Finest Farewell to Glenn Davis

Glenn Davis is pictured saying goodbye to a homer on his ’93 Finest baseball card, a card issued in the year that would see Major League Baseball say goodbye to him. Davis spent his childhood growing up alongside fellow-major leaguer Storm Davis, though they were not related. He found success with scouts and was signed by the Houston Astros. He established himself in the mid to late 1980s as a hard hitting first basemen and was able to find his way onto several MVP ballots.

Unfortunately for Davis, he would become one of those players better known for being part of a bad trade rather than for offensive prowess. Davis was traded to the Baltimore Orioles in 1990 for Steve Finley, Curt Schilling, and Pete Harnisch. The deal sent away a future Hall of Famer, a multiple All-Star, and a decent back of the rotation pitcher that combined for 53 MLB seasons in exchange for an infielder expected to hit 40 home runs. Instead, Davis struggled with injuries and topped out with 13 HRs in a season.

To make matters worse, he picked a fight with a man accused of cutting in front of him at a Baltimore bar. Davis was unaware that the man was a boxer, a fact that soon dawned on him as he hit the floor with a broken jaw. A month after returning from his injury he was beaned by a foul ball while sitting in the Orioles’ dugout. A subsequent argument with manager Johnny Oates led to his release. Davis kicked around in Japanese baseball for a few years while seeking a return to an MLB roster. The opportunity never materialized and he retired. Today he owns several hotels and serves on the Columbus, Georgia City Council.

Despite being known as the short straw in a lopsided trade, Davis was a good ball player. He finished his career with a 162-game pace of 30 home runs, a figure equal to the output of Chipper Jones or Mel Ott. Fans measure success relative to initial expectations. To this end, the three “lower-tier” players traded away by Baltimore had low expectations going into the deal while Davis was at the opposite end of the fulcrum. The gigantic outperformance by the other players and a turbulent, injury-riddled tenure for Davis made the gap appear very wide. Orioles fans may not smile when looking at this card, but Astros fans will nod approvingly if they pull one from a pack.

The 1993 Glenn Davis Refractor is a bit harder to find in top condition than other cards in the set. Many are found with microscopic dots in the finish of the left border. The card has sometimes been listed in guides as a short-print, though the only issue with scarcity appears to lie with those capable of being truly classified as gem mint.