Baylor: Ferocious competitor, cherished friend

From ESPN - August 12, 2017

Former Orioles and Angels star Don Baylor was remembered for a huge heart and a ferocious competitive streak during a funeral service Saturday in his hometown of Austin, Texas. Baylor died Monday, at age 68, after a 14-year battle with multiple myeloma.

Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, speaking at the service at Greater Mount Zion Baptist Church, recalled coining the nickname "Groove'' for his former Orioles teammate, a reference to Baylor's getting in a groove when he was hitting. Robinson became emotional when he talked about their relationship.

"I was not too friendly with too many people in baseball," Robinson said, "and I do not say too many nice things about them. But there's nothing I can stand here and say bad about our friend Don Baylor.

"This is a tough time for me because I became very close with Donnie, not from when we were seeing each other every day, but in my heart. ... I cherished the man's friendship, and I cherished him as a person."

Bobby Grich, who broke in with Baylor in the Orioles organization in 1967, talked about Baylor's prodigious talent, recalling a barehanded catch he once made in a minor league game.

"He brought everyone on the team up to his level of being a ferocious competitor. And at the same time, he was a catalyst in making the team more cohesive and closer than effort really could," Grich said.

"I would like to ask, on behalf of Donnie Baylor, that we keep his ideals of kindness, color-blindness and being respectful towards everyone close to our hearts and close to our minds."

Baylor is one of just three major leaguers who have won both an MVP award and a Manager of the Year award. The other two were Robinson and Joe Torre, who attended the service along with Tony La Russa, Clint Hurdle, Rod Carew, Tony Clark, Eric Young and many others who played with or for Baylor.


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