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BREAKING: Darren Daulton dead at age 55

darrendaulton.jpgAccording to a tweet by David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, former Philadelphia Phillies catcher Darren Daulton has died at age 55 after a long battle with brain cancer.

The Phillies announced Daulton’s death moments later.

Daulton, who was inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame in 2010, was drafted by the Phillies in 1980, and spent parts of 14 seasons with the Phils. He was largely considered the leader of the National League pennant winning team of 1993.

Despite playing off the bench for most of his early career, and suffering a rash of injuries throughout his time with the Phillies, Daulton emerged in 1990 as an all-around force at the catcher position. Two years later, in 1992, Daulton became the league’s premiere hitting catcher, leading the NL in RBI with 109 while slugging a career-high 27 home runs. That set him up for further success in 1993, as he helped lead his Phillies to the World Series with a 24-home-run campaign.

But more important was Daulton’s leadership. Teammates lauded “Dutch” for his steady hand and commanding presence during his veteran seasons. In 1993 he played 147 games, overseeing a stout pitching staff and bullpen while providing middle-of-the-order thump. His performance in that season’s National League Championship Series – .263/.440/.474 – was hugely beneficial, powering the Phils in the series win over Atlanta.

Daulton remained with the Phils through the middle of the 1997 season. Chronic knee injuries pushed Daulton to the outfield, but he still proved productive, hitting .264/.381/.480 with 11 home runs with the Phils in ’97. He was traded to the Florida Marlins in July 1997, and his leadership and offense proved vital in the Marlins’ championship run. In the 1997 World Series, Daulton hit .389/.455/.667 with a home run and two doubles. He retired after the 1997 season.

After retirement, Daulton became a mainstay in the Philadelphia sports scene. He was a regular contributor on Comcast SportsNet’s Phillies coverage, and hosted “Talkin’ Dutch” on 97.5 The Fanatic starting in 2010.

Daulton underwent a surgery related to glioblastoma in 2013. He announced in 2015 that he was cancer free, but reports indicated the cancer had returned in more aggressive fashion in recent weeks.

The Darren Daulton Foundation, which helps families of brain cancer patients pay medical and personal expenses, said in a press release Sunday evening that Daulton “epitomized all that [is] good in the world.”

“Love, life, fight are three words that best describe Daulton,” said the release. “He was a man that was easy to love, to respect and to admire. He had a genuine passion for people.”

A private memorial service will be held in Clearwater, Florida. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Darren Daulton Foundation, 1339 Chestnut St., Suite 500, Philadelphia, PA, 19107 and sent to the attention of Brett Datto, President.

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