A portrait-like view of hitting coach Don Baylor #25 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during batting practice before the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on July 31, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Brown/Angels Baseball LP/Getty Images)
Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman
Former major-league baseball star Don Baylor died Monday morning after a long struggle with multiple myeloma. He was 68.
Baylor graduated from Austin High School as one of the first African-Americans to attend the school and the very first to play baseball and football for the school.
He played 19 seasons in the major leagues and was a feared power hitter who was known for crowding the plate and taking a pitch -- lots of them. He was hit a then-record 267 times, an example of his toughness and fearless style.
Baylor would have become the first black player in University of Texas history but for his decision to turn down a scholarship offer from legendary coach Darrell Royal to pursue a career in baseball.
Baylor played for six different American League teams -- most notably the California Angels -- but also the Baltimore Orioles, Oakland A’s, New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox. Following his playing career, he became manager for the expansion Colorado Rockies with a six-year stint and later managed the Chicago Cubs for three seasons.
He was drafted by Baltimore in the second round of the 1967 Major Leagues free agent draft and reached the majors in short fashion, making the club in 1970.