There’s a great piece in ESPN The Magazine’s August 19 issue that discusses Orioles slugger Chris Davis and — you guessed it — PED allegations. Eddie Matz talks about Davis’ journey to the Major Leagues, his struggles in Texas, PED allegations from fans and national baseball pundits and his power at the plate from a young age.
Like anyone who piles up homers these days, Davis is facing a situation in which he can’t prove a negative. But it helps his case that he has always crushed the ball. As an 11-year-old in Longview, Texas, in his first Little League game after returning from a broken ankle he suffered while in-line skating, Davis clubbed a game-winning homer that cleared the fence at McWhorter Field and landed halfway across Toler Road. At Longview High, the shortstop they called Biscuit — because his coach once joked, “Son, you’re about one biscuit away from outgrowing shortstop” (by then he was 6’3″, 225) — played on a field that featured major league dimensions: 390 feet to centerfield and 335 down the line. Nevertheless, he clubbed a school-record 13 home runs as a senior in just 30 games. In BP, the lefty would routinely hit balls into the lights or onto the middle of the soccer field, about a hundred feet beyond the rightfield fence. “I coached high school baseball for 30 years,” says Joey Kalmus, his coach at Longview, in a deliberate Southern drawl befitting a tall-tale narrator, “and I’ve never seen power like that.”
In the column Davis tells Matz that being traded to Baltimore was the best thing that’s ever happened to him. It hasn’t worked out too badly for the O’s either.