AUSTIN, Texas — Don Baylor, the first manager in Rockies history, died Monday of cancer. He was 68.
“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.
His family said Baylor was diagnosed with multiple myeloma 14 years ago.
He was the Rockies manager in their inaugural season in 1993, leading them to their first postseason appearance in 1995 as a wild card with a 77-67 record. Baylor was named the National League Manager of the Year that year.
He was fired after the 1998 season with a 440-469 record. He returned to the organization as hitting coach in the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
Baylor, the 1979 American League Most Valuable Player, played for the Baltimore Orioles, Oakland Athletics, California Angels, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins in a 19-year career.
He hit .260 with a .342 on-base percentage and 338 home runs during his career. He was also manager of the Chicago Cubs from 2000 to 2002.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Becky and the entire Baylor family,” the Rockies said in a statement. “Don was instrumental in the creation of the Rockies and in his two stints with the club, he left an impact on each and every one of us.
“He was a big man with an even bigger heart, a friend of so many. His persona will be a part of our club heritage forever. This is a sad day in Colorado and for all of baseball.”
The Rockies said they will honor their original manager by hanging a jersey with his name on the back in their dugout.
Baylor is survived by his wife, son Don Jr. and two granddaughters.