CINCINNATI -- Even seven years after his retirement, Eric Davis looks like he could still play ball at a high level.
Davis recently made two cameo appearances in a Reds uniform to help the retooling team in an advisory role with its younger players. Now 46, he was as lean and trim as during his 17 seasons as a Major League outfielder from 1984-2001 with the Reds, Dodgers, Tigers, Orioles, Cardinals and Giants.
"There are a whole variety of things you can share when you've been in the game as long as I have," Davis said.
Could this stint with Cincinnati be a prelude to a new career in coaching? Davis appeared open to the notion.
"I'm interested in doing whatever is going to help bring this team back to where it should be," Davis said. "If that's coaching, so be it. If it's consulting or player development, whatever role I can play that would be intricate in helping the development of these players and getting this organization back to the championship caliber it deserves."
Recently, Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told MLB.com that Davis would be a roving instructor in 2009.
Davis, whose best years were spent with the Reds from 1984-91, knows all about what it takes to reach the highest caliber. He was a member of the 1990 World Series-winning team, which remains Cincinnati's last championship. Individually, he was also a two-time All-Star, a three-time National League Gold Glove winner and two-time Silver Slugger recipient.
In 1986, Davis hit 27 homers and stole 80 bases to join Rickey Henderson as the only two players in history to post a "20-80" season. He became a "30-30" man in 1987 when he hit .293 with 37 homers, 100 RBIs and 50 steals. In 1989, he knocked in a career-best 101 RBIs and hit 34 homers.
Injuries and bad luck derailed Davis from maintaining his high level of production. He never played more than 135 games in a season and he was eventually traded to the Dodgers in 1991. In 1994, a herniated disc forced him into an early retirement, but the hiatus lasted only a year as Davis returned to the Reds in 1996 and hit 26 homers.
With the Orioles in 1997, Davis was diagnosed with colon cancer and while recovering from surgery and undergoing chemotherapy, became an inspiration for cancer survivors everywhere by returning early from the illness and resuming his career.
"As long as I'm here, I've got a chance. It's been 11 years, knock on wood," Davis said. "I will always be part of that fraternity. It's not something you start and stop. It's like when you pledge in a fraternity, you don't stop. I didn't pledge. I was drafted in. I'll never stop being part of that fraternity."
Davis has not been formally connected to baseball since retiring with 282 career home runs in 2001. He maintains his home in his native Los Angeles and has chosen to make the second chapter of his life a diverse one.
"I do a little bit of everything," Davis said. "I'm an entrepreneur. I do real estate. I'm in music. I do a lot of different things. I enjoy different challenges."
Only recently did Davis begin dabbling in baseball again. Inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame in 2005, a re-connection to the franchise was not truly forged until 2006 when new owner Bob Castellini sought to recruit stars from the past to reinvigorate a club that has endured years of losing.
Castellini reached out to Davis, who appeared the past two years as a special instructor during Spring Training.
Davis found that his ties to the Reds remained strong, even in retirement.
"They're probably about as deep as you could imagine," he said. "When you spend 11 years with one organization, it becomes your background."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.