Monday, October 22, 2012

#263 Darren Daulton

The player: Darren Daulton is one of the more popular ex-Phillies, perhaps because he was the clubhouse leader for several winning Phillies teams in the early 90s. This is his rookie card.

Daulton, nicknamed “Dutch,” spent several years backing up Ozzie Virgil and Lance Parrish, finding it hard to dislodge the veterans. He did not hit well as a backup, struggling to hit over .200 between 1985 and 1988. The trade of Parrish to the Angels opened up the starting role for Parrish, but initially he hit only .201, but with 8 home runs and 44 RBIs.

Daulton turned it around in 1990, hitting .268 and slugging .414. After a year beset by injuries (but still productive as he hit 12 home runs in 285 at bats), he exploded with a career year in 1992. He would lead the league in runs batted in with 109, and also contribute 27 home runs and 80 runs scored. The next season Daulton put up similar numbers with 24 home runs, 105 driven in, and a career high 90 scored. His 117 walks made up for his fairly average, (.257) average. 1993 also was the first time Daulton would be in the post season, and he hit .263 in the NLCS to help the Phillies win the pennant.

Knee injuries would curtail the rest of Daulton’s career (not helped by having to play his home games on an artificial surface). He had a .929 OPS in 1994, before going down with the injury, and only managed to play in 98 games in 1995, and 5 in 1996, before being traded to the Marlins midway through the next season for reserve outfielder Billy McMillon. 

The Marlins were World Series bound, and Daulton’s final major league at bats were in the series. He hit an astonishing .389 and scored 7 runs in 7 games while earning a World Series ring. Deciding to go out on top, Daulton retired after the final out.

Daulton has been arrested several times for DUI (in 1988, 2001, and 2003), and seems to be a bit of a reckless driver in all events, having had his license suspended several times for other moving violations. An odd bird, Daulton believes in ESP and the occult (including numerology—not surprising as a former big leaguer), and has authored “If They Only Knew” about the subject, a book not very favorably reviewed. He also spends time with his foundation, and running Darren Daulton Enterprises (although I’m unclear how Daulton has expertise on energy and telecommunications, the focus of the company).

Rear guard: Lot to digest here, so I'll pick a "first" at random. Well, Daulton's first (and only) hit in the 1983 season came off Pirates reliever Cecilio Guante. He later came around to score on Jeff Stone's triple.

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