Rockies First Manager Dies
When Colorado was awarded an expansion team in 1993, the team name and colors were decided. What they needed then were the right players and the right man to lead them. It’s not easy to come out of the gate with a brand new franchise and compete in the National League West. Of all the decisions the new ownership had to make, choosing the right manager was critical. They chose wisely.
Don Baylor passed away today at the age of 68. Don was the very first manager for the Rockies and it was his task to field a winning team and to build excitement for the new franchise. All things were new for him and the team, except the building they played in. The Rockies had to share the old Mile High Stadium with the Broncos their first two seasons. In 1995, Don Baylor had the added pressure of gaining traction in the the National League West when they opened the doors to the brand new Coors Field. A new stadium means greater expectations. Don Baylor met those expectations by leading the Rockies to the postseason for the first time as a wild card and picked up Manager Of The Year honors. Don lead the Rockies to the best five year record for an expansion team in Major League Baseball history.
Don left after the 1998 season, but returned to Colorado as a hitting coach for the 2009-2010 seasons.
In all, Don had 19 years of MLB experience: an All-Star, A Silver Slugger Award recipient, a World Series ring, and a Roberto Clemente Award winner.
We cannot be more thankful for the time he gave us and for taking the reigns of a brand new organization. The Rockies success everyday since he left can be credited to him.
Thank you, Don! RIP