Tag Archives: brain cancer

Marlins also feel loss of Phillies hero Darren Daulton

Darren Daulton died Monday at age 55
Former Philadelphia Phillies and Florida (now Miami) Marlins player Darren Daulton died on Monday of brain cancer. He was just 55 years old.
The 1997 Major League Baseball season was just the fifth in the history of the expansion Marlins franchise. The team had begun play in 1993 along with the Colorado Rockies.
The Rockies fielded winning teams in both 1995 and 1996. But the Fish were taking a bit longer, and were unable to field a winner over their first four seasons
For that fifth year, Marlins owner Wayne Huizenga opened the vault. He signed free agent slugger Bobby Bonilla to play third base, as well as outfielder Moises Alou and starting pitcher Alex Fernandez.
These players were added to a core group already present that included “Mr. Marlin”, Jeff Conine, emerging star outfielder Gary Sheffield, veteran outfielder Devon White, and starting pitchers Al Leiter and Kevin Brown.
Young catcher Charles Johnson, second baseman Luis Castillo, and shortstop Edgar Renteria were also in place. A rookie starting pitcher, 22-year old Cuban Livan Hernandez, would emerge as a reliable arm for the club. The closer was talented 27-year old Robb Nen.
The Marlins brought in a proven winner to manage that 1997 club in Jim Leyland. With all their new blood, the Marlins got out to a blistering 8-1 start. They would eventually level off, but another hot stretch in mid-May pushed the team out to a 27-16 record. Florida spent most of the next two months in second place behind the talented Atlanta Braves.

LOCKER ROOM LEADER WAS MISSING INGREDIENT

As the MLB trade deadline approached at the end of July, the Marlins dropped six of eight games, falling into third place in the division. Huizenga and general manager Dave Dombrowski believed that their big investment and talent collection was missing something, some key ingredient.
That ingredient arrived on July 21 when the Marlins dealt prospect outfielder Billy McMillon to the division-rival Philadelphia Phillies. In exchange, coming to South Florida would be one of the greatest locker room and on-field leaders in the game’s recent history.
Darren Daulton was 35 years old by that point, and moving through his 12th big league season. He had spent his entire career in the Philadelphia organization, making his MLB debut all the way back with the ‘Wheeze Kids’ pennant winners in 1983.
Daulton’s reputation as a leader of men was cemented during the 1993 season. Those Phillies shocked the baseball world by going from last place to first, and reaching the World Series. Known as ‘Macho Row’, they were a hard-scrabble bunch of swashbucklers who bashed the ball all around the National League that summer.
Daulton was their acknowledged leader, the man who was unafraid to stand up to anyone no matter their status or role with the team. He was their policeman and captain, and the Marlins wanted that kind of strong, experienced leader in their own clubhouse.

DAULTON HELPS MARLINS REACH PLAYOFFS

Now a first baseman due to the effects of his knee injuries, Daulton received his first start with the Fish on Wednesday, July 23 at Cinergy Field in Cincinnati. He went 2-3 and scored a run in a big 8-1 win over the host Reds.
Daulton found a friendly face waiting for him in Florida to help ease the transition. Jim Eisenreich, had been one of his teammates with those 1993 Phillies, and had also been brought in as a free agent the prior off-season.
Florida would go 36-24 from that first Daulton start until last September, when they clinched that NL Wildcard berth. Daulton hit for a .262/.371/.429 slash line with 21 RBI and 22 runs scored in 152 plate appearances. More importantly, he added just that very veteran leadership that the club needed.
The Marlins dispatched the San Francisco Giants in three straight games in the NLDS. Then the Fish captured the final two games of the NLCS to put away the Braves in six.

THE 1997 WORLD SERIES

In the World Series, the Marlins faced off with a mega-talented Cleveland Indians squad. The Fish and Tribe threw haymakers at one another, with Florida taking game three by a 14-11 score. The Indians responded by scoring 10 to even up the series in game four.
The Marlins responded with an 8-7 win in game five to go up 3-2. But with the Fish a game from winning the championship, Cleveland came right back to win 4-1, sending the Fall Classic to a classic seventh game.
When Leyland presented his lineup card for Game Seven, his cleanup man was none other than Daulton. In one of the most dramatic final games in World Series history, Renteria drilled a base hit in the bottom of the 11th inning to score Craig Counsellwith the walkoff, title-winning run.
There were the usual locker room celebrations and parade, and right in the middle of it was Daulton. When interviewed, his teammates frequently mentioned his positive leadership and influence.
It would turn out to be the final game of Daulton’s career. He walked away a world champion, having hit cleanup in his team’s lineup in the seventh game of the World Series.
John Kruk was one of Daulton’s closest friends, and a teammate with the 1993 Phillies. He was quoted in a piece today by Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald in reference to Daulton’s influence on those 1997 Marlins champions.
“Jim Leyland told me they don’t win the World Series if it wasn’t for Dutch,” Kruk told Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia per Spencer. “He told me when Dutch stepped in that locker room everyone on that team looked at him and said, ‘There’s our leader.’”

