Crash Davis

Crash Davis

    Bull Durham
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Living… in Durham, N.C., brought in by the Durham Bulls to mentor star pitching prospect Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh. Crash has little patience for Calvin’s thick head, but he gives him good advice. Such as, “Think classy, be classy,” and the immortal “Never hit a drunk with your pitching hand.” Crash knows that becoming a successful pro ballplayer and becoming a man go hand-in-hand.

Profession… minor league catcher at the tail end of a 12-year career. In those dozen years as a pro, Crash has spent a grand total of 21 days in the majors. Or as he wistfully puts it, “The 21 greatest days of my life.” Crash is close to breaking the all-time minor-league home run record when he joins up with the Bulls, but even the possibility of (small-time) glory does not diminish the fact that he will forever be an anonymous, after-thought minor leaguer. In his own words, he’s “the player to be named later” rather than a star.

Interests… drinking scotch and hitting dingers.

Relationship Status… single, for now. Though Crash is quite the romantic. He expresses interest in sexy Bulls groupie Annie Savoy, but when she announces that she’s choosing between him and Calvin, Crash promptly removes himself from the running. Still, she yells out “Crash!” when making love to Calvin; Crash obviously lingers in her subconscious. And why not – he’s the kind of man’s man who can undo a woman’s garter with the flick of a finger.

Challenge… passing along his wisdom to the seemingly hopeless Calvin while having one last summer in the sun. Crash realizes he’s facing an existential crisis. He’s struggling to come to terms with his diminishing physical abilities and with his imminent retirement. What will he be, if not a ballplayer? He knows he is a ballplayer at heart, that there is nothing else that fills his body and soul like baseball. Calvin is the opposite in that he barely thinks about anything, which is why he infuriates Crash. Calvin, for all his prodigious physical gifts, doesn’t truly care about the game. Not yet, anyway. And it’s Crash’s job to change that.

Personality… confident, world-weary, sarcastic, and a man with a code. Specifically, the code of baseball. He strongly believes strikeouts are boring and fascist, groundouts are democratic. And if you’re on a streak, don’t change anything you’re doing. As Crash tells Calvin, “Be cocky and arrogant, even when you’re getting beat. That’s the secret. You gotta play this game with fear and arrogance.”


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