Willie Davis Remembered During Dodger Stadium Memorial Service


March 16, 2010

LOS ANGELES — Former Los Angeles
Dodgers center fielder Willie Davis was remembered as an electrifying
on-field presence and a larger-than-life personality in a memorial
service Tuesday at Dodger Stadium.

"I like to believe the president saw
the news and felt a little sadness," his daughter, Kim, said in an
hour-long service, "as did the mailman, the man at the doughnut shop,
the drug addict downtown, and the 45-year-old who remembers the
lightning speed of the 3 Dog."

Davis, 69, spent 14 of his 18
major-league seasons with the Dodgers, and was nicknamed "3 Dog" because
of his greyhound-like speed, or his love of the dog track in spring
training, depending on the telling.

He was part of two championship teams,
won three Gold Gloves and remains the franchise leader in hits (2,091),
extra-base hits (585), at-bats (7,495), runs (1,004), triples (110) and
total bases (3,094). He was found dead in his Burbank home on March 9.

His service brought together several
generations of former Dodgers, including current owner Frank McCourt and
former owner Peter O'Malley. Former players in attendance included
Maury Wills, Tommy Davis, Lou Johnson, Al Downing, Bill Russell, Ken
, Ron Cey, Reggie Smith and Lee Lacy.

"He was the only man I've ever seen
who, when he hit a ball in the gap, the opposing team watched him run,"
Johnson recalled.

Tommy Davis — who was Willie Davis'
roommate on the road and neighbor at home — recalled first meeting his
friend during a 60-yard dash staged in spring training.

"I realized he was fast," Davis said,
"because (pitchers) Johnny Podres and Stan Williams were betting on him —
and those guys knew how to bet."

Margie Myers Escandon, daughter of the
scout who signed Davis, remembered her father Kenny actually "dancing
in the living room," confident the player would become a star.

Davis left the Dodgers in 1973 and
went on to play for the Montreal Expos, Texas Rangers, St. Louis
Cardinals, San Diego Padres and California Angels. He retired after the
1979 season with a career .279 average and 398 stolen bases.

Beyond his on-field play, Davis was
remembered for his deep voice, big laugh and exuberant personality.

"He was one of the most likable
Dodgers," O'Malley said. "The fans liked him. Members of the press liked
him and respected him. Management liked him. He was just a likable
person. He was the best, and I'm going to miss him."

Davis' son, Shonin Casey Davis, said
his father once told him he had more fun in his years with the Dodgers
"than most people have in a lifetime."

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