The Marlins organization wishes to express our deepest sympathy and sadness over the passing of 1997 World Champion Darren Daulton. https://twitter.com/phillies/status/894387535350292480 

Darren Daulton Foundation Fighting Brain Cancer

In 1980, the Philadelphia Phillies were driving toward the club’s fourth NL East crown in five years.
That thrilling season would ultimately culminate in a third National League pennant, and the then 98-year-old organization’s first-ever World Series championship victory.
In June of that summer, the Phillies made an 18-year-old catcher out of Arkansas City High School in Kansas their 25th round selection in the MLB Amateur Draft.
Darren Daulton would sign a contract days later, beginning a nearly two decade career with the organization.
Daulton would make his big league debut with the 1983 “Wheeze Kids” team of aging veterans that would capture yet another NL pennant. By 1985 he was in the major leagues for good, and by 1989 was the Phillies’ everyday catcher.
Daulton would suffer a number of knee injuries which would derail his career early on. But he fought through multiple surgeries to emerge as a 3x NL All-Star, a Silver Slugger Award winner, a 2x NL MVP top ten voting finisher, and the captain and leader of the Phillies during the 1990s.
After helping lead the “Macho Row” team to the 1993 NL pennant, Daulton was finally dealt at age 35 to the then Florida Marlins for the end of the 1997 season. There he would help the Fish to the franchise’s first-ever World Series title that October.
In 2010, after 14 seasons with the Phillies over which he played 1,109 games, with 965 of those at catcher, Daulton was selected for the team’s highest honor when he was voted into the Phillies Wall of Fame.

Daulton became known throughout his career as both a clubhouse leader and a fighter. Little did he know that it would be in retirement from the game where he would be forced to undertake his most difficult battle.
In early July 2013, Daulton had surgery to remove two tumors in his brain.
Just a week later it was announced that he was suffering from gioblastoma, which is an aggressive form of brain cancer.
“Glioblastoma is a very difficult, challenging tumor that starts in the brain. So it’s not a tumor that started elsewhere in the body and traveled to the brain. It’s something that actually started in the brain. So if you can imagine a tumor growing within the brain, it’s going to be integrated with normal tissue. So one of the challenges as a surgeon is to be able to remove the tumor while respecting the normal tissue. In a healthy person who’s in the prime of their lives, the only way to treat this tumor is to be aggressive. That’s aggressive surgically and it’s aggressive with every other aspect of care.” ~ Dr. Donald O’Rourke, neurosurgeon, University of Pennsylvania Health System per CSNPhilly.com
In early 2015, after receiving results of an MRI and examinations from his doctors, Daulton released a message via his Twitter feed that he was cancer-free at that time.

Daulton appeared at Citizens Bank Park this season when he threw out the first pitch before the Phillies game on Sunday, May 15 vs the Cincinnati Reds. A picture from that day accompanies this story, and a video can be viewed here.
He was also present when Jim Thome was inducted into the club’s Wall of Fame in August.
Back in 2015, longtime Phillies star player, coach and manager Larry Bowa, now the team’s bench coach, spoke for a number of Phils alumni when he expressed concerns that there might be a link between playing at Veteran’s Stadium and brain cancer.
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
“Yeah, it’s very scary. I know cancer is a big illness in our society, but to have that many guys get brain cancer…” said Bowa per Randy Miller at USA Today in a well-written and researched piece on the Phillies’ situation, and the issue of cancer clusters in work.
Daulton was the fifth known player who performed with the Phillies between the 1970s and 1990s to develop brain cancer. His diagnosis followed those of Ken BrettJohnny OatesTug McGraw and John Vukovich.
“Once it happened to Tug, we were all in shock,” said Dickie Noles, a pitcher on that 1980 World Series team, per Miller.
“Then once it happened to Vuke (Vukovich), the other ballplayers kind of had the feeling like, ‘Wow.’ Then when it happened to Daulton, every ballplayer I’ve seen talked about it. There seems to be some correlation with this and baseball. What was the Vet built on? Was it something in the building? The asbestos?”

