We were standing around the batting cage at Harbor Park in Norfolk, Virginia. Customarily, during “BP”, the P.A. system at the park plays music. That was the case when Tone-Loc came on and the ’80s hit “Wild Thing” reverberated throughout the yard. If you don’t remember Tone-Loc, he had other hits, lioke “Funky Cold Medina” on his album, “Loc-ed After Dark.” I admit, I bought it. I loved it. As it played in Norfolk, 25 year old Matt Sheely started bopping as he waited for his turn in the cage. I said “Sheels, you weren’t even born when this was a hit.” He replied. “I was born in 1986.” I could picture the infant Matt Sheely rolling around in his crib to the gravelly-voiced rapper. It made me chuckle.
I turned to PawSox hitting instructor Chili Davis, a veteran of 19 seasons in the Majors. Most of his career was spent in southern California as a member of the Angels. “Chili, did you dig Tone-Loc back in the day?” The likeable Davis looked at me like I was from Mars. “Like him?” He asked incredulously. I used to hang out with him, back in the day!” Davis went on to explain that he and Loc (Anthony Terrell Smith) met at a “Lakers party I was at with Magic”. I verified that it was indeed Magic Johnson. Chili told me that they became good friends and spent quite a bit of time together. Loc, he told me, was still doing voice work in animated features and working as a music producer. Ironically, both Tone-Loc and I had the same motto back then. “This is the eighties and I’m down with the ladies.”
That was not the end of Davis’ musical stories. A young boy named Stanley Burrell, who was a good baseball player in SoCal used to hang around Davis. Burrell was also a fledgling musician who would often go to the Davis home and take advantage of the “mixing equipment” that Chili had. “He was good.” Davis said. Burrell never became a baseball player, but he did go on to a musical career as rapper MC Hammer. The young man who went on to stardom with hits like “Can’t Touch This”, learned to ply his trade with Chili. Davis says he has some old cassette tapes at his house somewhere. “If I could ever find those tapes. He recorded a song that I think could have been big. Stanley was a religious kid. A church kid. He recorded a song called “Holy Ghost Boy”. It was good. I’ve got to find that cassette.”
Davis has at least one other musical connection. It’s with the ultra-talented Bruce Hornsby. Davis and a group of his Angels teammates made cameos in Hornsbys’ 1995 video “Walk in the Sun.” Chili, along with Gary DiSarcina, Mark Langston, Rex Hudler, Chuck Finley and others appeared in the video. Hornsby, who claims he is a distant relative of Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby, is a big baseball fun. “Stuff like that was fun.” said Davis.