Why we loved Darren Daulton

On Macho Row, he was the king.

But to the fans, he was simply 'Dutch.'

Darren Daulton was the unquestioned leader of a tough, grimy bunch of misfits who captured our hearts back in 1993, when they owned the city in going from worst to first, capturing the National League Pennant and in the process dethroning the mighty Atlanta Braves.

Daulton was the face of the that '93 squad. He ruled herd over Macho Row, trying to corral a bunch of free spirits like Lenny Dykstra, John Kruk, Dave Hollins, Mitch Williams, Pete Incaviglia and Curt Schilling.

We liked that team because they were so much like us. They played hard - on and off the field. In other words, they would have fit right in on your beer league softball team.

Except these guys wore pinstripes and inhabited Veterans Stadium.

Daulton, a two-time National League RBI leader and All-Star catcher, lost his battle against brain cancer Sunday night. He was 55.

Daulton exuded the 'macho' persona that ruled the Phillies clubhouse.

But there was nothing fake about him. That's one of the things that made us love him.

Yes, Daulton was a tough guy. Not because of a lot of talk. But because, despite gimpy knees that could go at any minute, he never budged an inch in blocking the plate.

Daulton, like so many of those '93 Phillies, liked getting his uniform dirty.

They surprised everyone by resurrecting a team that appeared dead in the water the year before and taking the city on an expected thrill ride in the summer of '93.

They made us winners, something that had been lacking in Veterans Stadium for a long time.

Daulton spent 15 seasons in the major leagues, 14 and a half of them with the Phillies. He finished his career with a World Series championship with the Florida Marlins, hitting .389 in the seven-game series against the Cleveland Indians.

But he will always be a Phillie.

That's another reason we loved him.

Daulton never forgot Philly. He was one of us.

A little bit of us died along with him.


Anonymous said…
Jane Yavis said…
A truly fine tribute to what represents Philadelphia so well. Thank you.