Wherever he went, Don Baylor left his mark on baseball. He was an MVP and Manager of the Year, respected as a powerful slugger, punishing runner and commanding presence in any clubhouse.
And during nearly a half-century as a pro, baseball left its mark on him. Lots of them, in fact. When Baylor retired, he’d been plunked more than anyone in major league history.
Baylor was hit by fastballs, sliders and a bunch of pitches 267 times in his career. Baylor set the modern-day record in 1987 while playing for Boston, on the day he turned 38. After the game, the Red Sox gave him the souvenir ball.
“I can think of other ways to get a birthday present,” Baylor said.
“Man, this is tough to hear. He was the first guy who ever gave me a chance in the big leagues. He was a class act. I never, ever, heard a bad word about him.
— Todd Helton, Longtime Rockies’ first baseman who started his career in 1997 under Baylor.
Baylor, the bruiser who also held the bruise record for almost three decades, died Monday of cancer. He was 68.
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His family said in a statement that Baylor died in his hometown of Austin, Texas, after a 14-year battle with multiple myeloma.
“One of the nicest men I’ve known unless you were a middle infielder on a DP,” former Baltimore teammate and Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer tweeted.
Baylor won the 1979 AL MVP with the California Angels, playing all 162 games and leading the majors with career bests of 139 RBI and 120 runs. His 36 home runs were also his most.
Baylor later became the first manager of the Colorado Rockies, guiding them to his only playoff appearance as a skipper in the franchise’s third season in 1995 and…
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