An­gel stand­out Don Bay­lor dies

DON BAY­LOR, 1949 - 2017

Los Angeles Times - - FRONT PAGE - as­so­ci­ated press news.obits@la­times.com

He was the Amer­i­can League MVP in 1979, and went on to be­come man­ager of the year with the Rock­ies.

Don Bay­lor, the 1979 Amer­i­can League most valu­able player with the An­gels who went on to be­come man­ager of the year with the Colorado Rock­ies in 1995, died Monday of can­cer. He was 68.

Bay­lor died in his home­town of Austin, Texas, af­ter a 14-year bat­tle with mul­ti­ple myeloma, his fam­ily said in a news re­lease from the An­gels.

“Don passed from this Earth with the same fierce dig­nity with which he played the game and lived his life,” said Bay­lor’s wife, Re­becca.

Bay­lor played in all 162 games of the 1979 sea­son and led the ma­jors with ca­reer bests of 139 RBI and 120 runs. He also had ca­reer highs in homers (36) and hits (186) while help­ing the An­gels to the Amer­i­can League West ti­tle be­fore they lost to Bal­ti­more in the AL cham­pi­onship se­ries.

When Bay­lor re­tired, he had been hit by pitches a then-record 267 times and led the ma­jors in that cat­e­gory seven times. He also had 285 steals, most of them early in his ca­reer. That in­cluded a ca­reer-high 52 with the Oak­land A’s in 1976.

He was the first man­ager of the ex­pan­sion Rock­ies, lead­ing them to their first play­off ap­pear­ance in the fran­chise’s third sea­son. Colorado lost to the At­lanta Braves in four games in the Na­tional League Di­vi­sion Se­ries.

Bay­lor spent six years with Colorado and two-plus sea­sons as man­ager of the Chicago Cubs, from 2000 to 2002. His ca­reer record was 627-689. He most re­cently was the hit­ting coach for the An­gels and spent nearly 50 years in pro base­ball.

“Through­out stints with 14 dif­fer­ent ma­jor league teams as a player, coach or man­ager, Don’s rep­u­ta­tion as a gen­tle­man al­ways pre­ceded him,” Ma­jor League Base­ball Com­mis­sioner Rob Man­fred said.

Bay­lor won a World Se­ries with the Min­nesota Twins in 1987, hit­ting one of his four post­sea­son homers in the seven-game vic­tory over the St. Louis Car­di­nals.

“Don’s com­mit­ment to the game and its fu­ture also in­spired him to play an in­stru­men­tal role in help­ing the MLBPA es­tab­lish it­self as a bona fide union,” play­ers’ union ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Tony Clark said.

Born June 28, 1949, in Austin, Bay­lor was a sec­ond-round pick by Bal­ti­more in 1967 and chose base­ball over a chance to be the first black foot­ball player at Texas.

Two years later, the Longhorns be­came the last all-white team to win a na­tional cham­pi­onship.

Bay­lor went to ju­nior col­lege be­fore join­ing the Ori­oles or­ga­ni­za­tion, made his big league de­but in 1970 and spent six years with Bal­ti­more. Af­ter a year in the first of two stints with Oak­land, Bay­lor played six sea­sons for the An­gels.

Mostly a des­ig­nated hit­ter but also an out­fielder and first base­man, Bay­lor also had stops with the New York Yan­kees, Bos­ton Red Sox and the Twins be­fore fin­ish­ing his ca­reer with the A’s in 1988.

He was a ca­reer .260 hit­ter with 338 homers and 1,276 RBIs.

Don Kelsen Los An­ge­les Times

A LONG CA­REER IN PRO BASE­BALL Don Bay­lor, left, with fel­low An­gels Rod Carew, Fred Lynn and Reg­gie Jack­son in 1982. Bay­lor was a sec­ond-round pick by Bal­ti­more and chose base­ball over a chance to be the first black foot­ball player at Texas.

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