|Third baseman / Manager|
August 17, 1933|
|Died: February 18, 2016
Redwood City, California
|April 15, 1958, for the San Francisco Giants|
|Last MLB appearance|
|June 23, 1970, for the San Francisco Giants|
|Runs batted in||456|
|Career highlights and awards|
James Houston "Peanut" Davenport (August 17, 1933 - February 18, 2016) was a Major League Baseball infielder (mostly third baseman) who played his entire career with the San Francisco Giants (1958-1970). The right-handed batter and thrower attended the University of Southern Mississippi.
Davenport grew up in Siluria, Alabama, the hometown of future teammate Willie Kirkland, and not far from Willie Mays' hometown. Growing up, Davenport had wanted to play football for the University of Alabama. However, Davenport married after high school and Alabama had a policy of not recruiting married players. Instead, he earned a football scholarship to the University of Southern Mississippi (then called Mississippi Southern College), where he played quarterback and also joined the baseball team. In 1952 and 1953, he beat an Alabama football team who were quarterbacked both times by Bart Starr. In 1954, Davenport hit .439 for the Southern Miss baseball team, and signed a professional contract with the Giants after the season.
Davenport made his major league debut with the San Francisco Giants on April 15, 1958, taking the team's first at-bat on the West Coast, striking out against Don Drysdale of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Seals Stadium. His best season was 1962, when he batted .297 with 14 home runs and 58 RBIs and made the All-Star team for the only time in his career.
Davenport was known for his fielding, leading National League third basemen in fielding percentage each season from 1959-61 and winning a Gold Glove at third base in 1962. Davenport played 97 consecutive errorless games at third base from July 26, 1966 to April 28, 1968, a record that stood until it was broken by John Wehner in the 1990s.
He played one World Series in 1962, which the Giants lost to the New York Yankees. He had a career batting average of .258 with 77 home runs and 456 RBIs, with 1142 career hits in 4427 at bats. He played in 1501 games in 13 years, the fourth-most in San Francisco Giants history after Willie McCovey (2,256), Willie Mays (2,095) and Barry Bonds (1,976). His 1,130 games played at third base are the most in Giants' history.
After retiring as a player, Davenport managed the minor league Phoenix Giants for three years (1971-73), and then coached in the San Diego Padres organization for two years (1974-75). He returned to the Giants as their third base coach from 1976-82.
Davenport was promoted to manager of the San Francisco Giants in 1985, but was replaced before the end of the season by Roger Craig after compiling a 56-88 record. The 1985 team went on to lose 100 games in the worst season in franchise history (to date, it is also the only time the team has ever hit the triple-digit mark in losses). He then worked briefly for the Philadelphia Phillies (1988), Cleveland Indians (1989), and Detroit Tigers (1991-92). He returned to the Giants organization for good in 1993, and served as the Giants' first base coach in 1996. Overall, Davenport worked in the Giants organization for 51 years in various roles, including player, coach, scout, manager, and a minor-league instructor.
Davenport was inducted into the Southern Miss Athletic Hall of Fame as a quarterback in 1968. He was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 1983. In 2006, Davenport was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.
He married his high school sweetheart, Betty, and had five children, a daughter and four sons. His son Gary Davenport played minor league baseball in the Giants organization and has coached in the Giants' minor league system since 2004. Davenport lived in San Carlos, California and worked in the Giants' front office until his death on February 18, 2016. He is buried in Skylawn Memorial Park near San Francisco. The Giants wore a patch in his memory for the 2016 season, a black circle with an orange outline and his nickname "Davvy" and his number 12, to be worn on the left sleeve, below Monte Irvin's memorial patch.