clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Vic Davalillo, 2-time pennant winner with Dodgers, dies at 84

Vic Davalillo played four years for the Dodgers, and the pinch-hitter had a key bunt single to start a rally in Game 3 of the 1977 NLCS in Philadelphia.
Vic Davalillo played four years for the Dodgers, and the pinch-hitter had a key bunt single to start a rally in Game 3 of the 1977 NLCS in Philadelphia.
Photo: his 1979 Topps baseball card

Vic Davalillo, whose major league career concluded as a veteran pinch-hitter for the Dodgers in the 1970s, died earlier this week at age 84.

The Venezuelan outfielder played 16 years in the big leagues, with his longest stretch coming with Cleveland, for whom he won a Gold Glove and made an All-Star team in his early 20s. Davalillo also played for the Angels, Cardinals, Pirates, and A’s, making the World Series with both Pittsburgh and Oakland, and winning a championship with the Pirates in 1971.

But after getting released by the A’s in 1974, Davalillo played four years in the Mexican League, and won a batting title by hitting .384 for Aguascalientes in 1977.

The Dodgers came calling, and purchased the 37-year-old from the Mexican League in August 1977, adding him to the bench of a pennant contender. His first playoff appearance for Los Angeles came in Game 3 of the NLCS that year, in a tied series and the Dodgers trailing the Phillies 5-3 with two outs and nobody on in the ninth inning.

The pinch-hitter Davalillo laid down a perfect drag bunt to second base, starting one of the most startling rallies in Dodgers postseason history. They rallied to win 6-5 and captured the pennant the next day.

Davalillo was followed in that rally by another pinch-hitter, Manny Mota, who doubled. Those two complemented each other well, with the left-handed Davalillo a perfect bench counterpart to the right-handed Mota.

From 1977-80, Davalillo pinch-hit 95 times, and only started 11 games, all in the outfield, and totaled just 164 plate appearances.

He played on pennant winners with the Dodgers in 1977 and 1978, giving Davalillo four World Series in his career. He had three hits in seven at-bats in the postseason with Los Angeles, all of the infield variety. Davalillo is one of only four Dodgers with multiple bunt hits in the postseason.

In 16 major league seasons for Cleveland, the Angels, Cardinals, Pirates, A’s, and Dodgers, Davalillo hit .279/.315/.364 with 1,122 hits and a 93 wRC+.

Links