Slugger Chris Davis announced his retirement Thursday, ending a career in which he became one of baseball’s most prodigious home run hitters before his production declined amid injury problems during his final seasons with the Baltimore Orioles.
Davis, 35, was going to miss the entire 2021 season after surgery in May to repair the labrum in his left hip. He had not played since Baltimore’s spring training opener in February.
“After an extended time dealing with my injury and recent hip surgery, I informed the Orioles about my decision to retire effective today,” Davis said in a statement released by the team. “I want to thank the Orioles partnership group, led by the Angelos family, the Orioles organization, my teammates and coaches. … Thank you all for the many memories that I will cherish forever.”
Next year was the final season of Davis’ seven-year, $161 million contract.
Davis led the majors with 53 home runs in 2013 and 47 in 2015. He finishes his career with 295 in 13 seasons with the Orioles and Texas Rangers.
“The Orioles support Chris Davis as he retires from baseball today,” the team said in a statement. “We thank Chris for his 11 years of service to the club, to Orioles fans, and to the Baltimore community.”
A powerful left-handed hitter at 6-foot-4, Davis was a crucial part of Baltimore’s best run since the 1990s. He helped the Orioles reach the postseason in 2012, 2014 and 2016, although he did not play in the playoffs in 2014, when the team made it to the American League Championship Series.
Davis was suspended for 25 games late in that 2014 season for testing positive for Adderall, a banned amphetamine. He later said he had been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder previously and been given a therapeutic use exemption for Adderall, but he did not have the exemption in 2014.
Davis’ free-swinging ways could lead to high home run and strikeout totals and low batting averages. He hit .196 with 26 homers in 2014 and .221 with 38 homers and a major-league-leading 219 strikeouts in 2016 — the first year of his big contract.
After that, his numbers sank quickly, along with the team’s fortunes. He hit .168 in 2018 and went through an 0-for-54 streak in 2019. Davis hit .115 over 52 at-bats last year and twice went on the injured list with knee problems.