Wednesday, April 12, 2023

On the Beat With Jody Davis

Yesterday, I had the thrill of interviewing Jody Davis, former catcher for the Chicago Cubs and a key part of their magical 1984 season. Now residing in Georgia, Jody was kind enough to share his thoughts on his career, bringing me back to my younger days of watching him at Wrigley Field.
Jody was originally drafted by the New York Mets in 1976. While still in the minor leagues, Jody was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals after the 1979 season. Almost exactly one year later, the Cubs drafted him from St. Louis in the 1980 Rule 5 Draft. 
In 1981, the Cubs made Jody the starting catcher, a position he would hold until being traded to the Braves late in the 1988 season. During his time with the Cubs, Jody was named to two All-Star teams and won a Gold Glove. A key part of the 1984 National League East champion Cubs, Jody earned a special place in the hearts of Cubs fans.
Jody gave the Cubs their best and most consistent catcher since Randy Hundley. He was easily the best Cubs catcher of my lifetime and second only to Hall of Famer Gabby Hartnett in the storied history of the franchise. 
Late in the 1988 season, the Cubs were moving into a new era and traded Jody to the Braves. Although the Braves were his home state team, Jody and his legion of fans hated to see him leave Chicago.
Jody retired after the 1990 season, ending his career with 877 hits, 127 home runs, 490 RBI's and 364 runs scored. He cherishes his time with the Cubs and is enjoying life hunting and fishing.
Recently, Jody jumped on social media with a Facebook page and twitter account. Once I saw his pages, I reached out asking for an interview. 
The interview started with Jody discussing baseball cards, including a funny note on his first and an interesting bit of trivia on his favorite card. Jody talked about his time with the Cubs, the fun of the 1984 season, Harry Caray singing about him and leaving the team. He also talked about what the Cubs Hall of Fame would mean to him, joining the world of social media, connections with former teammates and more.
Clearly the Cubs Hall of Fame would mean a lot to Jody, but it would also be a huge deal for Jody's fans. Jody's 121 HR's are second only to Hartnett among Cubs catchers. Jody and Hartnett were also the only Cubs catchers at the time to surpass 20 homers in a season more than once. In 1984, Jody finished in the top ten in MVP voting. In the postseason, Jody hit .389 with a 1.202 OPS. His 4.2 WAR in 1986 is ninth all-time among Cubs catchers.
I hope Jody knows how exciting this was for me. I am a writer and interviewer, but I will always be a fan. I greatly appreciate Jody's time with the Cubs, especially the 1984 season.
As I told Jody in the interview, one of my prized possessions is a game-used bat of his. While at DePaul, I took the el train after classes to attend games. (Tickets were a lot cheaper and easier to get back then.) I befriended the bat boy and asked for Jody's cracked bat, which he gave me. (The sports memorabilia craze hadn't hit yet.) It was a beautiful black bat used by Jody in a game. How cool was this!?
Fast forward about 40 years and here I was interviewing one of my favorites. It was an amazing and surreal experience for which I am very grateful.
I thank Jody for his time and consideration and for fantastic memories from his career. I also thank Patty for facilitating the interview.
To get all the info and updates from Jody, follow @JodyDavisMLB on twitter and Jody Davis on Facebook. Check for more sports coverage.

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