Don Baylor
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Don Baylor

Don Baylor
Baylor with the Colorado Rockies in 2010
Designated hitter / Left fielder
Born: (1949-06-28)June 28, 1949
Austin, Texas
Died: August 7, 2017(2017-08-07) (aged 68)
Austin, Texas
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 18, 1970, for the Baltimore Orioles
Last MLB appearance
October 1, 1988, for the Oakland Athletics
MLB statistics
Batting average.260
Home runs338
Runs batted in1,276
As player

As manager

As coach

Career highlights and awards

Don Edward Baylor (June 28, 1949 - August 7, 2017) was an American professional baseball player and manager. During his 19 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB), Baylor was a power hitter known for standing very close to home plate ("crowding the plate") and was a first baseman, left fielder, and designated hitter. He played for six different American League (AL) teams, primarily the Baltimore Orioles and California Angels, but he also played for the Oakland Athletics, New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins, and Boston Red Sox. In 1979, Baylor was an All-Star and won the AL Most Valuable Player Award. He won three Silver Slugger Awards, the Roberto Clemente Award, and was a member of the 1987 World Series champion Minnesota Twins.

After his playing career, Baylor managed the expansion Colorado Rockies for six years and the Chicago Cubs for three seasons. He was named NL Manager of the Year in 1995 and was inducted into the Angels Hall of Fame.

Early life

Born in Austin, Texas, Baylor grew up in Clarksville. He graduated from Stephen F. Austin High School. After being one of three African Americans to integrate Texas public schools when he was in junior high school,[1] Baylor starred in baseball and football at Austin High, where he was the first African American to play athletics at that school.[2] Baylor was offered a scholarship to play college football for the Texas Longhorns of the University of Texas, which would have made him the first African American to play football at Texas.[3] He opted to pursue a baseball career, enrolling at Blinn Junior College in Brenham, Texas.[4]

Playing career

The Baltimore Orioles selected Baylor in the second round of the 1967 MLB draft. He received a $7,500 signing bonus from the Orioles.[5] In 1970, he led the league with 34 doubles, 15 triples, 127 runs, and 140 games-played while playing for Rochester. The following year, he again led the league in doubles with 31 for Rochester.[6] Baylor played for the Orioles from 1970 to 1975. In a transaction influenced by imminent free agency after the season, he was traded with Mike Torrez and Paul Mitchell to the Oakland Athletics for Reggie Jackson, Ken Holtzman and minor-league right-handed pitcher Bill Van Bommel on April 2, 1976.[7]

Baylor with the New York Yankees

In 1977, Baylor signed with the California Angels as a free agent. He led the American League (AL) with 139 runs batted in (RBIs) and 120 runs in 1979, and he was an AL All-Star. He won the AL's MVP award, gaining 20 of 28 first place votes[8] and led the Angels to their first-ever AL Western Division title.[5] After Tommy John allowed three runs through the first three innings of the ALCS against the Brewers, Baylor came up to John and said, "If you hold them to three runs, I'm personally good for four runs against [Milwaukee starter Mike] Caldwell."[9] Baylor, in fact, had five RBI as California won 8-3.[9] John called him the team's "catalyst".[10]

In 1983, Baylor signed with the New York Yankees. According to John, "When we [the Angels] lost him, we lost our guts. Pitchers feared Don Baylor."[10] He was traded to the Boston Red Sox for Mike Easler in 1986.[11][12]

While a member of the Red Sox, Baylor delivered a key hit in the 1986 American League Championship Series when he hit a two-run home run with one out in the top of the ninth inning during game five against the California Angels. At the time, the Angels led the series three games to one and were one out away from their first ALCS victory.[13] The Red Sox went on to win the game and eventually the ALCS, denying the Angels their first trip to the World Series. Al Michaels, broadcasting the game for ABC, called it the greatest baseball game he had ever seen.[14]

In 1987, he was traded to the Minnesota Twins for a player to be named later (Enrique Rios). He signed with the Athletics for 1988, his final season as a player.[5]

Baylor reached the World Series three times in his career, in consecutive years with three different teams. Baylor played in the World Series with the Red Sox in 1986, the Twins in 1987, and the A's in 1988, and he was on the winning side in 1987. Baylor is one of two players in history to accomplish this feat; Eric Hinske is the other. Baylor was a power hitter known for crowding the plate. He set the Red Sox team record for most hit by pitches in a season (35 in 1986); in his career, he was hit by pitches 267 times, fourth-most all time.[15] Baylor retired with 285 stolen bases, 2,135 hits, and 338 home runs.[5]

Coaching and managerial career

After retiring as a player, Baylor served as a hitting coach for the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals until he was named the manager of the expansion Colorado Rockies.[16] He led the team for six years from 1993 to 1998. The Rockies posted their first winning record (77-67) in 1995 and made the postseason as the wildcard team. As a result, Baylor won the National League Manager of the Year Award.[17]

After the 1998 season, Baylor was fired.[5] He finished his Rockies managerial career with a regular season record of 440-469 and a post-season record of 1-3.[18] He became the hitting coach for the Atlanta Braves in 1999 and was hired to manage the Chicago Cubs in 2000, a job he held through the 2002 season. He had a record of 187-220 with the Cubs.[18] From 2003 to 2004, he served as the bench coach for the New York Mets.[19] He spent the 2005 season with the Seattle Mariners as hitting coach under manager Mike Hargrove[20] and was as a fill-in analyst for MASN in 2007 for Washington Nationals broadcasts.[21]

