Don Baylor, the burly slugger who once held the Major League Baseball record for being hit a pitch and later guided the expansion Colorado Rockies to the playoffs for the first time as manager of the year, died Monday of cancer. He was 68.
The 1979 American League MVP died in his hometown of Austin, Texas, after a 14-year battle with multiple myeloma, Baylor’s family said in a statement released by the Angels, the franchise for which he played more than 800 games.
“Don passed from this earth with the same fierce dignity with which he played the game and lived his life,” Baylor’s wife, Rebecca, said.
Baylor played in all 162 games for the California Angels in 1979 and led the majors with career bests of 139 RBIs and 120 runs. He also had career highs in homers (36) and hits (186) for the American League West champs, who lost to Baltimore in the AL Championship Series.
When the stocky Baylor retired, he had been hit by pitches a then-record 267 times, and led the majors in that category seven times.
He was also known for speed as a younger player, including a career-high 52 steals with Oakland in 1976, and was a bruising baserunner who loved to break up double plays. He…
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