Davis with the Cleveland Indians in 2016
|Oakland Athletics – No. 11|
October 19, 1980 |
|August 14, 2006, for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
(through 2016 season)
|Runs batted in||353|
|Career highlights and awards|
Rajai Lavae Davis (/ /; born October 19, 1980) is an American professional baseball outfielder for the Oakland Athletics of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants, Toronto Blue Jays, Detroit Tigers, and Cleveland Indians.
Davis was born in Norwich, Connecticut, on October 19, 1980. He played Little League Baseball in Willimantic, Connecticut, for the Willimantic Fire Fighters. In 1991, Davis helped the Willimantic Little League All-Star Team win the District 11 championship. Rajai also played in the Willimantic Youth Football League.
In 1999, Davis graduated from New London High School where he earned letters playing baseball, basketball, and football. During the summer he was a member of the New London American Legion team.
After high school, Davis attended the University of Connecticut at Avery Point of the NJCAA in Groton. While in college, Davis played for the New England Collegiate Baseball League's Middletown Giants (now the Futures Collegiate Baseball League's North Shore Navigators).
Davis was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 38th round (1,134th overall) of the 2001 Major League Baseball Draft as a second baseman. He played six full minor league seasons before making his major league debut. He had a .305 career minor league batting average to go along with 251 stolen bases in 322 attempts. In addition, Davis made three consecutive All-Star appearance at three different levels of play from 2002 to 2004.
Davis made his major league debut for the Pirates on August 14, 2006, going 0-for-1 in a pinch hit appearance against the Milwaukee Brewers. He stole his first base two days later, but did not get his first Major League hit for another two weeks. It came on August 29, in the form of a pinch hit double off Chicago Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano. He made his first and only defensive appearance of 2006 the next day, playing three innings in right field.
San Francisco Giants
Davis was traded to the San Francisco Giants with pitcher Stephen MacFarland on July 31, 2007, for Matt Morris. He made his Giants debut the next night against the Los Angeles Dodgers, stealing a base and throwing out a runner from center field. In his time with the Giants, Davis was a semi-regular in the Giants lineup, filling in for Dave Roberts or Barry Bonds whenever necessary.
On August 13, the Giants played a doubleheader in Pittsburgh, which was Davis' first time back since the trade. He started in center in both games, going a combined three-for-seven, with three doubles, two runs scored, two stolen bases, and a run batted in (RBI). Additionally, in the second game, Davis made a spectacular diving catch on the warning track in left-center field.
Just three days later, he robbed Andruw Jones of a possible home run to end the game at Turner Field. Davis kept the ball as a souvenir. The next night, Davis hit his first career home run off Florida Marlins starting pitcher Scott Olsen.
On April 23, 2008, Davis was claimed off waivers by the Oakland Athletics and was added to the active roster. With Oakland in 2008, he stole 25 bases in 196 at-bats. In 2009, Davis became the primary center fielder for the A's hit .305 with 41 stolen bases in 125 games, primarily in center field. In 2010 he also started for most of the season hitting .284 with 52 RBIs and 50 stolen bases. When Coco Crisp came back from injury, Davis switched from center to left and right field for the remainder of the season.
Toronto Blue Jays
In a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on August 14, 2011, Davis tore his hamstring running to first base. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list after the game. Prior to the injury, Davis ranked third in the American League in stolen bases with 34.
On May 18, 2012, in a home game against the New York Mets, Davis had the first multi home run game of his career, hitting two home runs and four RBIs in a 14–5 win. On July 30 in a game against the Seattle Mariners, Davis hit his first career lead-off home run. The home run, his sixth of the season, established a career high for Davis in a single season. On August 12, 2012, Davis recorded five RBIs against the New York Yankees, establishing a single game career high in RBIs. Davis finished second in stolen bases, with 46, for the 2012 campaign (Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim led the league with 49).
