1984 Fleer #491 - Jody Davis
Looks can be deceiving. Jody Davis was a two time All-Star for the Cubs and a Gold Glove winner. On this card, he just looks like the batboy or the younger brother of a Cubs player. He almost looks like he could've been the inspiration for the Punky Brewster episode where Punky gets to watch the game from the Cubs dugout after Henry gets the wrong tickets from a scalper. Jody almost looks young enough to be down with Punky Power.
Jody Davis was popular in Chicago, but I'm not exactly sure why. Yes, he was a good defender and usually an average batter, but the extraordinary lengths that some of my childhood friends would defend him was mind boggling. I could see Jody winning in a battle against Ron Karkovice. Ron was a good defender, but I'd be lying if I said he was even close to average at the plate. My Cubs fan childhood friends thought Jody was better than Carlton Fisk. He was pretty good, but Davis was definitely not in that league of catchers. It's like saying that Joel Skinner was better than Johnny Bench in 1983 because he was younger and had a slightly higher average.
Any Cubs player on the 1984 team instantly had a following by the Wrigley faithful afterwards. In the same vein, the 1983 White Sox team were regarded in a similar fashion. Of course Ryne Sandberg was the talk of the town for the Cubs, and he definitely deserved all the accolades, but Jody Davis was the name that I heard almost as often. I still hear Jody's name mentioned today by Cubs fans. The love is still there for Davis, often at the expense of Damon Berryhill, his full time replacement.
It was strange seeing Jody in a Braves uniform for the final few years of his MLB career. It was a long, rapid slide for Jody after his Gold Glove winning 1986 season. Based on his association with the 1984 Cubs and his spectacular 1986 season, he has found a place in the hearts of Chicagoans. I would have to say that this is my favorite Cubs card because it shows Jody on the cusp of greatness. The childlike smile and the playful attitude displayed on the card gave no hints about what was on the horizon for Davis and the Cubs, but it looks like the journey would be fun.