Don Baylor was a MLB player who starred for a few teams over the course of a 19-year career. After winning the American League MVP in 1979, he went on to become the National League Manager of The Year in 1995.
Baylor, a native of Austin, Texas, made waves as a young man when he was one of the first Black students to integrate Austin High School. At the school, Baylor was among its first Black athletes to star on the football and baseball field. Had Baylor accepted University of Texas coach Darrell Royal’s scholarship offer, he would have been the first Black player to suit up for the team.
While football was a love of his, Baylor opted to turn down the scholarship to pursue baseball. He was drafted in the second round of the 1967 MLB draft and began his pro career with the Baltimore Orioles. After five seasons, Baylor played a season with the Oakland Athletics before a multi-season turn with the California Angels.
It was with the Angels that Baylor achieved many of his greatest accomplishments, including highs in batting averages and winning the AL MVP while making the All-Star squad in 1979. During the end of his playing career as a member of the Minnesota Twins, he and the squad won a world series in 1987.
After retiring in 1988, Baylor became a manager for the Colorado Rockies for six seasons beginning in 1993. Two years in, he won the NL Manager of the Year award, becoming just one of four players to win both an MVP and manager of the Year award.
Baylor also managed the Chicago Cubs for a pair of seasons before taking lower profile jobs as a hitting coach for the Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks but never ascended to the manager level again.
Since 2003, Baylor has battled multiple myeloma, succumbing to the condition on Monday. Baylor was 68.
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