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 Owen C. Shaw/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Turning into a major force behind the plate

He made his big league debut on April 21, 1981, going 0-for-3 in a blowout loss to the Cardinals. Davis appeared in just 56 contests that year, turning in a .694 OPS and throwing out a staggering 43 percent of would-be base stealers. Now, that was a full 10 percent above the league average – but in a relatively small sample size, you had to take it with a grain of salt.

On the heels of another strong showing in 1982, Davis really put it all together in ’83. In 151 games, the Chicago backstop put up the best single-season OPS of his entire career (.795), courtesy of 24 home runs and 31 doubles. He garnered some MVP votes, finishing 21st in NL balloting – and he was poised for an unforgettable 1984 campaign.

1984 will always live on in the hearts of Cubs fans – for a myriad of reasons. The team looked like legitimate contenders for a World Series crown. Generations of fans believed a near-four decade drought without an appearance in the Fall Classic was, at last, nearing an end.

The team separated itself from the pack in the second half, going on a run that culminated in a National League East division crown. Of course, the now-famous Sandberg Game rocked Wrigley Field that June, when young infielder and future Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg sank the rival Cardinals with his late-game heroics.