Kiddo Davis very nearly had one of the most notable short careers in baseball history.
The Connecticut-born Davis made his name as an amateur player as a star third baseman in high school. He later briefly left high school to work, but eventually returned when he realized he would need his high school degree to get a college baseball scholarship.
Davis was ineligible to play in regular high school games due to being older than the other competitors. He was allowed to play in exhibitions, however, and it was during one of those where he was noticed by the baseball coach at NYU. Davis got a baseball scholarship for the school and went on to have a standout career at NYU.
As his college career was winding down, several major league teams were interested in Davis. Paul Krichell, the scout who found Lou Gehrig, got Davis to sign for the Yankees in 1926. Not long after signing, Davis was sent to play with the Yankees while they were on a road trip.
On June 5, 1926, the Yankees were losing big in the late inning in a game against Cleveland. Davis was sent in to play the outfield in the bottom of the eighth inning. The player he replaced in right field was Babe Ruth. His first taste of major league baseball was coming in for Babe Ruth. The Yankees went down in order in the top of the ninth and Davis never recorded an at bat.
Davis didn’t play in another game in the rest of the road trip, and was sent to the minors shortly after his debut. For the rest of that season, Davis put up solid numbers in the minors, but didn’t get the call back to New York.
That would be the story of Kiddo Davis for the next couple seasons. Every year he would put up solid numbers in the minor leagues, but not get a chance back in New York. It’s understandable why. The Yankees of the late 20s and early 30s were pretty good. There just weren’t spaces, especially in the outfield.
After hitting a combined 47 home runs in 1930-31, the Phillies took notice of Davis and finally gave him another shot in the majors. His second major league game came on April 12, 1932, nearly six years after his first.
After that, Davis did go on to have a fairly long major league career, playing for seven years from 1932-38. He was part of a couple pennant winning teams, and went 7-18 with the Giants when they won the World Series in 1933.
Weirdly, Davis is arguably less known than he would be had he only played in the one game. Luckily for him, he did make it back to the major leagues, but that does ruin a potential fun fact of a player replacing Babe Ruth in his only career game.