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Let's get it straight from the beginning. Eric Davis is not Willie Mays or Henry Aaron or Roberto Clemente. Eric Davis is E. That's it, just E, the single-letter nickname his friends know him by. E's friends are everywhere now, and many of them never saw Mays or Aaron or Clemente. Children who play on scarred inner-city blacktops, manicured suburban lawns and wide-open country fields join E's legions with every sweet, vicious swing of his 32-ounce bat. That's E, as in Everything -- which is what the new Cincinnati Reds star has.
|I met Ralph during spring training in 1986, and I must say he was a breath of fresh air because he was honest and true to his word. From that point on we became very close friends. He was like a big brother to me, and I had the utmost respect for him. He was one of those guys who was very opinionated, but that didn't stop him from being a great listener. And during some of my difficult personal times -- most notably when I got cancer in 1997 -- Ralph was always there for me as great friends always are. Our friendship grew even stronger in 1998 when we spent nearly 3½ weeks together in preparation for the book he wrote about me, "Born to Play." He was an easy guy to talk to, and he helped me in becoming more trustworthy of other reporters. He gave me that sense of security to be more confident in myself when dealing with other people. He was a phenomenal person, and someone I will truly miss.|
|Eric Davis was a budding superstar with speed and power in the late '80s.|
|Willie Mays said he was honored to be compared to Eric Davis.|
|Darryl Strawberry and Eric Davis were teammates in L.A. in the early '90s.|
|Eric Davis won MLB's Roberto Clemente Award in 1997 for his play on the field and his work regarding colon cancer off of it.|
|Eric Davis retired as a San Francisco Giant after the 2001 season.|