It’s impossible to separate the two biggest loves of Storm Davis’ life. Baseball and his wife Angie have been connected to the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp pitching coach for over 40 years, and neither of his torrid romances show any sign of slowing down.

 

An hour before game time Wednesday night of the Jumbo Shrimp home opener against the Chattanooga Lookouts, there was Davis in the coaching office looking at video, seeking any possible tip that might help one of his pitchers gain an edge to get one step closer to the big leagues.

Then a few moments later, the two-time World Series champion pitcher was giving Angie a goodbye smooch behind home plate as he headed off to begin his night’s work.

At 55-years-old, Storm is still smitten with the girl he met in fifth grade at University Christian School, took on their first date to see the 1977 Disney movie “Pete’s Dragon,” and married her when both were 18. After four decades, they remain committed to taking this epic baseball journey together.

Angie and Storm tied the knot one year into his pro baseball career, just before he left for instructional league in 1980. Three years later, he was the winning pitcher in a World Series game for the champion Baltimore Orioles and went on to win 113 big-league games over 13 seasons.

“When you’re a major league player’s wife, you’re basically a shadow, but she’s never complained one time,” said Storm. “That’s one of the reasons I’m in love with her. I couldn’t have picked anybody better to take this ride with me. Nobody.”

And it’s been quite a ride. While raising five kids – three biological children in Zach, Caleb and Erin, plus becoming legal guardians for Justin and sister Stephanie when they were in high school – Storm and Angie have never been able to put the baseball part of their lives in the rear-view mirror.

After retiring in 1994 and being employed by five different major-league clubs, Storm continues to immerse himself in the game. He served as a head coach at both Trinity Christian and The Bolles School, where his team won state championships in 2009 and ’10, then moved into pro ball the last seven years as a pitching coach for three organizations.

And for many of Storm’s road trips, excluding plane flights with the Triple-A New Orleans Baby Cakes last year, he has traveled separately from the team in his Toyota Highlander or Siena van with Angie in tow.

In 2011, oldest son Zach told his father that he needed to take his teaching skills to a higher level than high school. Storm didn’t give it much thought until a few months later when the Texas Rangers offered him a job as their pitching coach with the Class A Hickory (N.C.) Crawdads.

“Dad was talking about staying at Bolles, and I told him you’re not living up to your full potential, that he could be teaching at a higher level,” said Zach, a 31-year-old high school football coach in West Virginia. “It was interesting, a son giving the father advice. I didn’t know he would take it so much to heart.”

Storm only took the pro coaching job on one condition: Angie had to come along on road trips. He didn’t want to live the minor-league life being separated from her half the time. Though empty-nest parents, mom and dad wanted to make sure the four kids still living in the Jacksonville area would approve.

Zach and his siblings reminded them they were independent people with their own family lives. They didn’t need mom and dad within an arm’s length all the time.

So off Storm and Angie went. First, to live in Hickory, then back to Florida with the Daytona Cubs (2013), followed by the Double-A Tennessee Smokies (2014-15) and New Orleans last year. Davis was supposed to work in Jacksonville, but the Florida Marlins shipped him to Triple-A after spring training broke when the pitching coach there abruptly resigned.

“We drove the Southern League when I was with the Smokies and had a blast,” said Storm.

Now Team Davis is back home with the Jumbo Shrimp, ready to begin another season of driving – except for July when Angie stays home as Erin gives birth to a fifth grandchild – through the SL and staying at their Oakleaf residence when the team is at home.

Angie has attended games in about three dozen minor-league ballparks since 2011, playing GPS navigator when it’s time to hit the road. More than a quarter century after Storm won 19 games for the 1989 World Series champion Oakland A’s, the couple keeps going wherever baseball takes them, be it Hagerstown (Md.), Jackson (Miss.) or Albuquerque.

“I wouldn’t change a thing,” Angie said. “It’s quality time. We made a commitment a long time ago to be there for each other. I look at this as an adventure. We started the two of us without kids, and now we’re back to being the two of us again. I mean, we’ve been best friends since high school.”

Unlike half a lifetime ago, back when Storm was pushing his way to reach the big leagues, that’s no longer a priority. Davis, who played under legendary managers Earl Weaver, Tony LaRussa and Sparky Anderson, is content being a teacher and guiding minor leaguers to fulfill their ultimate dream.

His satisfaction is in seeing pitchers like Dillon Peters and former JU standout Matt Tomshaw, who was with Davis briefly last year in New Orleans, develop enough to become future Miami Marlins.

“I simply want to serve, just the joy of being a part of a young man’s journey to the big leagues is all I need,” said Davis. “I don’t need any kind of recognition. When you’re a minor league coach, it’s like being part of the witness protection program. No one knows where you are or what you do, and that’s fine. I’m cool with that. I’m not a self-promoter. It’s not about me. It’s about the kid I’m coaching.”

After 36 years of marriage, moving all over the country, and now playing matriarch to all the younger WAGs of minor-league ballplayers, Angie sees no downside. She looks forward to the next adventure. On Easter Sunday, that means getting into a car with Storm for a 10-day road trip to Pensacola and Birmingham.

“A major-league wife told me once you have to have your own life apart from your husband, but I disagree,” said Angie. “I always wanted to be in it with him.”

For Storm Davis, it’s always been baseball and Angie. Both loves have more than stood the test of time.

Gene.frenette@jacksonville.com: (904) 359-4540