When Alvin Davis won Rookie of the Year in 1984, I hadn’t even been born. The house I grew up in my entire life had not yet been built. My parents were dating, but they hadn’t married. I think my dad had a tarantula in his coffee table. That used to be a thing, I think. Like having an aquarium or terrarium built into your coffee table. Or maybe my dad was just a freak. Who the fuck knows what was going on in the early 80’s anyway? I bunch of weird shit, would be my guess. But before I slip into an existential stupor, imagining a world in which I did not exist—Alvin Davis! We’ll get to the smashing shirt that I purchased online in a second, but this is as good an opportunity as I can think of to spend a few minutes examining the career of Mr. Mariner.
He was Rookie of the Year in 1984! Good for him. A quick browsing of some WAR leaderboards suggests it was probably the correct choice. It’s so nice when that actually happens. He smacked 27 home runs with a .387 wOBA in 152 games, while playing what we can probably assume was decent to slightly above average defense at first base, culminating in 5.8 fWAR. Something I was not aware of is the fact that he competed for votes with fellow teammate Mark Langston, who pitched quite well for 225 innings, compiling 4.4 WAR and landing second overall. That’s kind of neat! It was probably really fun to be a Mariners fan in 1984. Or at least it would appear that way. Little did they know it would take more than a decade for the team to accomplish anything of real historical significance. Ha, Mariners—always zigging when you expect them to zag.
Davis went on to play 8 more years in the big leagues, putting up 3 or 4 more respectable seasons before he just kind of stopped hitting. He joined the Angels, he got released. He played in Japan for 40 games. That must have been wild. It’s rather interesting to consider that the best year of Davis’ entire career was his first. We can usually expect 24 year old baseball players to improve for a few years as they mature and gain big league experience, especially talented Rookie of the Years like Alvin Davis. It just didn’t happen for him. I bet that’s not what he and a lot of other people expected to happen in 1984. Maybe he was battling injuries that are too annoying and time-consuming for me to look up right now—this is a post about a T-shirt, after all—but you can’t deny that Al Davis had one heck of a sort of interesting career arc.
And so I bought this Alvin T-Shirt the other day. My wife found it online and sent it to me, and it was like 12 dollars plus a reasonable shipping charge so I bought it. For the record, that’s not me or my tattoos in the above picture, nor is it my brick wall that the model is standing in front of—that just wouldn’t make any sense. A number of things appeal to me about this T-shirt. First, it’s a Mariners shirt, so it has that going for it. Second, it’s old, one might even call it “vintage” if they wanted to be an asshole about it, and I’m a sucker for vintage memorabilia depicting the old logos of Seattle sports teams. I’ve always wished that the teams around here had stuck with just one logo, and avoided the marketing panic of countless silly redesigns. Teams with really classic aesthetics either started with a great thing and didn’t fuck with it, or they stubbornly refused to change until their logo became ubiquitous—we could have at least pulled off the latter. Finally, there’s the name Davis prominently displayed on the front of the shirt. That just so happens to be my last name. For some reason, I enjoy clothing with my last name on it. It gives me the narcissistic pride of supporting my heritage and ancestors without having to resort to something more permanent. Maybe it comes from my father and grandfather operating their own businesses under the family name all my life. Maybe I’m just a weird person. To that end, when I was in 5th grade, even though I was a Seahawks fan, I made my mom buy me a Terell Davis Broncos jersey, and I wore it a lot. It had Davis written on the back of it! It was like it was my very own NFL jersey! This probably says a lot about me and my brain and my overflowing sense of entitlement and ego, but let’s save that for another day and just agree that this Alvin Davis T-shirt was a good investment.