Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

Orioles' Chris Davis and wife Jill donate $3 million to Maryland children's hospital

On Monday, the University of Maryland’s Children’s Hospital received a gift of $3 million from Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis and his wife, Jill. It is the largest donation ever from a Baltimore sports figure to the hospital and was given to help fight congenital heart disease.

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Chris and Jill Davis’ gift will fund the expansion of a state-of-the-art pediatric hybrid catheterization and operating room. The project will cost $10 million in total, but the gift moves its timeline for completion up from several years to 18-24 months.

Once it’s completed, it will be named after Evelyn Kay Davis, the couple’s daughter who was diagnosed with a ventricular septal defect in January 2018. The condition resolved naturally and Evelyn is now medically cleared.

“We already had a soft spot for the hospital and the kids and the families that we’ve met that are in the hospital every day, and that just made it more realistic to us,” Davis told The Baltimore Sun. “It gave us a better appreciation for what they go through. We experienced it on a very small scale, but it was enough.”

Largely due to his involvement with the children’s hospital, Davis is a three-time nominee for MLB’s Roberto Clemente Award given annually to a player heavily involved in community outreach. Davis knows that Christ calls him to give back to those around him.

Christ came into Davis’ life when he was 24 and already in the majors. It was a long process, but he finally realized that Jesus was who He said He was.

“I believe what the Bible teaches is true,” Davis said in a video for The Increase earlier this year. “I believe that Christ is the Son of God, and I believe that He died on the cross for our sins and rose from the grave.”

Davis has experienced God’s love and wants every child who comes through the doors of the children’s hospital to understand that God loves them too.

“He wants you the way He made you, the way He created you in all your uniqueness driven and led by Christ,” he said.

Davis, 33, has called Baltimore home since being traded there from the Texas Rangers in 2011. He ended his 12th major-league season in 2019 with 55 hits, 12 home runs and a .179 batting average. The season began in the midst of a hitting slump that eventually reached 0 for 54. The slump began on September 14, 2018, and only ended with a 3-for-5 performance on April 13. It was the longest hitless streak for a position player in MLB history and a far cry from Davis’ 2013 showing, in which he hit a league-leading 53 home runs and generated MVP consideration.

Yet whether he’s remembered for his successes or his failures on a baseball field, Davis knows that it is God who will always give him strength.

“You have the strength that no one in the world can match,” Davis said in The Increase video. “You have the strength of God inside you.”

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