Don Baylor, who won a World Series with Twins, dead at 68

Don Baylor wasn’t with the Twins very long. He was a late-season pickup (from the Boston Red Sox) for a team trying to win a pennant. He was 38 by then without much left in the tank. He played only 20 regular season games here.

But he also played in a World Series and had 5 hits in 5 games.

In game six against the Cardinals, the Twins trailed St. Louis, 5-3, when Baylor homered to tie the game at 5. The Twins went on to win that game, and game seven for their first World Series championship.

Baylor died today. He was only 68. Cancer got him.

That year with the Twins is also the year he broke the all-time record for getting hit by a pitch.

There’s one other memory about Baylor. It’s the last time I saw him in uniform. He got hurt while catching a ceremonial first pitch.

As I’ve said before, nothing makes you feel older than the death of the baseball players of your youth.

  • BJ

    I fondly remember us picking him up. Was a real difference maker.

  • Postal Customer
  • Jim in RF

    One of the best late-season pickups in baseball history. MacPhail was either very good or very lucky.

    • Jack Ungerleider

      Probably a little of both.

  • Barton

    I have an autograph of his when he was first picked up that year. Of course, I hated him for years after that series, being a Cardinals fan and all. Still glad I was at game 6 & 7. Still get teased about it from my high school friends…

    As you say, nothing makes you feel as older than the death of baseball players of our youth.

  • Gary F

    Now I know why he wasn’t there at that Saturday game a few weeks ago celebrating the 1987 team.

  • IIRC, Baylor was brought on-board because he had had recent post-season and World Series experience (Red Sox ’86). Tom Kelly and the front office felt Baylor could anchor the young and more inexperienced Twins team through the post-season jitters.

    • “Frank Viola, the No. 1 starter and 1987 World Series most valuable
      player, said the acquisition of a handful of veterans made the Twins
      legitimate, ‘Specifically Don Baylor.’

      “’He sat between Kirby (Puckett) and I – his locker was between ours –
      and just told us what to expect: ‘You’re going to have a lot of press
      downstairs. This is how you handle it’ this is how you go about your
      business,’’ Viola said in 2007.

      “‘Without him, we, as a group, would not have understood what we had to go through.'”