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Orioles Slugger Chris Davis Joins Exclusive Club with Historic 50th Home Run

Ely SussmanCorrespondent ISeptember 13, 2013

Major League Baseball is infatuated with round numbers. Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles reached a special one on Friday night with his 50th home run of the year.

Watch him flaunt his opposite-field power with this eighth-inning blast to break a 3-3 tie in an eventual O's victory:

With 15 games left, Davis has already matched Baltimore's franchise record for home runs in a season. Brady Anderson finished with exactly 50 back in 1996.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, the All-Star first baseman just joined another exclusive club:

Chris Davis joins Babe Ruth and Albert Belle as only players in MLB history w/ has 50 HR & 40 2B in a season. (via @ESPNStatsInfo)

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 14, 2013

The stream of Davis-related stats keeps on flowing:

Chris Davis is 7th different AL lefty w/ 50-HR season, joining David Ortiz, Jim Thome, Ken Griffey, Brady Anderson, Roger Maris & Babe Ruth.

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 14, 2013

Chris Davis has one less HR than Astros have wins #GotHeem

— GotHeem (@BWGotheem) September 14, 2013

The baseball world practically revolved around the 27-year-old earlier this summer when he threatened to make a legitimate run at the all-time single-season record. Unfortunately, that's no longer realistic. This most recent round-tripper was only Davis' 13th since the All-Star break and third since September began.

Even if his 2013 totals don't have much historical significance, he's doing awfully well in this era of dominant major league pitching. Baseball-Reference.com shows us that run-scoring (R/G) has been in steady decline.

Notice how few sluggers have topped 50 home runs during the past 10 seasons:

PlayerHRYearAgeTmGPA2BRBIBAOBPSLGOPS
Ryan Howard58200626PHI15970425149.313.425.6591.084
Jose Bautista54201029TOR16168335124.260.378.617.995
Alex Rodriguez54200731NYY15870831156.314.422.6451.067
David Ortiz54200630BOS15168629137.287.413.6361.049
Andruw Jones51200528ATL16067224128.263.347.575.922
Prince Fielder50200723MIL15868135119.288.395.6181.013
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com
Generated 9/13/2013.

Davis is only the seventh one to reach that milestone in the past decade, so it's not even an annual occurrence anymore. Thanks to all those doubles, he owns a .653 slugging percentage, which is virtually identical to Howard's 2006 mark when he slammed 58 homers.

The Orioles also get good offensive production from J.J. Hardy, Manny Machado and Adam Jones, but let's get real—they wouldn't have a pulse in the American League wild-card race without Davis solidifying the middle of the lineup.

Despite this latest triumph, Baltimore (78-69) continues to chase the Texas Rangers, Tampa Bay Rays, Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees in a scramble for the last two postseason berths.  They enter Saturday two and a half games in back of the final wild card spot, held currently by the Rays.

To make the outlook even bleaker, six more games remain against the Boston Red Sox, the AL's most dominant team.

On the bright side, Davis' swing is tailor-made for venues like the Rogers Centre, Fenway Park and Camden Yards. He won't let the O's wilt down the stretch.

 

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