Ex-Phils C Daulton dies at 55 after cancer battle

Former Philadelphia Phillies All-Star catcher Darren Daulton has died at age 55, the team said Sunday.

Daulton was diagnosed with cancer in 2013 and went into remission in 2015. He was a key part of and leader on the 1993 Phillies team that surprised by winning the National League pennant and lost to the Toronto Blue Jays in six games in the World Series.

“We played hard and did everything hard. It was fun, and that was what made us special,” Daulton once said of the improbable ’93 team.

Daulton was found to have two brain tumors in June 2013 and, after surgery to remove them, was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a highly malignant form of brain cancer, the following month. He underwent radiation, speech therapy and other treatment before announcing he was cancer-free in February 2015.

“Darren was a true leader of men,” Phillies chairman emeritus Bill Giles said in a statement. “The Phillies would not have gone to the 1993 World Series without his leadership. In addition to being an outstanding clubhouse leader, he was also a fighter. He battled through five knee operations to become an All-Star. I really enjoyed watching him for 14 years in uniform. Darren was a super human being. His teammates loved him. I loved him like he was one of my own. In fact, he called me ‘Uncle Bill.'”

Glioblastoma has also claimed the lives of other notable baseball players, including Gary Carter, Tug McGraw and Johnny Oates.

Daulton was a bonding force in the Phillies’ clubhouse during his 13½ seasons in Philadelphia. He was known for his work ethic, old-school toughness and smile.

He also was a defensive standout and one of the Phillies’ biggest left-handed bats during his heyday. He won the Silver Slugger Award in 1992, the same season he led the National League in RBIs, with 109. He followed that performance with 105 RBIs (sixth in the NL) in 1993, becoming one of only nine catchers in MLB history to drive in 100 or more runs in back-to-back seasons.

He was named to the All-Star team in 1992, ’93 and ’95.

“All of us at the Phillies are saddened to hear of Darren’s passing,” Phillies chairman David Montgomery said. “From the day that we drafted him until today, he constantly earned our respect and admiration as both a player and person. Darren was the face of our franchise in the early 1990s. Jim Fregosi asked so much of him as catcher, clean-up hitter and team leader. He responded to all three challenges. One of my toughest decisions as team president was to approve his trade to the Marlins in July of 1997. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Amanda, his parents, his brother and his four children. Dutch was truly ‘one of a kind,’ and we will dearly miss him.”

American soccer star and suburban Philadelphia native Carli Lloyd offered her condolences via Twitter.

Injuries and knee problems took a toll on Daulton. He underwent nine knee surgeries over the course of his career, and in his final few seasons, he transitioned to play outfield and first base and pinch hit.

With his career in decline, the Phillies traded Daulton to the Florida Marlins in July 1997. He hit .262 with three home runs and 21 RBIs in 52 games as the Marlins marched into the postseason. He batted cleanup in Game 7 as Florida won the World Series, and then he retired.

He finished his career with a .245 batting average, .357 on-base percentage and .427 slugging percentage.

Daulton was born Jan. 3, 1962, in Arkansas City, Kansas. He was drafted by the Phillies in the 25th round of the 1980 draft and made his debut on Sept. 25, 1983, against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Daulton is survived by his parents, Carol and Dave, of Arkansas City, Kansas; one brother, Dave Jr., of Arkansas City, Kansas; his wife, Amanda, of Clearwater, Florida; and his four children, Zachary (27), Summer (17), Savannah (16) and Darren Jr. (15), all of whom reside in the Clearwater area.

Funeral services for Daulton will be private, the Phillies said.

Information from Associated Press was used in this report.

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