NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Don Baylor, an MVP player who went on to manage the Colorado Rockies and the Chicago Cubs, died from cancer Monday. He was 68.
“Don passed from this earth with the same fierce dignity with which he played the game and lived his life,” his wife, Rebecca, said in a statement, according to ESPN.
Baylor played 19 seasons in the majors, including from 1983-85 for the Yankees. His best season came with the California Angels in 1979, when he won American League MVP, batting .296 with 36 homers and leading the AL in runs (120) and RBIs (139). He also was a member of the Twins’ 1987 World Series championship team.
Baylor also played for the Orioles, A’s and Red Sox. For his career, he batted .260 with 338 home runs.
Baylor managed the expansion Rockies from 1993-98, leading them to the playoffs in 1995, when he was voted National League Manager of the Year. He then managed the Cubs from 2000-02. His career record as a manager was 627-689.
He served as the Mets’ bench coach from 2003-04, and his most recent coaching job was as the Angels’ hitting coach, which ended after the 2015 season.
Baylor’s family said he was diagnosed 14 years ago with multiple myeloma, a rare form of blood cancer. He and former Yankees pitcher Mel Stottlemyre, a survivor of the disease, worked to raise awareness of it.
“The regular cancers have had so much money thrown into the pot, and like Multiple Myeloma, we still can’t find a cure,” Baylor told MLB.com in 2013. “This is a specialized cancer. Maybe we can bring up awareness for Multiple Myeloma. Prostate cancer is men. Breast cancer is women. This can strike anybody. It skips one person and gets another. You don’t even have to be a certain age to get this.”