MLB Jewel Don Baylor Dies At Age 68

Don Baylor was a shining MLB Black Knight who was a very good player during a golden age for elite African-American players. 

My immediate recollection of Baylor is when he played for the Yankees. He had stupid power and was a magnet for getting hit by pitches. 

Baylor, who played played for six major league teams and managed two others, died Monday at age 68 from multiple myeloma, a cancer that attacks bone marrow.

Sports Illustrated on Twitter

Don Baylor, the former AL MVP and manager of the Rockies and Cubs, has died at age 68

Baylor played for the Baltimore Orioles, Oakland Athletics, California Angels, Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and Minnesota Twins before retiring after the 1988 season. He appeared in three straight World Series from 1986 to 1988, winning a title with the Twins in 1987.

He was super solid, a player who helped contribute to the legitimacy of the DH as he spent most of his time in that position as the end of his career approached. 

Baylor finished his career with a .260 average with 338 home runs and 1,276 RBI and was hit by a pitch 267 times, the fourth highest total of all time over a 19-year career. He was an all-star and won the AL MVP with the Angels in 1979, when he led the majors in RBIs (139) and runs (120).

Don Baylor Boston Red Sox Breaks All Time Hit By Pitch Record 1987, Yankee Stadium! Don Baylor of the Boston Red Sox breaks the all time record for hit by pitches in 1987. It’s amazing that the 1979 American League MVP never wore any of the body armor that players wear today!

Baylors career numbers don’t measure the magnitude of his impact on the league and his lofty place in MLB history. 

He was the first manager in Colorado Rockies history. The Rockies are the only franchise to begin their MLB journey with an African-American manager at the helm.  

Don Baylor, like no other man I ever knew, had this aura about him, said Walt Weiss, the former Rockies manager and shortstop who played for Baylor in Colorado. Hearing about his death today was a punch in the gut.

Baylor, affectionately known as Groove, managed the Rockies from 1993-98, compiling a 440-469 record.  He also managed the Cubs from 2000 to 2002. He displayed his baseball savvy and intellectual capacity as a manager by leading the Rockies to their first playoff appearance in 1995 when they won the NL wild card with a 77-67 record. 

The baseball world is mourning a baseball lifer who was also a pioneer. 

SABR BioProject on Twitter

Condolences go out to the family & friends of former MVP Don Baylor, died today at 68. His @SABRbioproject

Baylor is one of just four men, along with Frank Robinson, Joe Torre and Kirk Gibson, to win both an MVP and manager-of-the-year award. Baylor is just the third African-American manager to win the NL award since 1995. Dusty Baker won it in 1997 and 2000, and Dave Roberts did so in 2016. 

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.

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