Don Baylor Cause of Death: How the Baseball Legend Lost His Battle with Cancer

Don Baylor, a former American League MVP and World Series champion, died on August 7, 2017, at the age of 68. He had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer, in 2003 and had been fighting the disease for 14 years. His death was confirmed by his son, Don Baylor Jr., to the Austin American-Statesman.

Who was Don Baylor?

Don Baylor was born on June 28, 1949, in Austin, Texas. He was one of the first African Americans to integrate Texas public schools in junior high school. He excelled in both baseball and football at Austin High School, where he was the first African American to play athletics at that school.

He was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in 1967 and made his major league debut in 1970. He played for six different American League teams in his 19-year career, mainly the Orioles and the California Angels. He was known for his power hitting and his ability to get hit by pitches, as he crowded the plate. He set the Red Sox team record for most hit by pitches in a season (35 in 1986) and ranks fourth all-time with 267 career beanings.

He won the AL MVP award in 1979 with the Angels, when he led the league with 139 RBIs and hit .296 with 36 home runs. He was also an All-Star that year and won three Silver Slugger Awards in his career. He reached the World Series three times in consecutive years with three different teams: the Red Sox in 1986, the Twins in 1987, and the Athletics in 1988. He won the championship with the Twins in 1987 and hit a home run in his final at-bat in Game 6. He retired with 2,135 hits, 338 home runs, and 285 stolen bases.

After his playing career, he became a manager and a coach for several teams. He was the first manager of the expansion Colorado Rockies from 1993 to 1998 and led them to their first postseason appearance in their third year of existence. He won the NL Manager of the Year award in 1995. He also managed the Chicago Cubs from 2000 to 2002 and coached for the Brewers, Cardinals, Braves, Mets, Mariners, Rockies, Diamondbacks, and Angels. He was inducted into the Angels Hall of Fame in 2015.

What is multiple myeloma?

Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that affects plasma cells, which are a type of white blood cell that produce antibodies to fight infections. When plasma cells become abnormal and multiply uncontrollably, they crowd out normal blood cells and interfere with their functions. They also produce abnormal antibodies that can cause kidney damage, bone damage, nerve damage, and other problems.

The exact cause of multiple myeloma is unknown, but some risk factors include age (most people are diagnosed after age 65), race (African Americans are more likely to develop it than whites), family history, obesity, radiation exposure, and certain chemicals.

The symptoms of multiple myeloma vary depending on the stage and severity of the disease. Some common symptoms include bone pain, fatigue, infections, kidney problems, weight loss, nausea, constipation, and confusion.

There is no cure for multiple myeloma, but treatments can help control the disease and improve quality of life. The treatments may include chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, stem cell transplant, radiation therapy, surgery, and supportive care.

The survival rate for multiple myeloma depends on many factors, such as age, stage, response to treatment, and overall health. According to the American Cancer Society , the five-year relative survival rate for people diagnosed with multiple myeloma is about 54%, while the 10-year relative survival rate is about 37%. However, these numbers are based on data from people who were diagnosed between 2009 and 2015 , so they may not reflect the most recent advances in treatment.

How did Don Baylor cope with his cancer?

Don Baylor was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2003 , when he was managing the Cubs. He underwent chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant that year and continued to work as a coach for several teams until 2015 , when he had to take a leave of absence from the Angels due to complications from his cancer treatment.

Baylor was open about his cancer diagnosis and his treatment journey. He participated in several awareness campaigns and fundraising events for multiple myeloma research and support. He also wrote a book with his wife, Rebecca, called Nothing But The Truth: A Baseball Life , in which he shared his personal and professional stories and his insights on the game he loved.

Baylor was known for his courage, dignity, and optimism in the face of his cancer. He never gave up hope and never complained about his condition. He said in an interview with in 2015 : “I don’t look at it as a death sentence. I look at it as something I have to deal with. I’m not going to let it take over my life. I’m going to live my life the best way I can.”

Baylor also said that his faith, his family, and his friends helped him cope with his cancer. He said: “I have a strong faith in God. He’s been with me every step of the way. My wife has been unbelievable. She’s been my rock. And I have a lot of friends in baseball who have been very supportive and encouraging.”

Baylor died on August 7, 2017 , at his home in Austin, Texas, surrounded by his loved ones. He is survived by his wife, Rebecca; his son, Don Jr.; his two granddaughters; and his brother, Doug.

How is Don Baylor remembered?

Don Baylor is remembered as one of the greatest players and managers in baseball history. He is also remembered as a leader, a mentor, a role model, and a friend to many people in the baseball community and beyond.

Many former teammates, players, coaches, executives, and fans paid tribute to Baylor after his death. They praised his skills, his achievements, his character, his generosity, and his spirit. They also expressed their condolences to his family and their gratitude for his impact on their lives.

Some of the tributes included:

  • “Don Baylor was one of the most respected men to ever play or manage in the big leagues. He was a man of great integrity and character who cared deeply for the game and everyone involved in it.” – Rob Manfred , MLB commissioner
  • “Don was a true gentleman who had the utmost respect for the game and all those who played it. He was one of the most genuine people you could ever meet.” – Joe Torre , MLB chief baseball officer and former Yankees manager
  • “Don was not only a great player and manager but also a great friend. He always had a smile on his face and made everyone around him better.” – Reggie Jackson , Hall of Famer and former Yankees teammate
  • “Don was a tremendous leader who inspired everyone around him. He was a mentor to me and many others who came up through the Angels organization.” – Mike Scioscia , Angels manager
  • “Don was a fierce competitor who never backed down from a challenge. He was also a compassionate person who cared deeply for others.” – Paul Molitor , Hall of Famer and former Twins teammate
  • “Don was an incredible person who touched so many lives with his kindness and generosity. He was like a father figure to me and taught me so much about the game and life.” – Torii Hunter , former Angels outfielder

Don Baylor’s legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of all those who knew him, played with him, learned from him, or admired him. He will always be remembered as a baseball legend who fought hard on and off the field.


Don Baylor cause of death was multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer that he battled for 14 years. He died on August 7, 2017, at the age of 68. He was a former AL MVP, World Series champion, manager, coach, and author who left a lasting mark on baseball and beyond. He is remembered as a courageous, dignified, optimistic, respectful, generous, and genuine person who inspired many people with his skills, achievements, character, and spirit.

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