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Daulton dies at 55

Posted by Eric Fisher On August 6

Darren Daulton, one of the most popular and respected Phillies, died Sunday at age 55 after a four-year battle with brain cancer.

A 25th-round draft choice in 1980, the year the Phillies won their first World Series title, Daulton made his major-league debut op Sept. 25, 1983, the year the Phillies returned to the World Series. Far from an overnight success, Daulton struggled with injuries and on offense before becoming the starting catcher in 1989, when he batted .201. But he didn’t became a star until his thirties, being selected an all-star three times and leading the Phillies to another World Series appearance in 1993.

Daulton led the National League with 109 RBI in 1992. He also hit 27 home runs and 32 doubles that season and placed sixth in the voting for most valuable player even though the Phillies finished in last place.

Daulton is best remembered for the 1993 season, when the Phillies went from worst to first and reached the World Series. Daulton hit 24 homers and 35 doubles and produced 105 RBI, but he is remembered for his leadership more than his statistical contributions.

The 1993 Phillies included many strong and eccentric personalities. Curt Schilling, John Kruk, Mitch Williams and Lenny Dykstra, just to name a few, made the Phillies a challenging team to control. But, as has been told and retold many times, manager Jim Fregosi turned the clubhouse over to Daulton, who was respected by both teammates and fans for his hard work and perseverance through injury. Leading both by example and with his words, Daulton helped guide the Phillies to the 1993 World Series, where they lost to the Blue Jays in six games.

Daulton finally won a World Series with the Marlins in 1997, the final year of his career. His damaged knees, subjected to nine surgeries, made catching difficult, but he contributed to the Marlins as a first baseman, pinch hitter and, of course, as a leader after they acquired him from the Phillies in July.

But Daulton will always be remembered as a Phillie. He spent 14 seasons with the team, and was inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame in 2010. His passing certainly will be noted this coming weekend during the Phillies’ annual Alumni Weekend, which will not have a Wall of Fame ceremony due to the controversy involving Pete Rose, who was selected for induction this year.

Three years after Daulton’s induction into the Wall of Fame, he was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. Daulton had two tumors removed from his brain that summer. In 2015, Daulton announced that doctors had declared him “cancer free.” But the cancer returned, ending the life of one of the most popular and respected Phillies in franchise history.

Daulton is the third high-profile Phillie to die this year, following pitcher Jim Bunning and pitcher Dallas Green, who is best known as the manager of the 1980 World Series team. Along with Daulton, former Phillies Tug McGraw, Johnny Oates and John Vukovich, who was a Phillies coach during most of Daulton’s career, died of brain cancer.

Donations in Daulton’s honor may be made to the Darren Daulton Foundation, which provides financial assistance to people suffering from brain cancer and brain tumors.

 

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