Chris Davis' breakout season reached a milestone Friday night when he connected for his 50th home run off Toronto Blue Jays' All-Star Steve Delabar. In reaching the 50 home run plateau, Davis tied Brady Anderson for the Orioles single-season franchise record, which was set in 1996. He's also the first player in MLB to hit 50 in a season since Jose Bautista launched 54 in 2010 and just the 42nd player in history to do it.
In the bigger picture for Baltimore, No. 50 could not have come at a better time. Losers of three straight coming in, the eighth-inning solo shot gave the O's a one-run lead in what became a 5-3 victory. Needless to say, they needed this win because it allowed them to keep pace with the wild-card leading Tampa Bay Rays and gain a game on the New York Yankees.
Not surprisingly, that's where Davis' focus was after the game. That, and would he get the milestone ball returned from the Rogers Centre crowd? Davis wasn't very optimistic about his chances when asked in the clubhouse immediately following the game:
"I think this is probably a tough crowd to get a ball back. I didn't see the ball get thrown back, but hopefully we can rustle it up."
Good news, Mr. Davis. A group of Orioles fans who made the trek to Toronto had your back, and actually purchased it from the Blue Jays fan who caught it. Their fee?
Bunch of Oriole fans paid $100 to get the ball from a Blue Jays fan and present it to Davis. Groups… http://t.co/2ZztGnwyTn
— Brittany Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) September 14, 2013
How cool is that? My hat is off to those fans for making an already memorable night for Davis even more so through their dedication and kindness. I'm sure the Orioles will make sure that dedication and kindness is repaid in kind, so this is sure to be a win-win situation for all involved. Davis was happiest about the home run coming in a pennant race. From the Associated Press:
''It's nice to have personal goals and to reach your own goals but when the team is winning and you are successful, it makes it that much sweeter,'' Davis said. ''It was big to come from behind and get the win.''
Davis might be a team-first guy, but we're all about the numbers right now.
After delivering homers in each of his first four games this season, Davis settled into a 60 home run pace throughout the summer months. He only fell off that pace after suffering a two-week drought bridging August and September. He still has at least 15 games remaining (tiebreakers pending) to add his total, but barring a remarkable hot streak he likely won't challenge what he considers to be the all-time home run record of 61 set by Roger Maris in 1961.
Here are some other interesting Chris Davis numbers to look at courtesy of Orioles Insider:
• His most prolific home run month was June when he hit 12.
• Davis has hit 13 first-pitch home runs.
• His 27 home runs at Camden Yards match Frank Robinson's club record for home games, set at Memorial Stadium in 1966.
• Friday night's home run was only his sixth while hitting third. He's hit 38 while batting fifth in Baltimore's order.
• Davis joined Babe Ruth and Albert Belle as the only players in history with a 50-homer and 40-double season.
In many seasons Davis' numbers would make him a run away MVP. That won't be the case this season with Miguel Cabrera putting up absurd numbers while playing through numerous injuries, but Davis certainly deserves consideration.