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Former Dodger Willie Davis found dead in Burbank home


July 8, 1964, Maury Wills Former Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Willie Davis was found dead Tuesday morning in his Burbank home, police said. He was 69.

Authorities said that a neighbor who usually brought breakfast to the former baseball star's Victory Boulevard home found Davis' body.

The case is being handled by the Los Angeles County coroner, but authorities said there was nothing to indicate foul play and that it appears that Davis died of natural causes.

Davis, an All-City athlete in several sports at Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights in the late 1950s, became one of the Dodgers' early stars after the team moved to Los Angeles from Brooklyn in 1958. Known for his offense, Davis played center field for the Dodgers for 13 seasons starting in 1961. He hit in a team record 31 consecutive games in 1969 and batted .305 or above three years straight in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

But he also committed a World Series-record three errors in one inning against the Baltimore Orioles in 1966.

Davis left the Dodgers in 1973. His last season in the major leagues was in 1979 with the Angels.

After baseball, Davis made headlines in 1996 when he was arrested at his parents' home near Gardena for allegedly threatening to kill them and burn down the house unless they gave him $5,000. Davis was armed with a set of throwing knives and a samurai sword, officials said.

The Times will have a full obituary later in the day.

The Times' Mike Hiserman offers an appreciation here.

-- Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Willie Davis jumps out of the way as Maury Wills tries to steal home and St. Louis Cardinals catcher Tim McCarver makes the tag. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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Comments () | Archives (26)

God Speed Willie Davis.

Say Hi the The Big Dodger in The Sky.

The 3 Dog! I was there the night he got a hit in the 31st straight game---a hit to left field. A great Dodgers. Great memories.

Wasn't the great Tommy Davis, his brother?

When I was a kid in the 60's I remember Willie running so hard that his cap would fly off... great memories. Thanks Willie.

when i went to the stadium or the playground,i was always
"3 Dog" when i hit the field. Great hitter,covered a lotta
ground in center and one of los angeles "all-time Dodger
greats. We will miss you #3.

The '3-Dog' brought a lot of excitement to us kids that were huge Dodger fans. Willie, Tommy, Maury, Sandy, Don, Lou and Johnny brought it every single day. Even though they had a hard time putting runs on the board, they still managed to win pennants and titles. More than anything they taught us how to play 'Dodger Ball'. Based on fundamentals and dedication to the team concept they and the Yankee's were the models of the day for young ballplayers. RIP Willie and thanks. The guy could fly, and ran fast too.

My dad always spoke highly of him when he played for the Dodgers. A great Dodger, rest in peace.

Willie and Tommy were not brothers. Willie was a tremendous player, thrilling presence on the basepaths.

He wasn't all that, folks. Good grief.

Three errors in one inning, two on the same play. But what a thrill to watch him play.

Run Willie Run!

Check me on this, but I think the picture is Maury scoring (or maybe being tagged out) and 3-dog jumping back out of the way. Should be a better picture of Willie if that's the case.

Willy Davis gets a hit
And Frankie does the same,
Here comes Mr. Howard
With a chance to win the game.
Hit it once!
Big Frank bunts?!?


Cepeda runs to field the ball and Hiller covers first,
Hallah hollers "Hiller",
Hiller hollers "Hallah,"
Hallah hollers "Hiller," points to Miller with his fist,
And that's the Hiller Miller Holler Hallah-luia Twist!


The Davises score, it's four to four,
And Howard's still rounding the bases.
>From second to third, it's almost absurd,
Amazement on everyone's faces.

Having a good time reading these until i got to "kansas girl," RIP Willie Davis.

Willie Dee! I loved watching you play centerfield for the Dodgers all those years: those double-steals when Maury Wills and you set the bases on fire, that time you hit .400 for a few months, the times your cap fell off you were running so fast when Tommy Davis hit a line drive into the gap, and those charges toward second base to pick up a sinking line drive to center, whew! I've still got your autograph, right along Tommy Davis' autograph, in his great book. Much respect and love from a Dodger fan, and may the after-life for you be the best.

Sentimental for my Dad. My Dad Henry "Hank" Torres coached Willie Davis in Little League while working for The Lou Costello Jr. Foundation in 1955. My Dad took my brother to see Willie at a Autograph session at Sears in the 80's and the first thing Willie said was, "Whats up Coach"? My Dad will never forget Him.. He choked back tears when he talked about Him..

"Known for his offense" ? He was a good hitter, but he also won three gold gloves. The 3 errors in one inning was a flukish event. It was a thrill to watch him play.

"And there goes the three dog".... I can still hear Vinny say as Davis would cut loose on the base paths. Great talent.

I was 3-years-old and living in Montreal when Willie was traded to the Expos. He quickly grew on my Uncle (who was a big Expos fan then). Though we traded an eventual Cy Young Award winner in Mike Marshall to get him, Willie did quite well in his one year in Quebec.

RIP Willie

AS A DIE HARD GIANT FAN IN MY YOUTH IN SF MR. DAVIS CAUSED A LOT OF PROBLEMS. USUALLY HE OR MAURY WILLS WOULD GET A HIT STEAL OR SOMEHOW GET TO SECOND, MOVE TO THIRD ON A SACRIFICE AND SCORE ON ANOTHER SACRIFICE OR HIT. WHEN TOMMY CAME UP WITH TWO MEN ON OR THE BASES LOADED I WOULD JUST SHUT THE TV OFF. RIP MR. DAVIS.

He was my favorite Dodger as a young kid growing up in the 60's. Rest in peace, 3 Dog.

Good memories of Willie Davis. So why, in a death notice, do you need to bring up the three errors?

sad, rip!

Willie Davis likely would have joined mates Sandy Koufax,Don Drysdale and
Don Sutton in the Hall Of Fame had he not been unlucky enough to have called
cavernous Dodger Stadium his baseball home from 1960-'73.This massive field,with its airport-distance "power alleys,"perhaps leached five-10 homers from
Davis' and team-mate Frank Howard's stats yearly(when 6'7'',300-lb. "Hondo"
Howard was finally dealt,it was to the second Washington Senators,today's
Texas Rangers,whose RFK Stadium was another chore for sluggers,though Howard had three 40-homer seasons with the Senators.)Throw in Davis run-scarce "pitchers'
era,"his youthful speed and defense,and with optimal conditions for the rangy Ange-
leno,we could be talking "Cooperstown."

"He wasn't all that, folks. Good grief."
Written by a true transplant.

He was a local guy and Vinnie lauded him and that's good enough for this blue blood.

I like the urban legend that the crew over at Roosevelt High lengthened the broad jump pit to 30 feet for Willie's part time practice when baseball practice would allow.

You did not pass away alone.

In the 1958 state CIF track and field championships at East Los Angeles College stadium, Willie Davis of Roosevelt High in Los Angeles was entered in the sprints as well as the broad jump, as it was then called. Willie fouled on his first two jumps, and had only one jump left to make it into the finals. One of the country’s top broad jumpers of the day, Willie was in danger of finishing last in the event, so he made his third and final effort just enough to get him into the finals.
With one jump left in the finals, he still trailed two other jumpers. Before his last jump, Willie strode to the end of the sand pit and placed his Roosevelt jersey at about 27 feet in the sand. He then we back and jumped 25 feet 5 inches, nearly landing on his jersey, and setting a national high school record.

 
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