Carroll County Times
Carroll County

Davis named Most Valuable Oriole

BALTIMORE - Chris Davis went from being a player who had critics wondering if he'd ever reach his potential to a household name almost overnight.
The Baltimore Orioles' slugger led the major leagues in home runs, was the leading vote-getter for the All-Star Game, and had one of the greatest seasons in Orioles history.
On Sunday, before Baltimore's season finale against the Boston Red Sox, Davis was presented with the 2013 Louis M. Hatter Most Valuable Oriole award voted on by local media. It was also Davis bobblehead day.
"I haven't really sat down and started thinking about what the numbers say, but what I've been through this year with the first All-Star Game, being the leading vote-getter," Davis said. "There are so many things that I could have never imagine happened. Maybe when I get home and go to sleep for 18 hours, I'll think about it."
Davis received a loud standing ovation as he took the field to receive the ward. He received all but one first-place vote for MVO. The other went to Adam Jones, who had won it the past two seasons and finished second.
"I got sick and tired of seeing Adam Jones win it every year, so I figured I'd do my best to get him out of there," Davis joked.
The Orioles first baseman swatted a franchise-record 53 home runs and drove in 138 runs.
He played a solid first base, competed in the home run derby, started in the All-Star Game, and consistently gave Baltimore a lift offensively.
Davis homered in the first four games of the season, which included a go-ahead grand slam against the Minnesota Twins April 5 in the home opener. He again homered in four straight games in the four prior to the All-Star break.
He had a franchise record 96 extra-base hits, as well as a Baltimore record 28 home runs at home. Plus, he was just the fourth left-handed hitter in AL history to hit 53 or more homers and drive in 138 or more runs, joining Babe Ruth, Ken Griffey Jr., and Roger Maris.
"I always thought 40 was a big number," Davis said. "Never dreamed of hitting 50 home runs, much less breaking the single-season record. But it's one of those things where if I didn't have the guys in front of me and behind me in the lineup I would have never been here."
He was the third player ever to hit 50 homers and 40 doubles in a season, joining Ruth and Albert Belle.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said several times during the season that he had ran out of words to describe how impressive Davis' season was.
"I love what he's done defensively and how he's handled all the attention," Showalter said. "It'd be real easy to give yourself a little pass on some phases of the game as good a year as he's having offensively. But he hasn't.
"We're lucky to have been able to watch him."
Davis gained more than just the attention of people in Baltimore. He appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated and homered on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball in late June.
Hitting didn't always come easy to Davis, however. He hit .248 with 39 homers in his first three seasons, all with the Texas Rangers.
When Davis was traded to Baltimore at the 2011 trade deadline, that was when he finally started to reach his potential.
"I just got to the point where I quit worrying so much about the result, started looking at the work and preparation that went into it," Davis said. "I can't say enough about what it's meant to come in here and play every day. Not only that, but to be able to wear my hat backwards in the clubhouse and not have somebody look down their nose at you.
"When you have a clubhouse you can go to every day and really relax, feel like you are part of a family, it makes it easier."
Davis is under team control for the next two seasons. He'd like to be in Baltimore for even longer.
"This has been a place that I've really been able to call home," Davis said. "I know it was tough to be a fan here for a long time and I hope that the last couple of years have really restored the faith of the fan base.
"I couldn't think of a better place for me to hit for the rest of my career."