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01/05/2006 3:39 PM ET
Former Cub Davis takes Peoria reins
Fan favorite starts managing career with Class A Chiefs in Midwest
Ex-Cub catcher Jody Davis becomes the latest backstopper to try managing on for size. (Courtesy of Peoria Chiefs)

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The Peoria Chiefs, the Chicago Cubs' Class A Midwest League affiliate, have tapped former National League All-Star Jody Davis to manage the team in 2006.

Davis, who is replacing Julio Garcia as the Chiefs' manager, is one of three new members of Peoria's coaching staff. Barbaro Garbey will serve as hitting coach, while Rich Bombard will take over as pitching coach.

The hiring of Davis marks a triumphant return to the organization for the durable backstop, who played in just under 1,100 games over eight seasons with the Cubs. A favorite of the Wrigley faithful throughout the 1980s, Davis was immortalized in song by announcer Harry Carey during Cubs radio broadcasts. As Davis made his way to the batter's box, Carey would warble "Jody, Jody Davis, king of Wrigley Field" to the tune of the Davy Crockett theme song.

Such memories have many Peoria fans excited for the upcoming season, according to Chiefs Broadcast and Media Relations manager Nathan Baliva. "This is great for the ballclub," he said. "Many Chiefs fans are also huge fans of the Cubs, so they are excited to come out to support Davis. Last year, we broke our record for attendance; in 2006 we are looking to build on that."

Of course, increased attendance was not the primary reason Davis was hired as the Chiefs' new skipper. The 49-year-old, who has no previous managing experience, will be counted on to guide Peoria to a successful season in the Midwest League.

"I've had the itch to manage for three or four years," said Davis at a press conference this week. "I am really excited and really fired up about it. I hope to be a players' guy, you always seem to get more when the players and coaches are all on the same page and working together towards a goal. I will be very intense and want to win as well."

Davis is understandably excited to return to the Cubs organization after an 18-year absence. "The Cubs fans have always supported me," he said. "This is like coming home for me. I'm really looking forward to this season in Peoria."

Garbey returns to the Midwest League after a two-year absence. The 39-year-old last coached for Peoria's Midwest League rival West Michigan, a Tigers affiliate, in 2003. Bombard, the brother of Phillies first-base coach Marc Bombard, is new to the Cubs' organization after stints within the Tigers, Red Sox and Angels Minor League systems.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.