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Earlier this week, it was Chris Davis Day at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, with the O’s celebrating the breakthrough season of first baseman by giving away bright orange T-shirts emblazoned with the unmistakable silhouette of Baltimore’s current favorite son as he cracks yet another ball over the outfield wall.
After spending the early years of his career bouncing between the Texas Rangers minor and Major league teams, Davis was traded to the Orioles in 2011, becoming an everyday player in time to experience the team’s 2012 rise and run at the playoffs before exploding this summer. As of this writing, he leads the American League in home runs, slugging and OBPS (on-base plus slugging), and has been alternating the lead in batting average and on base percentage with a handful of other players, including last year’s Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera and fellow Oriole Manny Machado.
But what, pray tell, does this have to do with comics?
Early this season (or possibly late last season), Orioles announcers christened Davis “The Hulk” due to his unnatural strength when swinging the bat. Officially, the Orioles have pushed the more trademarkable nickname “Crush” Davis, obviously, but fans and WBAL’s on-air radio team have continued to use “Hulk” as shorthand for the affable player. As recently as Wednesday night, the cameras tracking the fans at the ballpark focused in on this sign as they went to commercial between innings:
While the O’s and Major League Baseball are seemingly uninterested (for now, at least) in signing a cross-promotional deal with Marvel, they realize Davis’ comics-style appeal is a very real thing, evidenced by the Vine video promotion posted early this month, not to mention the obvious Superman call-out of the giveaway shirt’s design:
And the potential Gold Glove candidate certainly lived up to his comic book nickname on his t-shirt night, helping the home team come back from a 6-2 deficit to win the game 9-6, thanks in part to Davis crushing another two homers in the game — a poetic number 18 and 19 for No. 19.