Don Baylor, the American League’s Most Valuable Player in 1979 and World Series champion, died Monday morning after a long battle with multiple myeloma. He was 68 years old.
“Don passed from this earth with the same fierce dignity with which he played the game and lived his life,” said his wife, Rebecca, in a statement.
Over the course of his professional baseball career, Baylor played for six teams including the Baltimore Orioles, Oakland Athletics, California Angels, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins. His tenure lasted 19 years. Over the course of his career, he hit 338 home runs and stole 285 bases, finishing with a .260 batting average.
In 1979, while playing for the Angels, he hit .296 with 36 home runs and 120 runs scored, driving in 139, earning him accolades as the American League Most Valuable Player. He reached the World Series in 1986 with the Red Sox, then won a World Series championship in 1987 with the Twins. In 1988, he appeared in the World Series for the third consecutive year with the Oakland Athletics.
Following his career as a player, he went on to manage professional baseball teams, including the Colorado Rockies in 1993, the team’s first season. In 1995 he took the Rockies into the post season and was named National League Manager of the Year. He then managed the Chicago Cubs from 2000-2002.
“Don Baylor was a hustling player who ran the bases aggressively and stood fearlessly close to home plate as if he were daring the pitcher to hit him. Quite often they did, as Baylor was plunked by more pitches (267) than any other player in the 20th century,” the Society For American Baseball Research wrote in its entry for Baylor.
Please pray for Don Baylor’s family in this difficult time. Read further about another former baseball all-star who also passed away recently after a battle with brain cancer.