Don Baylor, who played in part of 19 big-league seasons (including 1979, after which he won the Most Valuable Player Award) and who managed in parts of nine others, has passed away, according to multiple reports. Baylor's death was confirmed by his son to Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Stateman.
Former major-league baseball star and Austin native Don Baylor died Monday morning after a long struggle with multiple myeloma. He was 68.
Baylor died at 4:25 Monday morning, his son confirmed to the Austin American-Statesman.
MLB released this statement from commissioner Rob Manfred:
"Today is a sad day for our game as we lost two men who built distinguished careers in the National Pastime, Don Baylor and Darren Daulton.
"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. He then became the first manager in Rockies history, guiding them to their first Postseason in just their third year of play. Throughout stints with 14 different Major League teams as a player, coach or manager, Don's reputation as a gentleman always preceded him.
"Darren starred for one of the most memorable Phillies' teams ever in 1993. With leadership and toughness, he personified the city that he represented for nearly his entire 14-year Major League career. In his final game, Darren batted cleanup for the Marlins' team that won the 1997 World Series Championship.
"On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to the families, friends and fans of these two memorable individuals."
Daultonon Sunday after a four-year battle with brain cancer.
Baylor's most productive seasons were split between the Baltimore orioles, California Angels, and New York Yankees. Overall, he finished his career having hit .260/.342/.436 with 338 home runs and 285 stolen bases -- numbers that resulted in a 118 OPS+. Baylor's affinity for getting struck by pitches is well remembered, and his 267 career beanings remains the fourth-most all-time, behind Hughie Jennings, Craig Biggio, and Tommy Tucker.
"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, according to MLB.com.
In addition to winning the 1979 MVP Award and making that year's All-Star Team, Baylor also earned MVP consideration in four other seasons, and won a trio of Silver Slugger Awards. He was part of the Minnesota Twins' World Series-winning club in 1987.
Baylor enjoyed a lengthy career as a manager and coach. He spent six seasons guiding the Colorado Rockies to a 440-469 record, and reached the postseason during the 1995 season. Baylor later received an opportunity to manage the Chicago Cubs, finishing his two-plus year stint with a 187-220 record and no postseason appearances. More recently, Baylor had served as hitting coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Angels, a position he'd held with the Atlanta Braves and Seattle Mariners as well. Baylor spent two seasons as the New York Mets' bench coach, too.
In all, Baylor enjoyed a lengthy -- and quite successful -- life in baseball.