PHILADELPHIA -- It hit hard this summer when Darren Daulton revealed he had brain cancer.
He served as the undisputed leader of the 1993 Phillies, that boisterous bunch that improbably won the National League pennant following a last-place finish in the NL East a year earlier. The rock of that squad learned he had tumors in June and had them removed in July before appearing at Citizens Bank Park in August for Alumni Weekend.
"When he knew he was going to have this surgery, he said, 'Fight on, right on,'" Phillies vice president of alumni relations Larry Shenk said. "That's Darren Daulton."
"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."
The Phillies and every other Major League team are trying to help Daulton and countless others fight on with a unique online auction this week, with the Phils including three fan experiences to benefit cancer research.
Baseball's Winter Meetings include a MLB.com Auction to benefit Stand Up To Cancer, which MLB has supported since 2008 as founding sponsor. Public relations representatives from all 30 clubs were inspired to act based on individual club members impacted by the disease, and they jointly organized the auction, which will be officially announced at a news conference on Monday in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., with MLB staff. Bidding closes at 10 p.m. ET Thursday, with 80 baseball-related experiences ranging from private pitching and batting lessons with players to lunches with general managers to team bus rides and meet-and-greets with Hall of Fame players.
"With the three items donated by the Phillies, we're hoping to help raise significant dollars for SU2C," Phillies vice president of communications Bonnie Clark said. "Last year, in its inaugural year, I don't think any of the clubs knew the level of fan support that would be generated. The results were impressive."
The Phillies' items up for bids include:
• Lunch at Del Frisco's in Center City with Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg. Lunch for the top bidder and three friends with Sandberg, plus each guest receives an autographed Sandberg jersey.
• Take batting practice, shag fly balls and stretch with the Phillies on March 29 or 30.
• Phan in the Phanavision Booth. Be the Phanavision director for a day, which includes choosing the music, the fan shots, special features and instant replay.
"This year, we wanted to make sure our donations to the cause were stand out, priceless experiences," Clark said. "In a friendly, competitive way, I think the clubs, in this second year, are looking to see who can come up with the best, most lucrative items or experiences. We want Phillies fans to say, 'Hey, I have to get that.'
"I mean, who wouldn't want to take part in batting practice or be director for a day in Phanavision? You know, change someone's walk up music unbeknownst to him, decide what fans get to be up on the screen, etc. Lunch with Ryne Sandberg at Del Frisco's is pretty special as well. We hope our fans will pay big dollars to help the cause, especially with cancer hitting so close to home for the Phillies this year. With Darren Daulton's brain cancer diagnosis, it makes you think, 'What can we do to help find a cure?' One more member of the Phillies family being added to the list of people being affected by cancer just isn't fair."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com.