Former Phillies catcher Darren Daulton is recovering after having two brain tumors removed Monday. NBC10's Rosemary Connors spoke to surgeons at Jefferson University Hospital, who say they had to keep him awake, and ask him sports questions during the 7-hour procedure.
The surgery for one of the most beloved Phillies alumni "went well," according to doctors.
Darren Daulton, who spent parts of 14 seasons with the Phightins, announced that he was diagnosed with two brain tumors last week.
Monday morning, doctors operated on the Phillies Hall of Famer at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.
Earlier, Daulton thanked his fans for the outpouring of support he has received since 97.5 The Fanatic, the radio station where he hosts "Talking Baseball with Dutch," broke the news.
“I want to thank everyone for your uplifting support. Special thanks to the Phillies and 97.5 The Fanatic. Right on, fight on! Love ya, Dutch,” Daulton said in statement released by the radio station.
In a statement posted on their website, the station announced that Daulton had not been feeling well for the past two weeks and went to the doctor, who discovered the tumors.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family at this difficult time," said the statement.
During Monday's surgery, doctors say preserving speech function was their top priority since Daulton showed signs of difficulty communicating. The procedure involved "language mapping," in which doctors probed Daulton's brain. Daulton had to be awake during the surgery. To keep him talking, doctors asked him sports questions.
"I directly stimulating the surface of his brain," said Dr. Kevin Judy. "What we looked for was speech arrest. If I stopped him from talking, then that means that's a language area."
Doctors announced that Daulton is awake and that the surgery "went well" during a press conference at 4:30 p.m.
"Darren is awake in the ICU and talking with his family right now," Judy said.
Judy says he and his team removed both of the tumors from the left side of Daulton's brain completely. On a scale of one to 10 in terms of difficulty, Judy called the surgery, which took between six and seven hours, an "eight." According to Judy, preserving Daulton's language was key, as the former Phillie's communication skills suffered before he was diagnosed.
"He had difficulty fully understanding and expressing himself," Judy said. "He would look to his significant other to finish his sentences sometimes."
The late Harry Kalas, pictured on the right with Daulton, once referred to him as the "all time clubhouse leader of the Philadelphia Phillies."
That leadership was key in helping the rag-tag 1993 Phillies win the National League pennant.
Those Phillies fell short of winning the World Series, but Daulton eventually did get his championship after being traded to the Florida Marlins during the 1997 season. He ended his career that October with a World Series title.
Daulton, 51, now chairs the Darren Daulton Foundation, which helps in the development of youth sports programs and homelessness organizations.
97.5 offered up Daulton's email address of firstname.lastname@example.org to anyone who would like to send their well wishes.
Doctors hope to release him by July 4.