Detroit Tigers: Rajai Davis Memorable Moments


For two years, Rajai Davis played the outfield, hit in clutch situations, and stole bases with the Detroit Tigers. Now, those days are over. The 35-year-old Davis signed for one year with the Cleveland Indians for $5.25 million and some extras. Even though Davis did not play on a daily basis for the Tigers, he had some of the most memorable moments with the team during his tenure.

Apr 11, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Detroit Tigers left fielder Rajai Davis (20) is forced out at home plate by Cleveland Indians catcher Yan Gomes (10) in the ninth inning at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

One of Davis’s best moments was in June of 2014. In the bottom of the ninth inning against the Oakland A’s, Davis walked up to the plate with the bases loaded. Nick Castellanos, Alex Avila, and Austin Jackson were on base. Sean Doolittle was pitching for the A’s. On television, the announcers commented on how hard it is to get hits and runs off of Doolittle. Then, Davis hit a home run to win the game. This was his first walk-off grand slam. For many fans, this was the best hit of the entire 2014 season.

Early in the 2015 season, against the Indians, Davis accidentally created another memorable moment. The speedy Davis was sliding into home, but Yan Gomes was covering the plate in a first-baseman-like stretch. The two men collided. Gomes suffered an MCL strain that kept him out for several weeks. Now the two men will be teammates. Fortunately, the slide was determined to be a clean one, so their new relationship as teammates should not be problematic.

Later in 2015, Davis showed his prowess on defense. Standing at only 5’9, Davis is a much bigger presence than his size suggests. In a home game against the Chicago Cubs, catcher David Ross hit a ball that by all means should have gone over the fence. But, Rajai Davis was covering center field that day. He outran Yoenis Cespedes who was in left field that day and practically scaled the wall to rob Ross of a home run. Davis’s play was one of the top defensive plays in all of baseball.

Jun 9, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers center fielder Rajai Davis (20) leaps up onto the wall to makes a catch of a ball hit batting Chicago Cubs catcher David Ross (3) in the second inning at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

In what would be his last great moment with the Tigers, Davis hit another walk off in September of 2015. The team was playing the Tampa Bay Rays. The bases were loaded in the 13th inning when Davis came to bat. The game felt just like the one against the A’s and Davis handled the pressure with his normal grace. He hit a sacrifice fly off of Andrew Bellatti. Of course, in classic Rajai Davis style, he was grinning from ear to ear.

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He finished his time in Detroit with a .272 batting average and a .732 OPS. He hit 16 home runs in two seasons and 81 RBIs. He stole 54 bases while wearing his trademark big blue sliding oven-mitt-like glove. Davis was a fan favorite in Detroit and he will certainly receive a warm welcome when he returns to Comerica Park in 2016.