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As a player
- Baltimore Orioles (1970-1975)
- Oakland Athletics (1976)
- California Angels (1977-1982)
- New York Yankees (1983-1985)
- Boston Red Sox (1986-1987)
- Minnesota Twins (1987)
- Oakland Athletics (1988)
- Cangrejeros de Santurce (1970-1973)
- Navegantes del Magallanes (1974-1976)
- Colorado Rockies (1993-1998)
- Chicago Cubs (2000-2002)
- Bravos de Margarita (2011)
Donald Edward Baylor (Austin, Texas, June 28, 1949-ibid, August 7, 2017) was a Major League Baseball player and coach. He was a player and coach, and batting coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks. During the 19 years of his playing career he was a powerful hitter who played as first baseman, outfielder and designated hitter. He played in six different teams of the American League, mainly in the Baltimore Orioles and the California Angels. He later coached the Colorado Rockies for six years and the Chicago Cubs for three seasons. He died of cancer.
Born in Austin, Texas, Baylor graduated from Austin High School. At Austin High he excelled in both baseball and football, where Darrell Royal, coach of the Longhorn, offered him a scholarship to play the latter at the University of Texas. Had he accepted, this would have meant becoming the first African-American to play football in Texas. However, he chose to pursue a career in baseball, enrolling at the Blinn Junior College in Brenham, Texas.
Career as a player
He was selected by Baltimore in the second round of the 1967 amateur draft. He played for the Orioles from 1970 to 1975. Prior to the 1976 season, the Orioles handed Baylor along with Paul Mitchell and Mike Torrez to the Oakland Athletics a change of Reggie Jackson, Ken Holtzman, and Bill Van Bommell. In 1977 he signed with the California Angels as a free agent, with the New York Yankees in 1983, and with the Boston Red Sox in 1986. In 1987, he was traded to the Minnesota Twins for a player who would be named later. He finally signed with the Athletics in 1988, which would be his last season as a player.
In 1979, he led the American League with 139 RBIs and 120 RBIs, where he was also an All-Star. He won the MVP (Most Valuable Player) of the American League and led the Angels to get the title of the Western Division for the first time. During his career he reached the World Series on three occasions, in consecutive years with three different teams (one of the two players in history to achieve this feat, Eric Hinske is the other): With the Red Sox in 1986; with the Twins in 1987; and with the Angels in 1988; winning his team in the 1987. Being in the Red Sox set the record for his team as a player hit more times by pitches in a season (35 in 1986). Throughout his career, he was beaten 267 times by pitches, the 4th highest. Baylor retired with 285 stolen bases, 2135 hits, and 338 home runs.
In the book “Planet of the Umps”, referee Ken Kaiser said that Don Baylor was the player who hit the toughest ball he had ever seen. According to Kaiser, the ball was rejected from the glove of third base and then flew over the wall of the left field getting a home run.
Career as coach and manager
After his retirement as a player, Baylor was hired as a hitting coach by Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals until he was named manager by the Colorado Rockies expansion team. He left the team after six years of 1993-98. The Rockies had their first winning record (77-67) eb 1995 and reached the post-season as the wild card team and as a result Baylor won the National League Manager of the Year award.
After the 1998 season, Baylor was fired. He finished his career as manager of the Rockies with a record of 440-469 and a post-season record of 1-3. He returned as a hitting coach for the Atlanta Braves in 1999 and was named manager of the Chicago Cubs in 2000 as manager until 2002. He had a record of 187-220 with the Cubs. From 2003 to 2004, he was hired as a banking coach by New York Mets. He was hired in the 2005 season by Seattle Mariners as a hitting coach with manager Mike Hargrove and was an analyst for MASN in 2007 in national broadcasts.
Baylor worked as a hitting coach for Colorado Rockies during the 2009 and 2010 seasons. He was replaced by Carney Lansford after the Rockies franchise had a .226 batting percentage on the 2010 season. Baylor was offered a special assistant position to stay with Colorado but he rejected it.
He subsequently obtained a two-year contract as a hitting coach with Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2011 and 2012 seasons. He was hired by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim as a hitting coach in the 2014 season. On March 31, 2014, Baylor had a fracture of the right femur when he was catching the first pitch at the inaugural ceremony of the 2014 season, launched by Vladimir Guerrero. On April 1, 2014, he required surgery to place a plate and screws inside his leg. On October 13, 2015, the Angels announced that Baylor would no longer return to the team as a hitting coach in 2016.
Baylor was diagnosed with multiple myeloma (plasma cell tumor) in 2003. He died on August 7, 2017 at age 68.
More Facts about Don Baylor
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