Doug Davis Released: A Tribute to the Cubs Starter's Rocky Career in Chicago

Daniel MorrillCorrespondent IJune 29, 2011

Doug Davis was given his unconditional release by the Cubs on Wednesday morning.
Doug Davis was given his unconditional release by the Cubs on Wednesday morning.David Banks/Getty Images

Doug Davis won’t be going into the Hall of Fame as a Cub.

He won’t be going into the Hall of Fame at all, but that’s beside the point.  Davis’ stay on the north side of Chicago ended Wednesday morning, less than 24 hours after he was shelled by the offensively challenged San Francisco Giants for 10 runs on 12 hits.  The Cubs released the soft tossing left-hander to make room for the now-healthy Darwin Barney on the roster.

Davis’ Cub career was an interesting one.  After Chicago lost starters Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner in the first week of the season. Davis was signed as a free agent on April 12 and sent to undergo an extended spring training.

“Obviously, he’s a tough guy,” General manager Jim Hendry said of Davis after signing him.

Whatever that means.

Just over a month later, Davis toed the rubber at Wrigley Field for the first time in a Cubs uniform.  Davis pitched well, giving up only one earned run and striking out six over five innings, but the Cubs committed three errors and lost 3-0.  Chicago fell to 17-21, still very much in contention.  Davis could have some value until the kids got healthy.

But things went downhill from there for the 35-year-old California native.  The series finale the next day was rained out.  The makeup game a month and a half later would be Davis’ last in the red and blue.

Davis won just won game with the Cubs.
Davis won just won game with the Cubs.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Davis’ next start was the first by a Cubs pitcher in Fenway Park since 1918.  He didn’t make it out of the fourth inning, giving up seven runs on eight hits and three walks.  Davis walked six batters in just 4.2 innings his next start against the Pirates, in a performance that would have made Vladimir Guerrero leave the bat on his shoulder.

Two more division losses to Houston and Cincinnati brought Davis’ record to 0-5, and his ERA to 6.38.  Davis left with the lead June 12 against the Phillies, but the usually trustworthy Sean Marshall gave it up in the seventh and Davis did not factor in the decision.

His next start would be his Cubs masterpiece.  The 42,219 people that crammed Wrigley Field on June 17 for the first game of a series versus the Yankees saw Davis go 7.1 innings, giving up just one run on three hits.  Davis walked off the field to a standing ovation.  He should have retired when he stepped into the dugout.

The Cubs went on to win the game 3-1, giving Davis his first win of the season.  Davis’ facial hair was a sign all along of how many wins he would get with the Cubs.

Another shelling at the hands of the White Sox and yesterday’s shellacking by the Giants sealed Davis’ fate.  He hit the free-agent market once again when a second baseman 10 years his younger needed to come off the disabled list.  Davis' career with the Cubs ended at 1-7 with a 6.50 ERA and 1.86 WHIP.

Where Davis will go from here is yet to be seen.  The Cubs could be the last team of his 13-year career, or he could try and walk onto another desperate team next season.  Davis quietly went out there start after start and got hammered, but never called out his teammates or punched a cooler.

So we salute you Doug Davis.  You may not have been the best Cub, but you will be remembered.