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Tribute To The Late Phillies Legend Darren Daulton

The Philadelphia sports world and the sports world in general is mourning the loss of Philadelphia Phillies legend Darren Daulton who passed away at age 55 on August 6th, 2017 after a long and courageous fight against brain cancer. The man known as “Dutch” continued to fight and remained positive over the years.  SportingEdge founder Tyler Edgerton had the tremendous honor of meeting Daulton at an autograph show in 2015.  I was able to shake his hand.  Hearing Tyler and “Dutch” talk, both Tyler and I left that day realizing how much “Dutch” truly cared about his fans.  The fans loved Darren, but he loved us just as much, if not more.  Daulton was the heart and soul of the 1993 National League Champion Philadelphia Phillies, a team filled with afterthoughts and players that were doubted by outsiders.  Most people didn’t believe that this team was a legitimate threat to make it to or possibly win the 1993 World Series.  Although the Phillies failed to become World Series champions that year, the team defied all odds and along the way reached the World Series, before losing in heartbreaking fashion to the Toronto Blue Jays on a walk off homer by Joe Carter.  This team was the perfect example to show that sports and life isn’t defined and determined on paper.  You need to go out there, play and work hard, and hopefully the results will show at the end of the season.  How does a team with characters such as Mitch Williams, Lenny Dykstra, and John Kruk just to name a few, have that type of success without coming across bad habits.  The answer is Darren Daulton.

Darren Daulton was a major key to the 1993 Phillies on field success, but the behind the scenes leadership in the clubhouse, dugout, and locker room is what made this team special.  Some of the above mentioned characters and the team as a whole needed someone to step in and be a leader and Daulton accepted that challenge.  Daulton set the example on the field with his play, but would also do a great job of encouraging his teammates with a pep talk or even a hug and a kiss.  “Dutch” viewed his teammates as his brothers.  “Dutch” could be tough on his teammates when needed.  If a player was out of line or a player wasn’t playing with enough effort, he had no problem with getting them back on track and keeping them in line.   It takes a special personality to do something like that.  All great teams have a leader and Darren Daulton’s leadership is what ultimately led that team to the 1993 World Series.  While Daulton came up short of winning a championship with the Phillies, he would get his chance with the Florida Marlins in 1997 after he was traded.  David Montgomery has said that trading Darren Daulton was one of the toughest decisions he ever made.  Daulton won the 1997 World Series as a Marlin and then decided to retire right after the World Series.  Daulton’s on field accomplishments such as winning a ring, getting All Star selections, and making the Phillies Wall Of Fame are all great accomplishments, but his personality and smile are what people will remember most.  Everyone admired him for those traits and women admired him for his good looks, so much so that many women did or wanted to name their child or children names such as “Darren” or Daulton.”  His impact was also felt by another local professional athlete named Carli Lloyd.  Ste admired him when she was a kid.

Carli Lloyd, U.S. Women’s soccer star and 2015 Women’s World Cup hero from Delran, New Jersey grew up being a huge fan of Philadephia sports, in particular the Phillies.  She is also one of the athletes that I met at the autograph show and she posted a photo with a short little caption later that day in regards to her being honored to meet Daulton and get a picture of him.  The photo directly below is the post I just discussed and then the one below that post was the post she added on Facebook after Daulton’s passing.   Daulton was her favorite Phillies player and if I  was the reason or at least one of the reasons why she decided took the liking to the number 10.  Now looking back on that day, I remeber when I met Carli and got a photo op with her that she shared many of the great qualities that I previously described about Darren.  She is a very kind person and seemed to show a great appreciation for her fans.  She, much like Darren, also had a great smile that can be affectious on others, but at the same time played the game hard and with great effort.  Darren Daulton wasn’t just admired by his teammates, he was admired by people that he didn’t even know.  He also admired both his teammates and people that he didn’t know as well.

In Darren Daulton’s post playing career, he remained close to the Philadelphia Phillies organization.  Appearances during Phillies Alumni Weekend were great to see.  He would make appearances at other various team functions as well.  Daulton was admired by his fans and the feeling was definitely mutual.   Anyone who has met “Dutch” has always had great things to say about him.  Many people were impressed with how much he cared about his fans and how much he geniunely cared about what they were up to and how they were doing just as much as we geniunely cared about how he was doing.  He always made time for his fans and he is one of the rare athletes that realizes that a large part of his success is due to his fans and the support that they give to him.  Daulton unfortunately had to fight courageous and tough battles against brain cancer, but throughout that time, he continued to stay positive, keep fighting, and he stayed true to who he always was.  When Tyler and I met Daulton, you could see that Daulton was doing much better and looked good.  He was in great spirits and seemed to be having a great time signing autographs and taking photos with his fans.  Unfortunately, Darren Daulton recently had to fight brain cancer once again and it sadly took his life far too soon.  “Dutch” will never be forgotten by sports fans, especially Philadelphia sports fans and his legacy and the love will live forever.

Author:  Nick Eberhardt

Image Courtesy Of MLB.com

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