Three years in Kentucky didn’t remove New York from Henry Davis’ blood.
“New Yorkers don’t make excuses with stuff like that,” Davis, the Pirates’ top catching prospect, told Sports+ in a recent interview as he discussed growing up as a ballplayer in our four-season region. “Coming from New York, it’s great that other people can play year-round. But having that time off really made me appreciate baseball more when you did get to play.”
Belatedly, it’s a pleasure to pay tribute, and offer some local love, to Davis, the top overall pick in this year’s amateur draft out of Louisville and, prior to that, Fox Lane High School in Westchester. It’s admittedly personal; I’ve known about Davis for a long time thanks to a family connection with his grandfather Dan Schaefer, a performance coach whose client list includes former Jets quarterback Chad Pennington. Schaefer attended the draft, July 11 in Denver, so he got to celebrate in real time with his grandson.
Now 22, Davis became the second straight “1-1” to lead off the draft as a college player after not getting popped at all out of high school, following the Tigers’ Spencer Torkelson. Surprised? Me, too. The Tigers’ Casey Mize (2018) and the Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg (2009) also pulled off this feat relatively recently.