Daulton re­mem­bered for his lead­er­ship, friend­ship

Cape Breton Post - - Sports - BY ROB MAADDI

Darren Daulton was the team­mate ev­ery­one re­spected and the player all Philadel­phia Phillies fans adored.

A day af­ter Daulton died fol­low­ing a four-year bat­tle with brain cancer, the city and fran­chise mourned the loss of per­haps the great­est leader to wear those red pin­stripes.

“Darren Daulton the ballplayer was and al­ways will be syn­ony­mous with great lead­er­ship and win­ning. Darren Daulton the per­son was and al­ways will be syn­ony­mous with car­ing and com­pas­sion,” for­mer team­mate and long­time ra­dio an­a­lyst Larry An­der­son said Mon­day.

Daulton, nick­named “Dutch” since his child­hood, was a three-time All-Star catcher dur­ing 14-and-a-half sea­sons with the Phillies. He was the cleanup hit­ter for the im­prob­a­ble 1993 NL cham­pi­onship team, which lost to Toronto in six games in the World Se­ries af­ter fin­ish­ing last the pre­vi­ous sea­son.

Daulton con­trolled a club­house that in­cluded wild char­ac­ters such as Lenny Dyk­stra, Mitch Wil­liams, John Kruk, Pete In­cav­iglia and oth­ers. He was the man along a stretch of lock­ers called “Ma­cho Row.”

“I played with sev­eral tough dudes in my ca­reer, but Dutch was the tough­est,” Dyk­stra said. “Catch­ers char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally are the ‘coach on the field.’ Dutch was more than that. He was our an­chor and our leader, en­sur­ing that our fo­cus was al­ways be­tween the lines when we played. His stew­ard­ship and in­cred­i­ble tough­ness were the in­spi­ra­tion for that mag­i­cal year in 1993, when we put it all to­gether, and made base­ball fun again in Philly.”

De­spite be­ing plagued by in­juries and slowed by sev­eral knee op­er­a­tions, the left­handed hit­ting Daulton bat­ted .245 with 137 homers and 588 RBIs in 1,161 games. He led the NL with 109 RBIs in 1992.

Daulton fin­ished his ca­reer with the 1997 World Se­ries cham­pion Florida Mar­lins, bat­ting .389 (7 for 18) with two dou­bles and one homer in a seven-game se­ries against Cleve­land.

“Darren was one of the tough­est play­ers to ever play the game,” for­mer Mar­lins man­ager Jim Ley­land said.

Daulton was di­ag­nosed with glioblas­toma in July 2013. It’s an ag­gres­sive form of brain cancer that also took the lives of his for­mer team­mate Tug Mc­Graw and for­mer coach John Vukovich. Daulton, who died Sun­day, was 55.

“I be­lieve he was truly loved on a dif­fer­ent level than most,” Wil­liams said. “He was the captain of our chaos, the most re­spected player among his peers and those great play­ers who came be­fore him. He was our rock, our leader in that club­house of guys in 1993.”

AP PHOTO/MICHAEL PEREZ, FILE

In this Aug 3, 2013, file photo, for­mer Philadel­phia Phillies catcher Darren Daulton waves to the crowd as he takes the field dur­ing the Philadel­phia Phillies Alumni cer­e­monies be­fore a game against the Atlanta Braves in Philadel­phia.

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