Davis was placed on the disabled list on May 11, 2013, with a strained left oblique. After a brief two game rehab assignment with the Dunedin Blue Jays, Davis was activated from the disabled list on June 4. On June 8, in the bottom of the 18th inning against the Texas Rangers, Davis hit a single that scored Emilio Bonifacio in the longest Blue Jays game in franchise history. In a game against the Houston Astros on July 28, Davis tied a Blue Jays franchise record by stealing four bases, joining Damaso Garcia, Dave Collins, Roberto Alomar, and Otis Nixon.
On December 11, 2013, the Tigers signed Davis to a two-year, $10 million contract. On June 30, 2014, he hit a walk-off grand slam home run against Oakland Athletics closer Sean Doolittle to win the game 5–4. It was the first walk-off homer of any kind for Davis in his career.
On August 30, 2014, Davis recorded his 32nd stolen base of the season, and his 300th stolen base of his career. Davis became just the second active player to record a 30-steal season for three different teams. Davis' 300 stolen bases ranks him 12th among active players.
In 2014, Davis played in 134 games for Detroit, batting .282 with 36 stolen bases. He was used in an outfield platoon in 2015, playing in 112 games. Despite limited plate appearances this season (370), he hit a career-high 11 triples.
On July 2, 2016, Davis hit for the cycle in a game against the Toronto Blue Jays. It was the eighth cycle in Cleveland Indians franchise history, the first since Travis Hafner in 2003, and the sixth player in Major League history to hit for a reverse cycle. He led off the game with a home run, hit a triple in the third inning, a double in the sixth inning, and finished the cycle with a single in the ninth inning.
Second Slint with Oakland Athletics
On January 1, 2017 it was announced that Davis had signed a one-year deal with the Athletics.
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- "2007 Pirates Media Guide" (PDF). MLB Pressbox.
- San Francisco Giants broadcast of August 20, 2007 game at Florida Marlins. Fox Sports Net Bay Area.
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- "LA Dodgers 6, San Francisco 4 (8/1/07 Boxscore)". MLB.com. Retrieved September 12, 2007.
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- "San Francisco 10, Pittsburgh 3 (8/13/07 Boxscore)". SFGiants.com.
- Haft, Chris (August 14, 2007). "Davis burns former team as Giants win". MLB.com.
- Henry Schulman, Chronicle Staff Writer (February 23, 2008). "Davis sees himself making more great catches this year". SFGate. Retrieved December 17, 2015.
- Haft, Chris (August 16, 2007). "Relentless Giants batter Braves". MLB.com.
- Keller, Tom (August 17, 2007). "Zito dominant in win over Marlins". MLB.com.
- "MLB Player Batting Stats: 2007". ESPN.com. Retrieved September 11, 2007.
- "Rajai Davis". ESPN.com. Retrieved December 17, 2015.
- Slusser, Susan (November 18, 2010). "The once and future Earthquakes meet". The San Francisco Chronicle.
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- "MLB.com Gameday". Retrieved December 17, 2015.
- Chisholm, Gregor (August 12, 2012). "Davis, Encarnacion pace Blue Jays in win vs. Yankees". MLB.com. Retrieved August 12, 2012.
- "Blue Jay put OF Rajai Davis on disabled list". May 11, 2013. Retrieved May 11, 2013.
- "Blue Jays activate Josh Johnson, Rajai Davis from DL". The Canadian Press. June 4, 2013. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
- Kennedy, Brendan (June 8, 2013). "Toronto Blue Jays win longest game in 18 innings". TheStar.com. Retrieved June 8, 2013.
- "Davis ties Jays' record with 4 steals in game". Sportsnet.ca. July 28, 2013. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
- Beck, Jason (December 11, 2013). "Tigers finalize two-year deal with outfielder Davis". MLB.com. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
- Beck, Jason (June 30, 2014). "Davis belts walk-off grand slam to lift Tigers over A's". MLB.com. Retrieved June 30, 2014.
- "Tigers Outfielder Rajai Davis Records 300th Stolen Base of Career". Bleacher Report. September 1, 2014. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
- Hoynes, Paul (December 17, 2015). "Indians sign Raji Davis". Cleveland.com. Retrieved December 17, 2015.
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