This weekend was meant for Phillies alumni to gather in one place and exchange stories – probably the same ones every year – for old time’s sake. It’s also meant for a former great to be enshrined into Phillies immortality. Once the Phillies deviated from the original plan, coupled with the death of former catcher Darren Daulton late Sunday night, the direction of alumni weekend became crystal clear: honoring the life of Darren Daulton. I have a feeling many of the stories shared this weekend will be about the late-great Daulton.
Here’s a list of Dalton’s greatest moments, and also some of the Daulton-centric posts Phillies Nation has written:
Darren Daulton was one reason the game ended so late – or so early, depending on your interpretation. In the second game of a double-header against the San Diego Padres in a game that started after 1 a.m. EST, Dutch was called from the bench in the eighth to deliver a game-tying single.
Almost 27 years to the day, Terry Mulholland spun a no-hitter at Veteran’s Stadium in 1990. But with all no-hitters and perfect games, the catcher always deserves credit, too. Not only was Dutch Mulholland’s battery-mate, he even helped his friend by blasting a home run.
Daulton was arguably the best catcher in Phillies history, and during a four year run between 1992-95, Dutch was one of the best catchers in baseball. He was named an all-star three times and led the league with 109 RBI in 1992. Dutch was a force to reckoned with behind the plate.
During our 1992 week in December to fill up the dog-days of the offseason, our Kirsten Swanson remembered Dutch’s breakout year in ’92, which was the first of his three all-star selections. Kirsten highlights the injury struggles Daulton overcame and the leadership role he assumed, both instrumental in the magical 1993 run.
On this very second weekend in August seven years ago, Daulton’s plaque was unveiled in center field of Ashburn Alley, where it will forever be displayed. Dutch played parts of 14 years with the Phillies, amassing a .245/.357/.427 line with 137 career home runs and 588 RBI. But during those four years in the mid-90s, Dutch was one of the game’s best from behind the dish.
Dutch and the Phillies drew first blood in game six of the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves, off Greg Maddux, no less. Maddux was 20-10 with a 2.36 ERA and had just won the second of his four (in a row) Cy Youngs. But it was Dutch that gave the Phillies hope against the hall-of-famer. He sent Veteran’s Stadium into a frenzy with his two-out, two-run double in the third for one of the biggest hits in his career.
Though this wasn’t in a Phillies uniform, Dutch was traded to the Florida Marlins in 1997 and was a world champion as a result. Daulton hit .262 in 52 games for the Marlins was 7-for-18 with the home run in seven games against the Indians in the World Series. If anyone deserved to win a ring in a uniform that was not the Phillies’, it was Darren Daulton.
Not as much a moment as it was his way of life, but Daulton couldn’t be praised enough about his leadership and toughness on and off the field. There’s something to be said when guys like Lenny Dykstra and John Kruk looked up to and respected Daulton as much as they and the rest of the team did. Dutch did a lot right, and this weekend is for him.