Why Don Baylor Once Fined Roger Clemens $5 In First 20-Strikeout Game

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The Boston Red Sox, and all of Major League Baseball, lost a true character Monday.

Don Baylor, who was a key contributor for the 1986 American League champion Red Sox team, died Monday at the age of 68 after a battle with Myeloma, as confirmed by his family. Baylor will be remembered as a great player, as he won the 1979 AL MVP award. And, having won the 1995 National League Manager of the Year Award with the Colorado Rockies, he’ll also be remembered as a great coach.

But it’s the stories that reveal who he was a person that will stick with you the most.

“Beyond his contributions on the field, Baylor was a commanding presence in the Red Sox clubhouse,” the Red Sox said in a statement. “Teammates fondly recall the ‘kangaroo court’ Baylor presided over, assessing fines for whatever he deemed a transgression.

“In Roger Clemens’ 20-strikeout game on April 29 (1986), for example, Baylor fined Clemens $5 for giving up a single to Spike Owen of the Seattle Mariners on an 0-and-2 pitch.”

Of course, doing things such as fining teammates likely wouldn’t fly if the player doing them didn’t lead by example. But Baylor always was willing to do whatever it took to win a game, something his 267 career hit-by-pitches (4th all-time) clearly demonstrate.

It’s safe to say every team in baseball could use someone like Baylor in the clubhouse.

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