William “Specs” Davis

Born on December 13, 1914 in Donaldsville, Louisiana, William Davis became one of the top softball pitchers and home run hitters of the Pioneer Era. William attended Douglas Elementary and Phillips High School in Chicago. Besides playing for the Gas House Gang, his softball career also found him as the pitcher on Dr. Goss’ Collegians, Link Belt and the equally famous Brown Bombers, a team created from the Dawson Boosters and the Gas House Gang. Davis’ tenure with Link Belt, a company he worked at for 26 1/2 years, led to the 1948 championship of interleague play between the ball clubs representing the many steel companies of that day. “Sweetwater” Clifton, Dan Dumas, Paul (PG) Vanmeter, Andy Nesbitt, and Big Bubba are some of the teammates of Davis’. William’s pitching was characterized by hesitation, the speed of the ball, amazing accuracy, and the curve that Davis could put on the ball. Many hitters were mesmerized by these factors and by the accuracy of a pitcher who wore glasses. These glasses earned Davis the nickname “Specs”. Besides being a great pitcher, Davis was also referred to as the “Colored Babe Ruth” because of his towering homeruns. William Davis was an accomplished athlete in many other areas. He boxed on amateur night at the Savoy Ballroom and was a member of the ABC Bowling Congress, amassing many trophies and carrying a 198 average as a bowler in the Chicago area. Articles on “Specs” Davis can be found at the Chicago Historical Society. Besides working at Link Belt, William Davis also worked as a butcher, a government map maker, and a timekeeper for the WPA. William left a legacy of so many children and grandchildren that they could have started their own softball league. Many of his grandchildren have played with or against such athletic greats as Dick Butkus, Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, and Michael Jordan. William Davis left a legacy as an accomplished athlete, wonderful father and devoted husband. Since Deceased.