Darren Daulton

Dallas Green, Jim Bunning and Darren Daulton remembered on emotional night in South Philly

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Dallas Green, Jim Bunning and Darren Daulton remembered on emotional night in South Philly

The Phillies' annual Wall of Fame ceremony was one of the most emotional in recent memory.
 
The club passed on honoring scheduled inductee Pete Rose, but the event, held before Saturday night's game against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park, did not suffer as the team took the occasion to salute Dallas Green, Jim Bunning and Darren Daulton, three beloved Wall of Fame members who died in recent months.
 
"This has been a very tough year for the Phillies family," Wall of Famer — and Hall of Famer — Mike Schmidt said in a heartfelt address to the crowd of 34,131.
 
"Dallas Green embodied the word 'respect,' — respect for each other and the game and his way of doing things and that led to the World Championship in 1980.
 
"Jim Bunning was about unselfishness. After a Hall of Famer career, he decided to become a Congressman and served the people of his home state (Kentucky) for 23 years.
 
"And Darren Daulton was about love. He was tough as nails and competitive and productive, but at his core was his smile and his ability to draw his teammates toward him.
 
"At our party the night I retired, Darren Daulton grabbed me and gave me a bear hug and a kiss on the cheek and said, 'I love you.' That hug, kiss on the cheek, and an 'I love you,' is what I remember most about my retirement in 1989."
 
Schmidt looked around the stage at fellow Wall of Famers Steve Carlton, Larry Bowa, Dick Allen, Greg Luzinski, Garry Maddox, Tony Taylor, Bob Boone, Juan Samuel, John Kruk, Mike Lieberthal, Charlie Manuel and Jim Thome.
 
"Most of the guys on this stage received that hug over the years," he said.

Indeed, it was a Daulton staple.
 
Dan Stephenson, the Phillies' videographer par excellence, put together his latest masterpiece, a touching big-screen tribute to Green, Bunning and Daulton set to Paul McCartney singing The End of the End.
 
Those weren't raindrops running down people's cheeks.
 
Schmidt also took a moment to remember Ruben Amaro Sr., the former Phillies player, coach, scout and gentleman who died in March.
 
"Live every day like it's your last, be a beacon of light and spread love at home and in your community," Schmidt said. "We celebrate their lives and the memories they left behind."

Phillies will honor Darren Daulton during Alumni Weekend festivities

Phillies will honor Darren Daulton during Alumni Weekend festivities

The Phillies community was hit hard this week with the loss of Darren Daulton. Those in attendance at this weekend's Alumni Weekend games at Citizens Bank Park will have the chance to remember him fondly.

A moment of silence for Dutch will take place at tonight's 7:05 game against the New York Mets. The team said in an official release that the team will "also pay homage to Darren’s legacy before and during" tonight's game. 

This will likely be in the form of a video tribute. We've also heard rumblings of Dutch's No. 10 being displayed somewhere on the field.

Since Pete Rose's Wall of Fame ceremony has been canceled, the Phillies will use Saturday evening's game to honor many of the team's legends, including a special video tribute to those who have left us recently like Jim Bunning, Dallas Green, and Daulton.

In addition to Daulton remembrances, fans attending Sunday's game will receive a Topps Wall of Fame Card Pack featuring baseball cards of players already enshrined on the Phillies Wall of Fame. At least 40 players will be introduced on the field pregame with another tribute to Daulton taking place as well.

UPDATE: There is a No. 10 painted on the dirt behind home plate.

How Darren Daulton, 1993 Phillies became bigger than Disney World

How Darren Daulton, 1993 Phillies became bigger than Disney World

I was 8 years old when my parents were able to afford our first family vacation to Florida.

We were going to Clearwater to see the Phillies, fresh off a 78-84 season, in spring training. My older sister and I couldn't have cared less about that. We had visions of Disney World in our heads.

But something happened on that trip that changed my life forever. It's the reason I'm typing these words right now. Thanks to Darren Daulton and the 1993 Phillies, I fell in love with baseball.

Prior to the first game we attended, we went up to the broadcast booth and talked to Harry Kalas and Richie Ashburn (it would be years before I realized the greatness I was in contact with). Harry the K took down our last name and where we were from so he could say it during the broadcast. A family member taped the game for us on their VCR and I can still hear Harry saying, "The Hudricks are here from Bellmawr, New Jersey."

I played little league and would often pretend I was a baseball player, but watching actual baseball games wasn't my idea of fun. In fact, during the aforementioned video, you could see me, pretending to play baseball in the aisle of Jack Russell Stadium while the Phillies were playing the Twins. It was actually during a workout fans were allowed to attend that baseball took hold of me and didn't let go.

It's almost unfathomable how easy it was to access professional athletes back then. Especially the Phillies, who had finished above .500 only once since reaching the World Series in 1983. The excitement for the Fightin' Phils wasn't exactly at a fever pitch. As a kid, baseball players didn't seem like real people. When I got to see them up close and personal (and not in the 700 level of the Vet), I was in awe.

I watched as the players took batting practice, launching balls over the fence, crushing line drives to the outfield. My sister and I eagerly awaited autographs from these mythical figures.

Larry Andersen was a crowd favorite, joking around with all the kids. Guys like Tommy Greene and Mickey Morandini were always willing to sign a baseball or two. But there was one clear star: Darren Daulton.

I'm not sure the phrase "women want him, men want to be him" fit another human being better than Dutch. My dad loved his style of play and smooth, left-handed swing. My mom had to fan herself off as he approached my sister and me to sign our baseballs. Daulton had a really cool, movie star-like signature. He just had this air about him. He was a rock star but played the game like he was the 25th guy on the roster.

When it came time to plan our next vacation, there was no doubt we would be back in Clearwater. This time around, the crowds were insane. It was tough to get autographs and get as much access to players. But we still found a way to get two cool pieces of memorabilia: one of Dutch's bats — the story of how the bat got into our possession is a family secret, which I won't reveal ... if anyone asks, I obtained the bat totally legitimately — and a batting glove.

The trips to Clearwater became a family tradition so I couldn't tell you the exact year the batting glove happened. Whenever Daulton was done taking BP, he'd throw them into the stands. As the crowds got bigger at Jack Russell, this was Daulton's alternative to signing every single autograph. After one session, the batting gloves were tossed in my direction. An older gentleman also reached for the all-red glove with "10" written on it, but to his credit, the guy let go when he saw a spiky haired kid with gold frame glasses and buck teeth also reaching for it.

It was these experiences and interactions that formed my love of baseball and sports in general. I gradually turned into a sports junkie. When I was eight, my dad explained to me that people get paid money to watch baseball games and write about them. I decided then — yes, at 8 years old — that I wanted to be a sportswriter.

And here we are.

I can't tell you a single thing we did in Disney World during that first vacation, but Darren Daulton and the 1993 Phillies captured my heart forever.