Former Boston Red Sox player Don Baylor died Monday after a long battle with cancer.
"Don passed from this earth with the same fierce dignity with which he played the game and lived his life," his wife, Rebecca, said in a statement.
Baylor, 68, had been battling multiple myeloma. He played for the Red Sox from 1986 to 1987 and won the American League MVP award in 1979 with the California Angels.
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The Red Sox were two outs away from playoff elimination in Game 5 of the 1986 American League Championship series when Baylor hit a 2-run home run off California Angels starter Mike Witt, setting the stage for Dave Henderson's go-ahead 2-run home run in a game the Sox ultimately won in 11 innings. The Sox went on to win the series in seven games before losing the World Series to the New York Mets.
Baylor played 19 seasons in all, including stints with the Baltimore Orioles, Oakland Athletics, New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins. He also managed the Colorado Rockies and Chicago Cubs after his playing career was over.
"Don was a dear friend. In the short time we had, he was probably the best teammate I ever played with," said former Red Sox outfielder Dwight Evans, who also coached under Baylor with Colorado in 1994. "We traveled with Don and his wife Becky in the off-season. To me, he was a great baseball man. The game will definitely miss him."
“Don Baylor was one of the most intimidating players to ever play the game," added former Red Sox second baseman Marty Barrett. "Once he became a teammate I realized he was a gentle giant. He calmly went about his business in a truly professional manner. He was a huge presence in our lineup that everyone benefited from. Baseball will miss him.”