Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Two MLB Legends Pass

Its been a rough last couple of days for the baseball world. Two legends of the game have passed away in the last couple of days. Darren Daulton and Don Baylor have both passed away after battles with cancer. Both guys have left a major mark on Major League Baseball and left multiple imprints on the game.

First, there was Darren Daulton, who passed away at the age of 55 after a four-year fight with glioblastoma, a very aggressive form of brain cancer. Dalton spent 14 years in the Majors, playing for the Phillies and half a season for the Florida Marlins, the team with which he won a World Series in 1997. He was a .245 lifetime hitter, blasting 137 home runs and driving in 588 runs. His best season was in 1992, when he hit .270 with 25 home runs and 109 RBI. He followed that up in 1993, with 24 home runs and 105 RBI, the only times he broke those RBI and home run numbers in his career. When most people hear his name, they associate him with the 1993 National League champion Phillies. They went six games with the eventual World Champion Blue Jays. Despite putting up what some viewed as paltry offensive numbers, the reason that Daulton resonated with so many people was the intangibles of his locker room leadership.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, what made him valuable was his knack for calling games and commanding respect. Curt Schilling, who blossomed when he began throwing to Daulton in 1992, frequently calling his battery mate “the best catcher in baseball.” Manager Jim Fregosi labeled Daulton the game’s “best leader.” A lot of guys can prove to be great players and it has nothing to do with what shows up on a score sheet. He was outstanding at calling a game, as evident by how he was able to get Curt Schilling on track to what would be an outstanding career.

Then there was Don Baylor, who passed away at the age of 66 from a long-standing battle with multiple myeloma, also a form a cancer. Don played 19 years in the Majors, playing for the California Angels, Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins and Oakland Athletics. Baylor was a .260 lifetime hitter, smashing 338 home runs and driving in 1,276 runs. He won the AL MVP in 1979 while playing for the California Angels, the same year he lead the AL in RBI and runs scored (which turned out to be his best offensive year of his career). Baylor was also a three-time Silver Slugger winner, and went to the postseason seven times in his career. Baylor won one World Series title with the Minnesota Twins in 1987. Once his playing days were done, he became the manager of the Colorado Rockies for their inaugural season in 1993. Baylor also won the 1995 NL manager of the year and joins a hallowed list of manager that includes Frank Robinson, Kirk Gibson and Joe Torre as the only former players to win an MVP award and Manager of the Year.

Baylor could do a little bit of everything at the plate, he could hit for average, power, drive in runs. He was a productive hitter. He was a leader as a manager as well, having a very successful career as a coach, showing in fact just how well he knows the game of baseball. He was able to make a pretty successful transition from player to manager, which is hard for a lot of guys to be able to do, but Baylor did it pretty well.

Bot guys will be dearly missed by the baseball community, friends and family. They may be gone, but their legacy will live on forever!

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