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Daulton in great spirits during Alumni Weekend events

'Dutch' happy to be in place he calls home as he battles brain cancer

PHILADELPHIA -- Darren Daulton was on his way out of the Citizens Bank Park media room on Friday evening when he noticed some old friends out of the corner of his eye.

Daulton, who spent parts of 14 seasons with the Phils, ran over with a big smile on his face and emphatically hugged broadcasters Larry Andersen, Gary Matthews Sr. and Chris Wheeler.

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Daulton is in town for the Phillies Alumni Weekend, and he's in great spirits, but the reason he talked in front of the cameras was to address more somber news.

In July, Daulton was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer. The 51-year-old had two tumors removed from his brain at Jefferson University Hospital a month ago and since then has been spending time at his home in Clearwater, Fla.

Daulton thanked the fans for their support during his remarks, and when he was introduced as a member of the Phillies Wall of Fame on Friday, he received a raucous ovation.

"All I've spoken about with Philadelphia, for many years, is, I feel like it's my home," Daulton said. "And I feel like it's my family. I really enjoy this, and this weekend we're going to have a blast."

Daulton was the unquestioned leader of the Phillies team that went from last place in 1992 to National League champions the following year. Known by most fans as "Dutch," he had 109 RBIs in 1992, but he also had an impact when the fans were not watching.

"I played for 20 years, and I never ever played before, during or after with a better clubhouse presence than Darren Daulton, in any facet," said Curt Schilling, Daulton's teammate for more than five seasons. "He's the reason we did what we did in '93."

Schilling joined Daulton on the Phillies Wall of Fame on Friday, and said other than thinning hair, his former batterymate is the same as he remembers him.

As Daulton fights his disease, he has trouble putting together sentences together from time to time.

"Right now I have [some] problems during the day, every now and then, where I can't understand," said Daulton, who is to begin chemotherapy next week. "I mean, I know what's going on, but I have a problem with talking to myself."

Daulton, sporting his No. 10 jersey, received another ovation when he took part in a base-changing ceremony between the third and fourth innings.

"When he comes in the room, he has that presence, and I don't imagine that will ever leave him," Schilling said.

Daulton's 1993 team will be recognized on Saturday as part of the weekend festivities.

Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for

Philadelphia Phillies