DENVER -- The loss of Don Baylor has been felt around baseball for almost a week, during which time the Rockies have been on the road. Now back home, the club honored the organization's first manager prior to Monday's series opener vs. the Braves.The Rockies played a video tribute to
DENVER -- The loss of Don Baylor has been felt around baseball for almost a week, during which time the Rockies have been on the road. Now back home, the club honored the organization's first manager prior to Monday's series opener vs. the Braves.
The Rockies played a video tribute to Baylor on the Coors Field scoreboard and held a moment of silence.
"I knew Don differently than how the Rockies organization did and the Rockies fans. I knew him as a competitor and an opponent," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "Very fierce, great hitter. For me, he was menacing being a right-handed power hitter.
"And then sort of getting to know him casually just around the batting cage when we both were coaches and so forth, post-playing career, I always thought he was a great gentleman. I thought he had a lot of class."
Baylor went 10-for-31 against Black (with five walks and four hit by pitches) tallying a lifetime OPS of .991.
Slugger Carlos Gonzalez also has personal ties to Baylor, as the late manager helped Gonzalez with his approach in the Minors. Baylor was also Gonzalez's hitting coach when he was traded to the Rockies for Matthew Holliday after the 2008 season.
Gonzalez said Baylor helped him grip the bat more loosely and work in a leg kick at the plate -- something Gonzalez had done growing up but got rid of in the Minors with the Athletics.
"He definitely changed the game for me and a lot of players in this organization," Gonzalez said. "I had him the year I won the batting title [in 2010] and … he had a lot to do with it. It was sad news when I heard."
Baylor was 68 years old when he passed away Aug. 7 after a long battle with multiple myeloma, a form a cancer that affects the bones.
Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver.