Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Tommy Davis 1961 Union Oil Dodger Family Booklet

Here is another installment featuring the 1961 Union Oil Dodger Family Booklet set.  Go here to see my past posts showcasing this set; including complete scans of both the Vin Scully/Jerry Doggett and Roger Craig booklets.

Tommy Davis was always going to be a Dodger.  He was born just 8 years before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Brooklyn, New York.  A standout athlete at Boys High School in Brooklyn, he was set to sign a professional contract with the Yankees in 1956, but a certain voice came calling.  Jackie Robinson gave him a ring and made a strong pitch on behalf of the team.  As you can imagine, the Brooklyn born child couldn't say no.  So, he started his career in Blue.

Davis made his debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1959 as a late-season call-up.  In that lone pinch-hit at-bat he struck out against journeyman reliever Marshall Bridges.  Fortunately, that was not entirely symbolic of his future.  The following season, he earned a spot on the regular roster to start the year, and soon established himself as one of the leagues best young stars. 

He played 7 full season in Los Angeles; batting a career .304, a slugging percentage of .441, and OPS+ of 117 as a Dodger.  To this day he holds various LA Dodger records; including most RBI's in a season with 153 (1962), most hits in a season with 230 (1962), most RBI's in the month of June (1962), and the top 2 season batting averages as a LA Dodger (1962 & 1963).

After the 1966 season he would be traded to the Mets.  Then, Tommy Davis would play for 9 different ballclubs over the next 10 season; thereby, going full circle.  He had become the journeyman ballplayer reminiscent of the man who struck him out in his very first Major League at-bat.
(Steve Yeager and Tommy Davis, pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014)

As you know, Tommy Davis has remained a member of the Dodger family.  He is a constant presence at LA Dodgers charitable events, and is currently at Camelback Ranch advising youngsters during Spring Training.

Below are complete scans of every page from Tommy Davis' 1961 Union Oil Dodger Family Booklet.  Click any pic to embiggen.

One item of note, this booklet has been stamped by the gas station that originally gave it away.  As you can see, Rollie and Stan's Union Service in Glendale gave this booklet to an eager fan.  Although many collectors might see this stamp as a unwanted blemish, I believe otherwise.  I think of it as a beautiful scar that tells you a bit about its past - a mark that is to be remembered and recalled. 

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