, but he was a WINNER!!!! So the Royals signed him to $1.1 million contract. Over 2 season with the Royals, Storm Davis went 10-19 with a 4.85 ERA. The 1990 and 1991 editions of the Kansas City Royals both finished 6th out of 7 teams in the West, and the franchise has never been the same since.
Fast forward to 2007. The freshly-minted GM of the team, Dayton Moore, makes a trade right at the deadline to start the wheels of "the Process" in motion. The pitcher was young and showed promising signs. He was a 4th round draft pick of the Atlanta Braves, and the Braves ALWAYS got it right when it came to pitchers. His numbers were bad in Atlanta, but there was still hope in that arm. Enter Davis #3. With an extra E to reinforce the Error in our ways.
Hiram "Kyle" Davi(e)s went 29-44 with a 5.34 ERA over his seemingly eternal 5 seasons with the Royals.
And finally, our latest dalliance with the cursed name, just this offseason ago.. Our now desperate GMDM feels he must vindicate the process immediately. He trades for a solid pitcher, James Shields. But he gives up who could be the organization's most coveted prospect in a decade. And, there is a bonus addition in the trade - one who turns out to be quite the poison pill. Enter Davis #4.
Wade Davis is 6-10, with a 5.67 ERA this season with the Royals.
By my calculations, here are the combined statistics of the four Davi(e)s pitchers in Royals history:
- 54 wins, 86 losses
- 9 saves
- 3 complete games
- 1 shutout
- 5.27 ERA over 1050.1 innings
Please, let a Davis never darken the tunnel of Kauffman stadium again.
"Outlined against a blue-gray October sky, the Four Davis rode again. In dramatic lore they are known as Famine, Pestilence, Destruction and Death. These are only aliases. Their real names are Storm, Mark, Hiram and Wade."