Wall of Fame catcher 'Dutch' battled brain cancer for 4 years
By Matt Kelly
Former catcher Darren Daulton passed away at age 55 following a four-year battle with brain cancer, the Phillies announced on Sunday night.
A 25th-round Draft selection of the Phillies in 1980, Daulton worked his way to become a three-time All-Star and a beloved member and leader of the organization in the 1980s and '90s. Known affectionately as "Dutch," Daulton owns the longest tenure as a catcher in Phillies history (14 seasons) and set a franchise single-season record with 143 starts behind the plate in 1993, the same year he led Philadelphia to the National League pennant. The year before, Daulton hit a career-high .270 and led the NL with 109 RBIs en route to a Silver Slugger Award.
"Darren starred for one of the most memorable Phillies' teams ever in 1993," Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. "With leadership and toughness, he personified the city that he represented for nearly his entire 14-year Major League career."
Dalton remains the organization's only catcher to post two seasons with at least 100 RBIs, driving in 105 in '93. He was inducted to the Phillies' Wall of Fame in 2010.
"Darren was a true leader of men," Phillies chairman emeritus Bill Giles said in an official team statement Sunday. "The Phillies would not have gone to the 1993 World Series without his leadership."
Deeply saddened to hear about the loss of Darren Daulton today! You will be missed my friend, always enjoyed your presence at the ballpark
"In addition to being an outstanding clubhouse leader, he was also a fighter," Giles continued. "He battled through five knee operations to become an All-Star. I really enjoyed watching him for 14 years in uniform. Darren was a super human being."
The Phillies fell to Joe Carter and the Blue Jays in the 1993 World Series, but Daulton finally tasted postseason success in the very last year of his career. He was traded to the Florida Marlins in July 1997, and he responded by going 7-for-18 with two RBIs during the Fall Classic to help Florida defeat Cleveland in seven games.
An outpouring of memories and condolences came from past and present members of the Phillies organization following the announcement of Daulton's passing Sunday. Current Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp tweeted that he was "deeply saddened" by the news, while former teammate John Kruk tweeted that the team lost "a true legend."
"Those of us who were lucky enough to be his teammate lost a brother!" Kruk added.
Tonight the @Phillies lost a true legend and those of us who were lucky enough to be his teammate lost a brother!
Astros broadcaster Todd Kalas, the son of longtime Phillies broadcaster and Ford C. Frick Award winner Harry Kalas, tweeted that Daulton was "the heart/soul" of the 1993 club that was his dad's favorite Phillies team to watch. U.S. Women's National Soccer Team star Carli Lloyd shared her grief upon losing a childhood hero.
"My all time favorite," Lloyd said of Daulton in a tweet Sunday. "Why I chose #10 jersey. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones."
So sad. My all time favorite. Why I chose #10 jersey. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones. https://t.co/3BnS91rTuE
In 2011, Daulton established the Darren Daulton Foundation, whose mission shifted in 2013 to raise funds for brain cancer after he himself underwent surgery for the resection of two brain tumors related to glioblastoma at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.
Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.