Former American League MVP, MLB manager and Twins World Series Champion Don Baylor died Monday after a long battle with cancer, his family confirmed. He was 68.
Baylor spent 19 seasons in the majors with six teams, including the then-California Angels, where he was tapped as the 1979 league MVP.
Baylor slugged 338 home runs and finished his career playing in three consecutive World Series for different teams -- the 1986 Boston Red Sox, 1987 World Series champion Minnesota Twins and the '88 A's.
His time with the Twins was brief but memorable. Saddened to hear of the passing of one of the nicest men I've met in baseball, Don Baylor.— Dick Bremer (@dbremer_pxp) August 7, 2017
Baylor was the Colorado Rockies' first manager in franchise history, guiding them to the first National League wild-card berth in 1995. He managed nine seasons overall between the Rockies and Chicago Cubs, posting a 627-689 record.
As recently as 2014, he served as Los Angeles Angels hitting coach but was not retained after one season.
His stint with the Twins was brief, after being acquired at trade deadline in 1987. He played just 20 games with the club, but his leadership and steady demeanor is frequently cited as reasons Minnesota was able to win the World Series. Baylor hit a two-run homer in Game 5 against St. Louis, igniting a rally that kept the Twins alive.
“He sat between Kirby (Puckett) and I – his locker was between ours – and just told us what to expect," pitching ace Frank Viola told the Pioneer Press: "You’re going to have a lot of press downstairs. This is how you handle it, this is how you go about your business. Without him, we, as a group, would not have understood what we had to go through.”
Baylor died at 4:25 a.m. Monday due to complications from multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow, the Austin American-Statesman reported.