Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Don Baylor Dies of Cancer at 68

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Don Baylor Dies of Cancer at 68

Article excerpt

Don Baylor, the burly slugger who once held the major league record for being hit by a pitch and later guided the expansion Colorado Rockies to the playoffs for the first time as manager of the year, died Monday of cancer. He was 68.

The 1979 American League MVP died in his hometown of Austin, Texas, after a 14-year battle with multiple myeloma, Baylor's family said in a statement released by the Angels, the franchise for which he played more than 800 games.

"Don passed from this earth with the same fierce dignity with which he played the game and lived his life," Baylor's wife, Rebecca, said.

Baylor played in all 162 games for the California Angels in 1979 and led the majors with career bests of 139 RBIs and 120 runs. He also had career highs in homers (36) and hits (186) for the American League West champs, who lost to Baltimore in the AL Championship Series.

When the stocky Baylor retired, he had been hit by pitches a then-record 267 times, and led the majors in that category seven times.

He was also known for speed as a younger player, including a career-high 52 steals with Oakland in 1976, and was a bruising baserunner who loved to break up double plays. He finished with 285 steals.

In his final three seasons, Baylor went to three World Series from 1986-88, winning the title and hitting one of his four postseason homers in Minnesota's seven-game victory against the Cardinals in 1987. He was on losing teams with Boston in 1986 and Oakland in 1988.

"Don used power and speed to earn American League MVP honors with the Angels in 1979 and contributed to three straight pennant winners in a great 19-year major league career," Commissioner Rob Manfred said.

After spending 1992 as hitting coach of the Cardinals, Baylor became the first manager for the Rockies, leading them to his only playoff appearance as a manager in the franchise's third season in 1995. …

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