Willie Davis: Photo courtesy Los Angeles Dodgers
Southland baseball star Willie Davis is being remembered today. Davis, the legendary center fielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers, was found dead in Burbank yesterday. A concerned neighbor reportedly called police yesterday morning to Davis’ apartment in the 1900 block of West Victory Boulevard. Officers arrived at the scene and discovered the 69-year-old Davis on the living room floor. Burbank Sergeant Robert Quesada says, ” Mr. Davis showed no signs of life and was pronounced dead. At this time, detectives found no signs of foul play and it appears Mr. Davis died of apparent natural causes.”
Davis’ story is the classic local gifted athlete makes good tale. Davis was a world-class sprinter at Roosevelt High in Los Angeles when he caught the attention of Dodger Scout Kenny Myers, who saw in the young runner a potential baseball center fielder, according to a press release from the Dodger organization.
Right after graduating from high school in 1958, Davis was signed by the Dodgers. It proved to be a wise decision. Davis played two years in the minor leagues, before moving up and spending 14 seasons with the Dodgers from 1960-1973. Davis is still the franchise leader in hits (2,091), extra-base hits (585), at-bats (7,495), runs (1,004), triples (110) and total bases (3,094). In 1969, Davis set a team record with a 31-game hitting streak. He won three Golden Glove Awards from 1971-1973.
In a statement released late yesterday, Davis received high praise from Dodger Owner Frank McCourt: “He was beloved by generations of Dodger fans and remains one of the most talented players ever to wear the Dodger uniform. Having spent time with him over the past six years, I know how proud he was to have been a Dodger. He will surely be missed and our sincere thoughts are with his children during this difficult time.”