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Don Baylor

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Don Edward Baylor

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[edit] Biographical Information

Don Baylor played 19 years in the American League and hit 338 home runs. He was the 1979 American League MVP. He has also managed nine years in the majors.

A versatile player, Baylor finished as high as second in the league in home runs (1978) and as high as fourth in the league in stolen bases (1976). He led the league once in sacrifice flies and eight times in hit-by-pitch. He is fourth on the all-time list for most hit-by-pitch, and until Craig Biggio passed him, Baylor held the modern record for the most hit-by-pitch. In 1986, Baylor logged a 30/30 season - 31 home runs and 35 HBP.

He is the only outfielder in major league history who never doubled off or doubled up a runner. His career double play total is zero. Everybody else who has played 500 or more games had at least two.

In the last three years of his career, Baylor appeared in the World Series each year, each time with a different team (the Boston Red Sox in 1986, the Minnesota Twins in 1987, and then the Oakland Athletics in 1988).

After his playing days were over, Baylor was a Milwaukee Brewers coach in 1990 and 1991 and was a member of the St. Louis Cardinals staff in 1992. In 1993, he became manager of the expansion Colorado Rockies, a job he would hold for six years. After spending 1999 as an Atlanta Braves coach, he was skipper of the Chicago Cubs for two and a half seasons, beginning in 2000. He spent 2003 and 2004 on the New York Mets coaching staff and was a Seattle Mariners coach in 2005. He rejoined the Rockies as hitting coach in 2009, then in 2011 was hitting coach of the Arizona Diamondbacks, keeping the job until the end of the 2013 season. In 2014, he moved to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim as hitting coach.

In his first game back with the Angels, on Opening Day on March 31, 2014, he was given the honor of catching the ceremonial first pitch thrown by Vladimir Guerrero, who had signed a one-day contract to retire as a member of the Angels. The choice was appropriate, given Baylor and Guerrero were the only two Angels ever to win the American League MVP Award. However, Baylor then suffered a freak injury as he moved to catch Guerrero's slow toss, buckling his leg and fracturing his femur. He had to be evacuated to a hospital to receive medical attention. He had to undergo an operation with a metal plate being inserted to hold up the bone. The Angels promoted assistant hitting coach Dave Hansen to replace him during his recovery and brought up minor league hitting instructor Paul Sorrento to the big league club to assist Hansen.

Baylor was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of cancer that attacks plasma in the bone marrow, when he was a Mets coach in 2003. The condition is usually fatal within five years of diagnosis. However, he managed to beat the disease and became a major fundraiser for research against the condition, particularly in trying to put together a database of patients in order to help doctors and researchers track trends and share information. He was working with former pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Sr., also a multiple myeloma survivor, on fundraising efforts, with the two mindful of fellow coach Vern Ruhle, who had died of the disease at 55 a few years earlier.

Baylor's cousin Pat Ballage played for the NFL's Indianapolis Colts.

[edit] Notable Achievements

AL MVP
1978 1979 1980
Jim Rice Don Baylor George Brett


Preceded by
N/A
Colorado Rockies Manager
1993-1998
Succeeded by
Jim Leyland
Preceded by
Jim Riggleman
Chicago Cubs Manager
2000-2002
Succeeded by
Bruce Kimm

[edit] Year-By-Year Managerial Record

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1993 Colorado Rockies National League 67-95 6th Colorado Rockies
1994 Colorado Rockies National League 53-64 3rd Colorado Rockies
1995 Colorado Rockies National League 77-67 2nd Colorado Rockies Lost NLDS
1996 Colorado Rockies National League 83-79 3rd Colorado Rockies
1997 Colorado Rockies National League 83-79 3rd Colorado Rockies
1998 Colorado Rockies National League 77-85 4th Colorado Rockies
2000 Chicago Cubs National League 65-97 6th Chicago Cubs
2001 Chicago Cubs National League 88-74 3rd Chicago Cubs
2002 Chicago Cubs National League 34-49 -- Chicago Cubs replaced by Rene Lachemann and Bruce Kimm on July 5

[edit] Further Reading

  • Don Baylor (as told to George Vass): "The Game I'll Never Forget", Baseball Digest, August 1985, pp. 36-38. [1]

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