Former Boston Red Sox slugger Don Baylor died Monday morning. He was 68 years old.
Baylor, according to the Austin American-Statesman, succumbed to a battle with multiple myeloma.
The Texas native played 19 seasons in the big leagues and was one of the game’s best power hitters at his peak with the California Angels. Baylor hit a career-high 36 home runs to go along with 139 RBIs in 1979 on his way to winning the American League MVP award.
After three seasons with the New York Yankees, he was traded to the Boston Red Sox prior to the 1986 season. It was with the Red Sox that Baylor had his best season since the MVP campaign in ’79, hitting 31 home runs and driving in 94 runs, helping the Red Sox reach the World Series. Baylor was a force in the American League Championship Series against the Angels, hitting .346 with a home run and three doubles against his former team.
It was during the 1986 ALCS that Baylor hit one of the most overlooked home runs in Red Sox history. In the ninth inning of Game 5, with the Red Sox down 5-2 and facing elimination, Baylor hit a two-run home run to pull Boston within one.
For obvious reasons, Baylor’s home run was overshadowed by Dave Henderson’s two-run homer later in the inning, with Boston ultimately winning in extra innings on their way to capturing the AL pennant.
Baylor had a long and successful managerial career after his playing days. He was the first manager in Colorado Rockies history, winning Manager of the Year for helping the Rockies finish 77-67 in 1995 in just their third season of existence. Colorado actually finished above .500 in three of Baylor’s six years at the helm. Baylor also managed the Chicago Cubs for two-plus seasons from 2000 until 2002.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images
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