It had to have been a little extra sweet for Chris Davis when the Baltimore Orioles beat the Texas Rangers in Arlington in a one-game AL Wild Card playoff last October.
There are several former Rangers on the roster in Baltimore, including the O's manager, Buck Showalter, but none had such a story of flop and flameout, followed by extreme success that Davis has had since being traded to Baltimore for Koji Uehara at the 2011 trade deadline.
Davis, you'll remember, exploded on to the scene in 2008 when he got called up from the minors and went on to blast 17 homers with 55 RBIs in 80 games and hit .285, quickly earning the nickname "Crush" Davis. It looked like the Rangers had the first baseman of the future they'd been searching for since they dealt Mark Teixeira, and Davis was only 22 years old at that time.
Then, he fell on hard times, still showing stretches of power but also showing an enormous tendency to strikeout at alarming rates, getting sent down in 2010 after hitting just .192 in 45 games. Since being traded to Baltimore, however, the Longview native has shown what the Rangers saw in him at a young age.
He put together a solid season for the upstart Orioles last year, hitting .270 with 33 homers and 85 RBIs as the Orioles made the playoffs. But those numbers pale in comparison to what the former Rangers "can't miss" guy is doing this year.
Davis is hitting .357, leads the league with a .754 slugging percentage and 1.194 OPS and has 20 home runs and 52 RBIs through 56 games. That's MVP, Triple Crown, Miguel Cabrera-like numbers through, albeit, the first two months of the season.
Could Davis had done this in a Rangers uniform? We'll never know, but it could be that a change of scenery was the best medicine for Davis.
"I was one of the guys that had to figure it out at the big-league level," Davis told ESPN 103.3 FM. "I think over time, I just kind of wore out my welcome in Texas and they were obviously dedicated to Mitch [Moreland], for good reason. He’s a great hitter. He’s a very good player, a guy I have a lot of respect for.
"I think I kind of just wore out my welcome and they were kind enough to give me an opportunity to go elsewhere. When it clicked it kind of turned everything around for me.”