Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Jim Davenport (#441)

The Giants are bringing up the rear on this blog, with only 5 posts to date, so...

Jim Davenport had a 13-year career as an infielder, all with the Giants (1958-70). He was a regular or semi-regular in all but his last season.

Davenport was signed by the New York Giants in 1955, and played 3rd base in the minors for 3 seasons, finally making the Giants in April 1958.

Jim was the first regular 3rd baseman in SAN FRANCISCO Giants history, starting 104 games there as a rookie. Davenport displaced 1957's mix of Ray Jablonski and Ozzie Virgil Sr (although Jablonski started all the games on Davenport's off-days).

In 1959, Jim was the starting 3rd-sacker 112 times, missing 26 straight games beginning in mid-August (injuries? National Guard?). The next season, he shared the job 60/40 with rookie Joey Amalfitano.

In 1961, Davenport lost the starting job to veteran Harvey Kuenn, but regained it by the first of May. 1962 was just the opposite: all Jimmy all the time, until Kuenn split the starts over the last 6 weeks of the season. The Giants won the pennant in '62, and Jim also had a good season: a career-high 14 home runs, his only all-star appearance, and his only gold glove.

Davenport started to get some time at 2nd base in 1963, starting 20 games there, while still serving as the primary 3rd baseman.

With rookie slugger Jim Ray Hart arriving in 1964, Davenport slipped into a utility role, while adding shortstop to his resume. Jimmy D started 38 games at short, 22 at 2nd, and only 16 games at his old stomping grounds. 1965 was more of the same, except that by late May, he was caddying for the newly-acquired Dick Schofield at shortstop, instead of Jose Pagan.

Schofield and Pagan moved to other teams in 1966, and Jim shared the shortstop job with rookie Tito Fuentes. Davenport's fortunes improved beginning in 1967. With Hart shuttling between 3rd base and left field during the '67 and '68 seasons, Davenport played more 3rd base than anytime since 1963.

1969 was his last full season, and he started more games at 3rd base than any teammate, with only youngsters Tito Fuentes and Bobby Etheridge to contend with.

In Jim's final season (1970), he only played 22 games (6 starts), with the last coming on June 23rd. He was released 3 weeks later.

After his playing career, he became a Giants' coach, and managed the team for most of 1985. He also coached for the Phillies in the late 1980s.

1 comment:

rugged breed said...

Jim Davenport makes the braves' fans proud of him by giving his all when playing baseball, he is one of my favorite players of all time and I think he may be one of the most underrated baseball players, go BRAVES!

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