#40 - Storm Davis, RHP (1982-1986, 1992)
Storm Davis was drafted by the Orioles in the 7th round of the 1979 amateur draft, a starting pitcher out of high school. He drew early comparisons to Hall of Famer Jim Palmer due to not only his pitching talent but also his dashing good looks. Unfortunately for Davis and the Orioles, he didn't quite turn out like Palmer, but he had several good years for the Birds and was good enough to make our top 40 list.
After spending just over three years in the minors, Davis was called up to the Orioles at age 20, and he made his major-league debut on April 29, 1982. Though he had been a starting pitcher in the minors, he spent most of the '82 season in the bullpen, putting up a 3.49 ERA in just over 100 innings.
From 1983-1986, Davis made 113 starts and pitched 26 complete games for the Orioles, with an ERA of 3.67. His best year with the Orioles was in 1984, when Davis pitched 225 innings with a 3.12 ERA. He was never a strikeout pitcher, with a rate of just 5.1 K/9 from 1982-1986, but he didn't walk many and he didn't give up many home runs. He wasn't an extreme ground ball pitcher but he did trend that way, inducing more ground balls than fly balls in his time with the Orioles.
Davis pitched two games for the Orioles in the 1983 postseason. In the ALCS against the Chicago White Sox he pitched six shutout innings in the deciding game four, a game the Orioles won 3-0 in ten innings. He also started game four of the World Series against the Phillies with five innings pitched and three runs allowed.
On September 3, 1986, Davis was pitching for the Orioles in California against the Angels when he suffered a season-ending injury. While covering first base on a ground ball to the first baseman, Davis hit the bag wrong and tore a ligament in his left ankle. With his future in question due to the injury, the Orioles traded Davis to the San Diego Padres for Terry Kennedy and Mark Williamson. Though he'd been pitching for the O's for five seasons, he was just 24 years old when the trade was made.
It's hard to say if it was because of the injury, but Davis was never the same pitcher after he left the Orioles. He bounced around between five different teams from 1987-1994, putting together an ERA of 4.37 and splitting his time between starting and relieving. Maybe it was the ankle or maybe it was the fact that he didn't have overpowering stuff and it caught up to him, but the best years of his career were definitely the first five of his career.
Davis came back to the Orioles for one year in 1992 and pitched pretty well out of the bullpen. In 48 games for the Orioles he had a 3.43 ERA despite a WHIP of over 1.2 and a walk rate that would make us uncomfortable these days. He pitched two more seasons after that for the A's and the Tigers, and he retired at the young-ish age of 32.
In 944 1/3 innings for the Orioles, Davis racked up a bWAR of 13.3 and an fWAR of 15.8. His 123 games started for the O's ranks 20th all time, and his 202 games is 29th.