I once made Robert Wuhl, the guy who created and played Arli$$, laugh and say “Oh my God, Glenn Davis!”
It is a specific baseball reference but then again, Robert Wuhl is a huge baseball fan who got it.
I will set the stage. It was 1996. I was a brand new comic, doing it for about a year, and trying to get any stage time in New York. I brought enough paying customers to get a spot at Catch a Rising Star one night in October. (It was before Game 2 of the World Series between the Braves and Yankees.)
I remember that detail because the game was on at the bar. The cool thing about Catch a Rising Star, especially for a wide eyed 24 year old Sully, was that some well known people in comedy would sometimes just show up.
This night Robert Wuhl was there. We both were watching the game and I struck up a conversation with him. We started talking about baseball teams and some of the worst trades each made.
Larry Andersen for Jeff Bagwell was brought up. Bob Sykes for Willie McGee was bandied about.
I brought up Curt Schilling, Pete Harnisch and Steve Finley being traded from Baltimore to Houston for Glenn Davis.
Wuhl’s huge grin got wider and he just said “GLENN DAVIS!” really loudly.
The trade was a horrible one for the Orioles. But like all trades, there was a reason to make it.
The Orioles drafted Davis out of high school in 1979 but didn’t sign. Maybe the team coveted him since then. Oddly he grew up with Storm Davis, who is not a relative despite the last name. They played on the same high school team and was close with his parents. Davis would eventually join the Orioles.
While Storm went to Baltimore, Glenn went to Manatee Junior College and was drafted by the Astros.
In 3 1/2 seasons in the minors, Glenn showed he could be a solid home run hitter and an all around hitter. The 23 year old Davis made his big league debut with the 1984 Astros. After spending time in the minors in 1985, he made it back to Houston, this time to stay, and hit 20 homers in just 390 plate appearances.
Now keep in mind, his home park was the Astrodome. That was a BRUTAL park for a home run hitter. But the Astros were appearing to emulate the Cardinals model that worked so well in 1985.
Basically, St. Louis had a bunch of speedsters and line drive hitters who could take advantage of the carpet and artificial turf that was all around the National League. And in the middle of all the jack rabbits, speed and stolen bases, there would be one masher in the middle of the lineup.
Jack Clark played the role of that masher in 1985.
The Astros found their man in Glenn Davis. He made the All Star team in 1986, launched 31 homers and drove in 101 and helped the Astros into the post season. His solo homer was the only run in Houston’s 1-0 Game 1 victory in the NLCS.
In 1987, 1988 and 1989, he continued to play in the cavernous Astrodome and smack homers. An injury plagued 1990 season kept him to only 93 games but he still hit 22 homers in that span. He was the first Astro to hit 20 homers in 5 straight seasons.
The common wisdom was he played for the wrong team. If he played in the American League in a more hitter friendly ballpark, he could flourish. With the Astros fortunes falling, Houston dealt Davis to Baltimore.
Pete Harnisch, Curt Schilling and Steve Finley would all go on to be named to the All Star team. Davis would become a punchline that made Robert Wuhl laugh.
Injuries derailed his 1991 season, the first one in Baltimore. He only played in 49 games and didn’t hit well when he did.
In 1992, he played 106 games but was a nonfactor.
In 1993 he was a total bust, batting .177 in 30 games, breaking his jaw in a bar fight and battled his manager along the way.
He was cut from the team in 1993 and never played in the majors again. After stints in the minor leagues and Japan, his playing days were over after the 1996 season.
Unbeknownst to me while I was sitting with Robert Wuhl, Glenn Davis’ career was wrapping up in Japan.
Since he stopped playing, he got into the hotel business, began charities and got elected to the City Council of Columbus Georgia.
All fine accomplishments to be sure. But the trade was a bust to Baltimore and worth a laugh between your pal Sully and the dude who was Knox in Batman.