Former White Sox outfielder Tommy Davis died on Sunday night at the age of 83 in Phoenix. The cause of his death wasn’t given.
He was acquired by the White Sox from the Mets on Dec. 15, 1967 by GM Ed Short. It turned out to be one of the worst trades he ever made and eventually, combined with other bad deals, led to his firing in September 1970.
The White Sox sent former Rookie of the Year Tommie Agee and infielder Al Weis to New York for Davis, pitcher Jack Fisher and catcher “Buddy” Booker. The move was made to try to help Chicago’s stagnant offense, but dealing Agee — the first player to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases in a season for the Sox — made little sense.
Both Agee and Weis would go on to help the Amazin’ Mets win the 1969 World Series.
Davis, meanwhile, only played for the Sox in 1968, appearing in 132 games with eight home runs, 50 RBIs and a .268 batting average. Twice that year he had games with four RBIs, both times coming against the Senators.
After the disappointing year and paid a high salary for the time ($69,000), the White Sox didn’t protect him when the American League expanded, and he was selected in the expansion draft by the Seattle Pilots.
He would struggle for a couple more seasons, then bounce back and be a key contributor for Oakland in 1971, and at the end of his career finished 10th in MVP voting in 1973 and 26th in 1974. He retired in 1976, with 2,121 career hits and a career .294 batting average.
While with the White Sox, Davis was indirectly involved in an unfortunate incident at Comiskey Park during the Democratic National Convention in August 1968.
On August 25 against the Twins, while he was in left field, he was the victim of racial comments from some supporters of Alabama Gov. George Wallace. That upset supporters of Sen. Eugene McCarthy, who were in the same area of the left-field stands, and the situation began to get heated. Security quickly stepped in and averted what could have been an uglier situation.