A folk hero
The 1993 Phillies will always be a legend in Philadelphia. That crew came from nowhere to make a run at the pennant in dramatic fashion. They stunned the division, and stunned even more when they upset one of the peak 90’s Braves teams in 1993 – led by a Hall of Fame cast including Greg Maddox, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz.
The team, with its mulleted glory, came to be known as “Macho Row.” One of my earliest memories of those Philly teams was when John Kruk nearly fainted when Randy Johnson airmailed a pitch over his head during the 1993 All-Star game. I remember thinking how cool those Phillies guys looked. I can’t say I lived it, but I’ve read enough to know that team engulfed a city when not much was working well in the Philly sports. The 76ers still hadn’t hit their Allen Iverson peak, and the Eagles were bumbling through a rough stretch. A surprise run by the 1993 Phillies, unfortunately upended on a Joe Carter walk-off home run, is what most fans pinpoint as the memorable team of 90’s Philadelphia sports.
Yesterday came the news that one of their cornerstones, Darren Daulton, died of brain cancer. Daulton was young, only 55.
The long-haired Daulton, nicknamed “Dutch,” was beloved by Phillies fans and respected by teammates. He policed a wild clubhouse in ’93 that included Lenny Dykstra, John Kruk, Dave Hollins, Pete Incaviglia, Mitch Williams, and Curt Schilling.
“Darren was a true leader of men,” Phillies chairman emeritus Bill Giles said. “In addition to being an outstanding clubhouse leader, he was also a fighter. 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. His teammates loved him, I loved him like he was one of my own.”
“All of us at the Phillies are saddened to hear of Darren’s passing. From the day that we drafted him until today, he constantly earned our respect and admiration as both a player and person,” said Phillies Chairman David Montgomery. “Darren was the face of our franchise in the early 1990’s. Jim Fregosi asked so much of him as catcher, clean-up hitter and team leader. He responded to all three challenges. One of my toughest decisions as team president was to approve his trade to the Marlins in July of 1997. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Amanda, his parents, his brother and his four children. Dutch was truly “one of a kind” and we will dearly miss him.”
Remembered as a legend
Daulton was the veteran on the ’93 Phillies. He’d broken into the majors in 1983, before any other regular, and had been with the Phillies his entire career at that point. He was the quintessential leader for that group of young potential. He was one of the most popular players on the team, and rightfully so. He had a great 1993 season, hitting .254 with 24 homers and 109 RBIs.
He stayed with the Phillies his whole career until a midseason trade in 1997 to Florida. Fittingly so, Daulton’s final games in baseball were in the World Series that year. He hit .389, started at cleanup in the clinching Game 7, and retired after finally getting a ring. Daulton’s bout with brain cancer was well documented and very difficult to read about. Throughout most of his adult life, Darren resided in Clearwater, Fla. Starting in 2010, he spent the season in Philadelphia hosting a radio show on 97.5 The Fanatic, “Talking Baseball with Dutch,” five days a week.
Darren Daulton was a star on the 1993 Phillies. He became a local legend by sticking around after his playing career. He will be missed.
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