I’m not a crier. Never have been.
But on July 21, 1997, I cried.
I was in the broadcast booth that day, working as an intern for WPHL-17, and it was a normal business person’s special. The Phillies were awful. Terrible. A bad team.
But in the locker room that day before the game, something was different. Players were despondent. They were just … off.
Then we found out why. Darren Daulton got traded.
About a half-hour before the game against the Pirates started, out walks Dutch. From the home plate area. Few knew why. He just came out, and stood there. And then Dan Baker came over the microphone and told us.
“Darren Daulton has just been traded to the Florida Marlins” or something like that.
There couldn’t have been 5,000 people there. I think they announced 15,000, but that’s a lie. But Dutch came out, looked around at those fans that were there and acknowledged them all. He waved, he smiled, he took it all in. And he deserved it. Darren Daulton loved Philadelphia, and Philadelphia loved Darren Daulton. Darren Daulton was a Phillie.
Seriously, when has that ever happened? When has someone been traded, and then walked out and thanked the fans in their home stadium? It hasn’t. Ever. Okay, maybe it has. But I’m telling you, this was awesome.
And I cried. I cried as he waved, and I waved back at him, as he said good-bye to Philadelphia.
Curt Schilling went out that day and struck out 15 guys and still lost. And in the locker room that day, players still didn’t know how to react. They lost their captain.
But what they did know is what I know: Darren Daulton is a Phillie. Always and forever. And he’s one of the greatest Phillies that has ever lived.