June 28 – Happy Birthday Don Baylor

Don Baylor turns 62-years-old today, which means two things. He can start collecting social security if he chooses to and I'm getting old. I distinctly remember when Earl Weaver started playing Baylor regularly in the Baltimore Orioles' outfield back in 1972. With Paul Blair in center and Don Buford in left, Baylor gave the Birds their three-Bs outfield. He was a hard-nosed big league player from day one who used to crowd the plate and hit the ball as hard as any big leaguer ever did. He remained an Oriole until a year before free agency began and then got traded to the A's in the deal that brought Reggie Jackson to Baltimore. A year later he took advantage of the eradication of baseball's reserve clause and signed with the Angels. He enjoyed the best seasons of his career while playing for California. In 1979 he led the Angels to an AL West division crown and led the league with 120 runs scored and 139 RBIs, while blasting a career-high 39 home runs. That performance won him the AL MVP Award.

He joined the Yankees as a free agent in 1983 and his first season in pinstripes was his best. That year, he was the top DH in the league, hitting a career high .303 with 21 home runs and 85 RBIs. During his three-year stay in the Bronx, he averaged 26 home runs and close to 90 RBIs per season. The Yankees, however, failed to win a Pennant with Baylor in their lineup and when New York Manager Lou Piniella announced his intention to platoon the native Texan with Ken Griffey at DH before the '86 season, he demanded to be traded. The Yankees granted that wish by dealing him to the Red Sox for "The Hit Man" Mike Easler.

An interesting side note about that trade was that it was the first between Boston and New York since the Sparky Lyle for Danny Cater transaction, fourteen years earlier. Baylor played until 1988 and then went into coaching and managing. He skippered the Rockies for six seasons and then managed the Cubs. He shares his June 28th birthday with AL strikeout leaderthis other former Yankee pitcher and this former NY back-up first baseman.
Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1983 NYY 144 597 534 82 162 33 3 21 85 17 40 53 .303 .361 .494 .856
1984 NYY 134 558 493 84 129 29 1 27 89 1 38 68 .262 .341 .489 .830
1985 NYY 142 564 477 70 110 24 1 23 91 0 52 90 .231 .330 .430 .760
19 Yrs 2292 9401 8198 1236 2135 366 28 338 1276 285 805 1069 .260 .342 .436 .777
CAL (6 yrs) 824 3536 3105 481 813 140 7 141 523 89 312 350 .262 .337 .448 .785
BAL (6 yrs) 511 1994 1757 246 482 76 14 57 229 118 164 222 .274 .349 .431 .779
NYY (3 yrs) 420 1719 1504 236 401 86 5 71 265 18 130 211 .267 .345 .472 .817
BOS (2 yrs) 268 1096 924 157 220 31 1 47 151 8 102 158 .238 .348 .426 .774
OAK (2 yrs) 249 998 859 113 205 32 1 22 102 52 92 116 .239 .330 .355 .685
MIN (1 yr) 20 58 49 3 14 1 0 0 6 0 5 12 .286 .397 .306 .703
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/28/2013.

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