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Cubs unsung heroes: Taylor Davis, May 4, 2019

Perhaps the most unlikely player of all to be in this series.

Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Apart from Ryan O’Malley, is there any Cubs hero less likely to be so than Taylor Davis?

I mean, Davis was extremely unlikely to even be a major-league player. He was drafted by the Marlins in 2008 in a round that doesn’t even exist anymore (49th)... and they didn’t sign him. The Cubs signed him three years later as an undrafted free agent. He spent seven years in the Cubs system before getting even one MLB at-bat.

Davis got a couple of September callups, in 2017 and 2018, and went 5-for-18. He was only on the Cubs’ 25-man roster in 2019 because of an injury to Victor Caratini. Willson Contreras had started all but one of the Cubs’ 19 games before Saturday, May 4, so Joe Maddon figured it would be a good day to give Willson a break. Davis started the game (he’d also started the other one Willson skipped in that stretch). It was just his third big-league start behind the plate.

The Cubs took a 1-0 lead and then the bottom fell out. The Cardinals scored a run in the second on a Jose Martinez homer, then another in the third helped by a stolen base off Yu Darvish and Davis and three more St. Louis runs came across the plate in the fourth.

But the Cubs loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth with one out, trailing 5-1, and up stepped Davis. He was 0-for-4 for the season at the time.

Well, you know what happened [VIDEO].

I don’t have a complete list of Cubs grand slams, but I’d have to think that’s perhaps the most unlikely slam in franchise history. Not only was it hit by a player you’d never think could do that, it had a huge impact on the game. Now things were tied 5-5. You might not remember exactly how the Cubs won that game because Davis’ slam overshadowed it, but here’s the game-winning hit, an eighth-inning homer by Javier Baez [VIDEO].

You’ll see in the video that a dropped foul ball off Javy’s bat was challenged. The Cubs lost the challenge — there’s no way there was any definitive video evidence. It all worked out when Baez homered and the Cubs won 6-5.

Taylor Davis was a popular Iowa Cub, too:

Davis was in spring camp with the Baltimore Orioles this year. He played in 14 spring games and went 3-for-12 (.250) with three walks. He’s got a fair chance to make the Orioles roster as a backup catcher, but I hope the Cubs bring him back into the organization when he’s done playing. He’ll make an excellent coach or manager.

And he has one superlative memorable moment from his big-league career.