Chris Davis is focusing on the Orioles’ pursuit of a playoff berth right now and not thinking too much about how many homers he will hit this year. But for a few moments yesterday, he did take time to talk about chasing Orioles history and the club’s single-season home run record.
“It is something that is cool,” Davis said. “But our main focus right now is getting into the postseason. Unless those home runs are helping us win games, then they don’t really mean a lot.”
But team history does await. Davis passed Rafael Palmeiro (43 in 1998) for fourth-most by an Oriole and then topped Jim Gentile (46 in 1961) to move up to third on the list. Now with 48 homers, Davis is chasing Frank Robinson (49 in 1966) and Brady Anderson (50 in 1996).
If he can hit at least three homers in the next 20 games, he will have hit more than any Oriole ever.
“I’ve always admired Brady for that - not only to hit that many, but people don’t realize how hard it is the last six weeks of the season, not only to play every day but continue to put up power numbers,” Davis said.
“Your body is tired. Every game is do or die. You are getting pitched, I think, even tougher than you were in the middle of the season. There is just a lot more pressure on you every at-bat. It can take a toll.
“The fact those guys could do that is unbelievable and it is very humbling to even be in the conversation with them. If I could have anywhere close to the career those guys had, I think I’ll be happy. Pretty impressive company to be in.”
How they stack up in at-bats per homer:
10.67 - Davis
11.58 - Anderson
11.76 - Robinson
“I remember both of those guys as winners,” Davis said of the men he still chases. “That is something every player wants to be remembered as. If I can help us get to the postseason, it is all worth it.”
Davis in 2013: Has a .652 slugging percentage and 1.030 OPS.
Anderson in 1996: A .637 slugging percentage and 1.034 OPS.
Robinson in 1966: A .637 slugging percentage and 1.047 OPS.
Davis admits 50, which he now approaches, is a daunting number.
“When people started talking about the home run record in the middle of the season, I never dreamed of hitting 50 or 60 home runs,” he said. “The most I’d ever hit in a season was 40 (in 2008 between the minors and the majors). Regardless whether I get to 50 or hit 55, if we make the postseason, this season will be considered a success for me.”