Baltimore Orioles: Eric Davis & Trey Mancini Cancer Stories
As Baltimore Orioles fans rally around Trey Mancini, many look back and remember what happened with another O’s outfielder in 1997.
Eric Davis played for the Baltimore Orioles for two seasons, 1997 and 1998. But the seasons were unforgettable. Like Trey Mancini, he was an outfielder with a big bat who was a popular with the fans.
While playing for the O’s in May of ’97, he started experiencing stomach pains which were strong enough to keep him from playing. After the didn’t go away, he visited John Hopkins University where they ran some tests and discovered the pain was due to a tumor in his colon.
At the time of the diagnosis, Davis was just turning 35 years old. While that is a young age to be diagnosed with cancer, Mancini is even younger, at only 28. According to the Cleveland Clinic, more young people are developing the disease, with many newer patients being diagnosed between the ages of 40 and 49.
Davis underwent surgery in June to remove a section of his colon. While this might end many professional careers, it didn’t end his. He returned to the field for eight games in September. And, he didn’t just come in for a few appearances, he played like a seasoned professional. His batting average during those eight games was an impressive .310/.333/.448 with a home run and a pair of doubles. He also played in the post-season, helping the team defeat the Mariners in the ALDS.
Cancer did not stop Eric Davis. It only paused him for a few months.
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He returned to play for the Orioles in 1998 where he had one of the best seasons of his career. In his younger years with the Cincinnati Reds, he went to some All-Star Games, won Gold Gloves and Silver Sluggers, and received some MVP votes. But, in 1998, he hit .327/.388/.582. His OPS+ at age 36 was a notable 151. At age 25, he had a slightly higher OPS+ of 155, due to his slash of .293/.399/.593. But, he didn’t do that with part of his colon missing, and a large scar on his abdomen.
Davis only played for the O’s for two seasons, then he moved on to play two seasons for the St. Louis Cardinals. He finished his career at the end of the 2001 season after playing for the San Francisco Giants.
Mancini isn’t the first Orioles player to have a health issue get in the way of his playing career. He won’t be the last. Mancini has a family history of the disease, as he shared in his piece in the Players’ Tribune. With all that Mancini has going for him, O’s fans should expect to see the young outfielder lace up his cleats and don his Birdland gear in the near future.