Note: This page is for 1960s first baseman Bill Davis; for the umpire of the same name, click here.
Arthur Willard Davis
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 7", Weight 215 lb.
- School University of Minnesota
- High School Richfield (MN) High School
- Debut September 16, 1965
- Final Game May 21, 1969
- Born June 6, 1942 in Graceville, MN USA
First baseman Bill Davis played parts of three seasons in the majors.
Davis attended the University of Minnesota, where he starred on both the baseball diamond and the basketball court. He was a member of the 1964 College World Series champion squad, and after graduation that year, he was signed by the Cleveland Indians and scout Wally Shannon for a $12,000 bonus. He began his pro career that summer with the AA Charleston Indians of the Eastern League, hitting .292 with 9 home runs in 78 games. With the Portland Beavers of the Pacific Coast League in 1965, he hit .311 with 33 homers to earn a September promotion to the majors. He got into 10 games that season, all as a pinch hitter, and went 3-for-10 in the bigs.
Davis began 1966 back with the Indians and started the season's second game, going 1-for-3 with an RBI. However, he saw little action, mostly as a pinch hitter, and was sent back to Portland in May. He was again recalled by the Tribe in September, and on September 9th, he hit his only big league home run, a game-winner off Jack Sanford of the California Angels. He appeared primed to be Cleveland's first baseman in 1967, but those plans were derailed when he severed his Achilles tendon during the offseason. He missed the entire 1967 campaign while recovering from the injury. He came back in 1968, hitting .265 with a dozen home runs for Portland, but he did not see big league action that year.
Following the 1968 season, Davis was dealt to the expansion San Diego Padres for Zoilo Versalles. He was the team's Opening Day first baseman in 1969 and started 11 of the club's first 14 games. However, hitting just .229, he lost the starting job to Nate Colbert. Seeing limited playing time off the bench, he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in late May. He spent the remainder of the year in the American Association, splitting the season between the Tulsa Oilers in the Cardinals system and the Denver Bears in the Minnesota Twins organization.
Davis was offered an opportunity to play in Japan in 1970, but following the birth of his first child, he instead opted to retire. After baseball, he was a longtime real estate finance executive.