Former MLB All-Star, MVP, and manager Don Baylor passed away Monday at the age of 68. Baylor, who won an MVP with the Angels and a World Series with the Twins, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma 14 years ago.
“A disease like cancer spares nobody,” MLB.com Rockies writer Thomas Harding said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “You can fight as hard as you want, and sometimes when cancer wants you, it takes you.”
Harding saw Baylor play in the minors. He recalled a play in which Baylor caught a line drive – bare-handed.
Baylor went on to play 19 seasons in the bigs and later managed the Rockies from 1993-98 and the Cubs from 2000-02.
“When you start losing people like this, especially in baseball, (it’s hard),” Harding said. “I hate to say it because in some other sports – namely football – you’ve almost come to expect people dying at young ages. In baseball, you don’t expect it. But when it comes to disease, it’s something that we all probably should be aware of and fight every day.”
In the 1960s, Baylor helped integrate schools in Austin, Texas, and was, unsurprisingly, the victim of racism and abuse. But he took it in stride and ultimately garnered respect – first through athletics, and later through personality.
“Don Baylor is just the kindest, loving, soft-spoken gentleman,” Harding continued. “People respected him. That’s what I found just from talking to him.”