Baylor served as hitting coach for the Colorado Rockies during the 2009 and 2010 seasons.[22] Baylor was replaced by Carney Lansford after the Rockies hit a franchise-low .226 on the road during the 2010 season.[23] Baylor was offered a special assistant position to remain with Colorado but turned it down.[24]

Baylor agreed on a two-year contract to become hitting coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks for the 2011 and 2012 seasons.[25] He was hired by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim as their hitting coach for the 2014 season.[26] On March 31, 2014, Baylor suffered a fracture to his right femur while catching the ceremonial first pitch of the 2014 season, thrown by Vladimir Guerrero.[27] On April 1, 2014, he had surgery to have a plate and screws inserted into his leg.[28] On October 13, 2015, the Angels announced that Baylor would not return as the team hitting coach in 2016.[29]


Baylor was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2003.[30] He died on August 7, 2017, at the age of 68.[2]

Managerial record

Team From To Regular season record Post-season record
G W L Win % G W L Win %
Colorado Rockies 1993 1998 909 440 469 .484 4 1 3 .250
Chicago Cubs 2000 2002 407 187 220 .459 --
Total 1316 627 689 .476 4 1 3 .250

See also


  1. ^ Harding, Thomas (January 20, 2016). "Don Baylor overcame obstacles off the field". Major League Baseball. Retrieved 2017.
  2. ^ a b Bohls, Kirk (August 7, 2017). "Former MLB star, Austin native Don Baylor dies at 68". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved 2017.
  3. ^ Reid, Scott M. (December 23, 2005). "Millions watched the Texas-Arkansas game in 1969". The Orange County Register. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved 2007.
  4. ^ Roy, Reagan. "Texas native, MLB legend Don Baylor dies at 68 - Story". Retrieved 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Don Baylor - Society for American Baseball Research". Retrieved 2017.
  6. ^ Norman MacLean, ed. (1988). 1988 Who's Who in Baseball. New York: Who's Who in Baseball Magazine Company, Inc.
  7. ^ "Athletics send Jackson, Ken Holtzman to Orioles," United Press International (UPI), Saturday, April 3, 1976. Retrieved May 4, 2020
  8. ^ 100 Things Orioles Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die, Dan Connolly, Triumph Books, Chicago, 2015, ISBN 978-1-62937-041-5, p.126
  9. ^ a b John and Valenti, pp. 240-41
  10. ^ a b John and Valenti, p. 243
  11. ^ Neff, Craig. "HIS HONOR, DON BAYLOR". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2017.
  12. ^ Michaels, Al with Jon L. Wertheim (2014) You Can't Make This Stuff Up: Miracles, Memories, and the Perfect Marriage of Sports and Television, New York: Harper Collins [1]
  13. ^ Newhan, Ross (October 13, 1986). "Ghost of Seasons Past Visit Angel's Mauch in Game 5". The Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California).
  14. ^ Michaels, Al with Jon L. Wertheim (2014) You Can't Make This Stuff Up: Miracles, Memories, and the Perfect Marriage of Sports and Television, New York: Harper Collins [2]
  15. ^ "Career Leaders & Records for Hit By Pitch". January 1, 1970. Retrieved 2017.
  16. ^ Allen, Scott. "The true legacy of Don Baylor, an MVP and World Series champ, is his legendary toughness". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2017.
  17. ^ "Don Baylor, former MVP and manager of year, dies at 68". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2017.
  18. ^ a b c "Don Baylor". Baseball Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved 2015.
  19. ^ "Don Baylor, former MVP who was Yankees DH and Mets coach, dead at 68". The Star-Ledger. April 2, 1976. Retrieved 2017.
  20. ^ "Mariners' hitting, pitching coaches resign". ESPN. October 3, 2005. Retrieved 2017.
  21. ^ "After rough start, MASN starts to hit its stride - SportsBusiness Daily | SportsBusiness Daily Global". SportsBusiness Daily. Retrieved 2017.
  22. ^ Renck, Troy E. (October 15, 2010). "Lansford takes over as Rockies' new hitting coach". The Denver Post.
  23. ^ Armstrong, Jim. "Lansford changes way Rockies' hitters think". The Denver Post. Retrieved 2017.
  24. ^ Renck, Troy E. (March 3, 2015). "DBacks to hire Baylor as new hitting coach". The Denver Post. Retrieved 2017.
  25. ^ Renck, Troy E. (October 25, 2010). "D-Backs to hire Baylor as new hitting coach". The Denver Post.
  26. ^ "Don Baylor leaving Arizona Diamondbacks for Los Angeles Angels". The Arizona Republic. October 16, 2013.
  27. ^ Perry, Dayn (March 31, 2014). "Don Baylor fractures femur while receiving first pitch, set for surgery". CBS Sports. Retrieved 2014.
  28. ^ The Star Ledger April 2, 2014. section 5 pg. 53
  29. ^ DiGiovanna, Mike (October 13, 2015). "Angels fire hitting coach Don Baylor and pitching coach Mike Butcher". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2017.
  30. ^ Bloom, Barry M. (January 20, 2016). "Diamondbacks hitting coach Don Baylor leading fight against Multiple Myeloma". Major League Baseball. Retrieved 2017.
  • John, Tommy; Valenti, Dan (1991). TJ: My Twenty-Six Years in Baseball. New York: Bantam. ISBN 0-553-07184-X.

External links

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