Former Major League Baseball player and coach Don Baylor has passed away from cancer at the age of 68. Baylor died Monday morning in an Austin, Texas hospital with his family along side, his son Don Baylor Jr. and his wife Rebecca confirmed have confirmed the news. Baylor has been in professional baseball for over four decades as a player, coach, and manager. He suffered from Multiple Myeloma, a cancer that affects the plasma in the blood and bone marrow.

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Playing career

Baylor broke in the majors with the Baltimore Orioles at the age of 21, making his debut on September 18th, 1970. He spent his prime career playing years with the Angels from 1977 to 1982. It was 1979 when he won the American League MVP award with the Angels and made his one and only All Star team. Baylor slashed .296/.371/.901 with 36 home runs and 139 RBIs in all 162 regular season games that season.

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Baylor played 19 total seasons in the majors with the Orioles, A's, Angels, Yankees, Red Sox and Twins, finishing his career with a .260 batting average, 338 home runs, and 1,276 RBIs. His stint with the Twins got him a World Series ring as he was part of the 1987 team that beat the Cardinals in the fall classic, Baylor batted .385 with a home run in that World Series. He also had the distinct honor of being the fourth all-time player to be hit by pitches at 267.

Coaching career

In 1993 the new expansion Colorado Rockies hired Baylor to be their first manager. He managed there from 1993-1998 with an overall record of 440-469 with three above-.500 seasons and a postseason appearance in 1995. After a brief stint as hitting coach in Atlanta in 1999, Baylor went on to manage the Chicago Cubs from 2000-2002. He put up a 187-220 record in that span, and while he did not make it to the postseason in Chicago, he did manage unexpected an 88-win team in 2001.

Baylor was the first African American manager in Cubs history.

He continued to work in the MLB as a hitting and bench coach after he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2003. He worked for the Mets from 03-04, the Mariners in 2005, back with the Rockies as a hitting coach from 2009-2010, the Diamondbacks from 2011-2012 and ended his coaching career in 2015 with the Angels. While cancer was affecting him for more than a decade, he still dedicated himself to baseball and was able to keep fighting for a long time.

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His legacy features an underrated playing career and a strong will to fight cancer and still be involved in the game he loved.

Rest in peace, Don Baylor.

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