Jul 21, 2007

Strange Laundry: Darren Daulton

Darren Daulton
Florida Marlins (1997)
Ten years ago today, the Phillies traded one of my favorite players of all time to the Florida Marlins.

The Philadelphia Inquirer  (July 22, 1997)

Dutch was drafted by the Phillies in the 25th round of the 1980 draft, and he signed with the club 23 days before I was born.  He made his MLB debut just over three years for the 1983 NL Champion Phillies.  He only appeared in two games in the big leagues that season, but he would go on to lead the Phillies to another pennant ten years later.
The Philadelphia Inquirer  (July 22, 1997)

The 1993 Phillies season was one of my happiest childhood memories.  I was living in South Florida with my dad, my stepmother and my stepsister at the time, and I attended my first two Phillies games when they came to town to face the Marlins in the inaugural season of the franchise.  The first was on May 19th, 1993 and the second was on August 6th, 1993José DeLeón started both of those games for the Phils, and he pitched to Darren Daulton.  It ended up being the only two times I ever got to see Dutch play in person.

1998 Topps - Card #218

I'm usually pretty bummed out to see a Phillies legend move on to play for another team, but this is one of the exceptions to that rule.  The Phillies were 30-70 after the first 100 games of the 1997 season.  Although they turned things around a bit toward the end, they still finished in last place in the division.  Meanwhile, the Marlins were a contender and this trade allowed Dutch to go out on a high note.

Daulton appeared 52 games for the Marlins during the second half of the regular season.  The vast majority of his time in Florida came at first base, but he played a few games in the outfield (his catching days were behind him).  He batted .262 with three home runs and was credited by his teammates as a key contributor that helped push the Marlins to finish the season with the NL Wild Card.  The team would go on to defeat the Giants in the NLDS and the Braves in the NLCS before defeating the Indians to win the first World Series Championship in the history of the Florida Marlins.

Dutch batted .389 in the 1997 World Series with a home run off of Charles Nagy in Game 3 of the series.  He won the only ring of his career and retired when the series was over.  There aren't too many players in the history of the game that have an end to their career that can top that, and there are even fewer who are as deserving of such a storybook ending.