Monday, January 4, 2010

Donald Edward Baylor
Nickname: Groove
Number(s): 25
Position: DH, OF, 1B
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Years Played As an Angel: 1977-1982
Angels’ Stats: .262 AVG, 141 HR, 523 RBI, 813 H
Career Stats: .260 AVG, 338 HR, 1276 RBI, 2135 H

How He Was Acquired: Nov. 16, 1976 signed as a Free Agent with the California Angels

Why You Should Know Him: In 1979, he led the American League with 139 RBIs and 120 runs and was an AL All-Star. He won the AL's MVP award (a first for an Angels player) and led the Angels to their first AL Western Division title ever.

Prior to coming to the Angels, he was drafted in the 2nd round of the 1967 amateur draft by the Baltimore Orioles. He played for the Orioles (1970-75), Oakland Athletics (1976, 1988), Angels (1977-82), New York Yankees (1983-85), Boston Red Sox (1986-87), and Minnesota Twins (1987).

While he was on the ’82 team that fell one game short of being the first Angels team to make it to the World Series, he still managed to reach the Fall Classic three times during his career, in consecutive years with three different teams—the Red Sox in 1986, the Twins in 1987, and the A's in 1988—and was on the winning side in 1987.

Baylor was a power hitter known for crowding the plate. As a result, he set a new ML career record for being hit by pitches in 1987 and finished with 267 in his career. Baylor retired with 285 stolen bases, 2135 hits, and 338 home runs.

Memorable Moments/Games: Those who were able to see him play in person will tell you there was nothing like him coming to the plate and hearing the cadence of “Bay-lor, Bay-lor, Bay-lor” – some of the loudest chanting for any one player in Angels history.

Baylor was the 3rd former player to be inducted into the Angels Hall of Fame in 1990.

Memorable Quote: Don Baylor when playing for the New York Yankees - "Playing for Yogi is like playing for your father; playing for Billy is like playing for your father-in-law. "

Where is He Now?: After retiring as a player, Baylor served as a hitting coach for the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals until he was named the manager of the expansion Colorado Rockies. He led the team for six years from 1993-98. The Rockies posted their first winning record (77-67) in 1995 and made the postseason as the wildcard team, and as a result, Baylor won the National League Manager of the Year Award. By 1997, the Rockies under Baylor's leadership had the best five-year record (363-384) of any expansion club in MLB history.

After a subpar 1998 season, Baylor was released. He became the hitting coach for the Atlanta Braves in 1999 and was hired to manage the Chicago Cubs in 2000 and managed through 2002. From 2003 to 2004, he served as the bench coach for the New York Mets. He spent the 2005 season with the Seattle Mariners as hitting coach. He is currently the hitting coach for the Rockies.

Contributed by Brian Ilten - Contributor
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