The baseball world lost another recognizable name Monday morning, as long-time player and manager Don Baylor passed away at age 68.
After news former Philadelphia Phillies catcher Darren Daulton passed away Sunday night at age 55, the baseball lost another notable name Monday morning. Don Baylor, the 1979 American League MVP and the first manager of the Colorado Rockies, died at age 68 after a battle with cancer.
Over 19 seasons as a player (1970-1988), Baylor totaled 338 home runs and 1,276 RBI for six teams (Orioles, Angels, Yankees, Red Sox, Twins, A’s). He earned the lone All-Star selection of his career in 1979 with the then-California Angels, on his way to a career-high 36 home runs, major league-leading RBI (139) and runs scored (120) totals and an MVP award. He was also noted for being hit by a pitch a lot, leading the majors seven times with 267 total.
Baylor was the first manager of the Colorado Rockies in 1993, with a 440-469 record and one playoff appearance over six seasons. He later managed the Chicago Cubs from 2000-2002 (187-220 record). He also served as hitting coach for the Rockies, the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Angels after being done as a manager.
Baylor is one of four men to win an MVP award as player and a Manager of the Year Award, along with Frank Robinson, Joe Torre and Kirk Gibson. He also holds the unique distinction of playing in three straight World Series for three different teams, at the end of his career coincidentally, in 1986 (Boston Red Sox), 1987 (Minnesota Twins) and 1988 (Oakland Athletics). Going 1-for-3 in those Fall Classics is a moot point.
Baylor was diagnosed with multiple myeloma 14 years ago, according to his family, and became an advocate to promote awareness and research into the disease. Baylor’s wife Rebecca released a brief statement on her husband’s passing.
“Don passed from this earth with the same fierce dignity with which he played the game and lived his life,” his wife, Rebecca, said in a statement.