Brett, brother of Hall of Famer George Brett, succumbed to the disease in 2003 at just age 55. Both McGraw and Oates passed away the following year at ages 59 and 58, respectively. Vukovich died in early 2007 at just 59 years of age.
Daulton is, thankfully, still with us at age 54 now, fighting the disease still personally, as well as through his charitable Darren Daulton Foundation.
The Foundation, per its website, is committed to providing financial assistance to those who suffer from brain cancer, brain tumors and brain injuries. They actively raise funds through events and partnerships.
One of the biggest events is coming up a week from now, as the DD Foundation along with the Philadelphia Phillies hosts their annual golf outing.
The golf outing will be a “four-person scramble” style event held on Monday, October 10 beginning with a noon tee-off at Plymouth Country Club in Plymouth Meeting, PA, approximately 25 miles west of Philly.
According to the Foundation, Daulton is currently “still courageously fighting his battle with brain cancer, he is doing well and is looking forward to attending the tournament and spending the day with his teammates, sponsors and friends.”
A number of the 1993 National League champion Phillies will take place in the golf outing, including starting pitchers Danny JacksonTommy Greene and Ben Rivera, infielders Mickey MorandiniKim Batiste and Ricky Jordan, and outfielder Jim Eisenreich.
Former Phillies players also scheduled to participate include Bowa, Ricky BottalicoLarry ChristensonGreg Gross and many others.
The day at Plymouth will include a luncheon at noon, the golf outing, and a dinner following the golf action at which a number of prizes will be awarded. There will be a sports memorabilia auction as the evening moves along.
For information on participating, those interested can contact Brett Datto at 215-738-2013. For press information, including credentialing, you can contact the Foundation’s social media director, Caleb Mezzy, at 215-570-7245 or at csmezzy@gmail.com.

This coming weekend, prior to the golf outing, there will be a private party held on Sunday, October 9 from 5-9pm at Chickie’s & Pete’s on Roosevelt Boulevard.
The ‘Secret Service Band’ will provide the entertainment for this beef and beer event. Daulton, Greene and other members of that 1993 Phillies team will be present, and there will be a 50/50 raffle and silent auction items.
Limited tickets remain at $30 prior to the day of the event through the DD Foundation website at this link, and $40 on the day of the event. More information on the party can be found on Facebook at this page link. All monies benefit the Darren Daulton Foundation.

Darren Daulton Making a Difference

A Philadelphia Phillies icon remains active in the community through his charitable foundation.

In 1993, the Phillies astounded the baseball world with their magical worst-to-first season. 
That squad, nicknamed ‘Macho Row’, had a clear leader in team captain Darren Daulton.
Known affectionately as ‘Dutch’, the left-handed hitting catcher would play in parts of 14 seasons with the Phillies. 
He made his debut during the Phils’ 1983 NL Championship season, and ended his career winning a World Series with the Florida Marlins in 1997. 
In the 2001 edition of his popular Baseball Abstract, respected baseball statistical guru Bill James ranked Daulton as the 25th greatest catcher of all-time.
Since his retirement, Daulton has remained active with the Phillies organization. He was selected to a place of honor on the Phillies Wall of Fame in 2010, and has since been joined by 1993 teammates Curt Schilling and John Kruk in being so honored.
Daulton also began a charitable organization, the Darren Daulton Foundation, which aids those suffering from brain cancer, tumors, and various injuries. 
Daulton himself had surgery in July of 2013 to resection two brain tumors related to glioblastoma.

The surgery, performed at Philly’s Thomas Jefferson Hospital, was a success, and a year ago Daulton announced that he was cancer-free.

In a press release that came out today from board member Caleb Mezzy, the Foundation has announced a number of partnerships and successes that continued for the charitable organization during 2015. 
These included partnerships with the Philadelphia Phillies, Comcast, Citizens Bank, Yuengling, and the Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa.
These partnerships, and fundraisers such as the annual golf outing at Plymouth Country Club helped raise funds and awareness for the foundation and its good work. 
That work resulted in financial assistance to a number of individuals in the Philly area and around the country suffering from brain cancer, brain tumors, and brain injuries.
The press release also included a number of new additions to the organization board of directors, and announced that former Phillies pitcher Tommy Greene, a 1993 teammate of Daulton’s, has been named the first-ever Ambassador to the Foundation. 
Greene still lives in the area, and is a regular contributor as a TV studio analyst on Phillies post-game broadcasts.
Those who wish to contribute or volunteer with the foundation, or simply learn more information, can visit the official website at the link contained with this article. 
This is just another example of many in which the Phillies as an organization and a number of players and former players as individuals are giving back to the community.