Chicago Cubs committed highway robbery in the 1980 Rule 5 Draft

Jody Davis / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images)
Jody Davis / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Jody Davis / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /

When the Chicago Cubs selected catcher Jody Da vis in the 1980 Rule 5 Draft, taking him from the St. Louis Cardinals, they had no idea what they’d done.

Having been born in 1991, I never watched Jody Davis play. His place in Chicago Cubs history had, until pretty recently, gone overlooked on my part. But the lack of baseball or even any semblance of it has me digging through old baseball books, watching classic games and taking leaps off the high dive into the depths of Baseball Reference.

I’d always known Davis’ name. I knew he was a huge part of the 1984 club that won the NL East crown and that, to this day, fans loved him for what he brought to the table during his four-year tenure on the North Side.

But, if I’m being honest, that was about it. I had no idea if the Cubs drafted him, traded for him or simply picked him up as a free agent. I didn’t even know how long he played for Chicago until I looked it up and started compiling my notes for this piece. I can admit that. I specialize in basically the late-1990s through modern day and I’m taking the down time from baseball to, well, learn more about baseball – specifically the Cubs of yesteryear.

Back to Davis.

Originally drafted in the third round by the New York Mets back in 1976, the Gainesville, GA native spent nearly half a decade in the minors. In December 1979, New York shipped Davis to St. Louis for Ray Searage. Almost a year later to the day, the Cubs swooped in during the Rule 5 Draft, adding Davis to their ranks.