If there was ever a player who perfectly embodied the city of Philadelphia, it was Darren Daulton. His attitude, his toughness, his tenacity all backed up by his all-star skills made him a perfect fit for this blue-collar city. And how can we forget that smile? Like the city he represented, he possessed an undying charm that warmed your heart and made you feel at home.
There are a few things every Philadelphia fan knows, no matter their age. The time Flyers center Dave Poulin played in the conference finals with a broken rib. 4th and 26. And the 1993 Phillies.
I wasn’t even two years old when the Phillies went from worst to first in 1993, yet I may have well have been sitting in the 700 level when Dutch hit the home run to right field to give the Phils a two-run lead over the Blue Jays in Game 4.
The selfish part of me feels gypped. I don’t have any of the first-hand memories of watching Dutch play. I never got to watch him throw a runner from his knees or watch him leg out a double despite his injury-riddled knees.
But I’ll always remember that smile, and his sweet midwestern drawl. I didn’t have to see him play to understand why he was and will always be a true Philadelphian. Spending my high school and college days working at the ballpark, I saw many former Phillies roaming around before and after games. You always knew when Dutch was in town. You could hear his voice from sections away.
Forget Mike Schmidt or Steve Carlton. Every year during Alumni Weekend, the loudest cheer was always reserved for No. 10.
This past offseason, we Phillies Nation folks did a series on the Phils’ 1992 season. My contribution was to highlight how Daulton finally came into his own, both as a player and a leader. In the piece, I wrote:
Daulton was able to do what not many players could in this city. Despite not winning a title and taking far too long to hit his potential, he became a legend. Nearly 25 years later and you still see No. 10 jerseys in the stands at Citizens Bank Park.
He was the soul and the backbone of a team that captured the city’s heart.
He captured the essence of Philadelphia. That much was evident. No matter your age.