Mitch Williams on Darren Daulton: ‘He Was the Captain of Our Chaos'

A host of former Phillies shared fond memories Monday morning after the passing Sunday of former catcher Darren Daulton. 

Daulton was beloved in this area not just for his success on the field and impact on the 1993 Phillies, but also for his big, warm personality.

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Lenny Dykstra called Daulton the "toughest" player he ever played with. Mitch Williams called him "the captain of our chaos."

The respect and admiration Daulton's teammates have for him jumps off the page when you read what some of them had to say.

Lenny Dykstra
"I played with several tough dudes in my career, but Dutch was the toughest. He was the unquestionable leader of our magical 1993 Phillies team that went from last to first, thereby energizing the city of Philadelphia. His unrelenting toughness had a dramatic effect on the mindset with which we all played. 

"Much of Dutch's career was spent in Philadelphia, whereby the team often finished at or near the bottom of the standings. However, that all changed in 1993! We had a feeling in spring training, that something was different that year, and that feeling proved to be right. Our motley crew of characters, given virtually no chance by the prognosticators, swaggered our way to the World Series. Dutch was always the rock the guy who steadied the ship. Jim Fregosi entrusted him to keep us focused and together. Dutch did not disappoint.  

"It's ironic that I am now sharing my memories during this sad time. The reality is that Dutch couldn't stand me, a common feeling amongst many of those who were not my teammates, early in my career. Nonetheless, when I was traded to the Phillies, we became brothers almost immediately. While he had been with the Phillies for a few years, he became a starter in 1989. Within a year, John Kruk, Dave Hollins and I had all joined the team.  Catchers characteristically are the 'coach on the field.' Dutch was more than that. He was our anchor and our leader; ensuring that our focus was always between the lines when we played.  His stewardship and incredible toughness were the inspiration for that magical year in 1993, when we put it all together, and made baseball fun again in Philly. It was a privilege to have played with him, and to have known him. I will miss him."

Mitch Williams
"I believe he was truly loved on a different level than most. He was the Captain of our chaos, the most respected player amongst his peers, and those great players who came before him. He was our rock, our leader in that clubhouse of guys in 1993. He, of course, was first locker on Macho Row - I don't even know how it got the name, but I was fortunate enough to locker next to him, followed by Pete "Inky" Incaviglia, Lenny "Nails" Dykstra, and John "Kruky" Kruk. I say this because while he was undeniably the best looking man in Philly, people probably considered him macho. But what most people don't know about him was that he wasn't afraid to show his emotion. Dutch always had a big hug and a kiss on the cheek for anyone of us who he was happy with. However, when someone needed to be stood up straight, he did it and you knew it. Maybe that's why he kept me close, I don't know, but I'm glad he did. 

"When he walked in a room, or on the field, he commanded it. And let's be honest, women loved Dutch. I think that a lot of baby boys were named after him, either Darren or Daulton, just to have a piece of him. Aside from his rock star looks, he had toughness and grit that was just in your face. Ten knee surgeries couldn't keep him from putting on that gear. I believe he caught over 140 games that year. He was super human to me. With two bags of ice on both knees before every game, he set the tone for us players that year and probably for the rest of our careers. It's pretty hard to go in and ask for a day off with a guy like that in the locker room. His drive and tenacity to grind out every game came from his love of the game, his teammates, the fans, and our beloved owner Bill Giles, affectionately known to us as "Uncle Bill." 

"The memories us teammates, the Phillies organization, and the fans that were along for that ride in '93 have, are forever burned in our hearts and minds, we'll never forget. The monumental impact he had on nearly all of them will never be erased and probably never duplicated. One of my favorite memories of Dutch was when, one of the many times, I walked the bases loaded in the ninth with a two run lead. He comes to the mound just drenched in sweat; it was 104 degrees on the turf that day at the Vet. I'm thinking he's fixing to yell in my face all the things that Kruky had been screaming at me from first base. He comes at me and says 'Are you done ****ing around? It's hot out here and the beer is cold in the clubhouse - let's go!' Well, I got out of that trouble and we won the game. He always knew how to get the best out of me and all of his teammates. 

"Bubba, I will miss you. I will miss laughing with you and reliving all those memories from that glorious year. I will miss your big smile, open arms, with you calling out to me "Pooh" on Alumni weekends. The only comfort I feel today is that Fregosi and Vuk will be waiting for you at the gates of heaven, with a cold beer ready, and talk of how the Phils are doing. Vuk will want to know who to put the freeze on. Harry and Whitey will have the call, 'Look at who is coming to the gate, the Captain, #10, Darren "Dutch" Daulton!' There will be a standing ovation and Harry will lead all of our dearly departed Phillies family in his signature rendition of 'High Hopes!' Love you Dutch-Godspeed, and don't give my locker to anybody else or I'm gonna be pissed!" 

John Kruk
"The first time I saw Darren Daulton we are playing against each other in Triple A and I thought he was just another ordinary player. When I was traded to the Phillies I realized that he was so much more than that. The culture of the Phillies at that time had to change and Darren led the charge for us becoming a championship caliber team, and while doing so he not only became a leader and a friend we became brothers. I will always be grateful for him putting us on his back and carrying us to the World Series. He taught us so much along the way that I will always be indebted to him for that. I love you brother!"

Ed Wade
"Leadership isn't manufactured or contrived. You either have it or you don't. Darren exuded leadership on the field, in the clubhouse, throughout the organization and in public. The likes of Darren Daulton come along very infrequently."

Curt Schilling
"Heart and soul. Those are the two words that define Darren Daulton as a human being and as a member of the Phillies 1993 team.  In my 22 years of baseball, I have never been privileged enough to be around a man who led anywhere near as well as Dutch did.  He was perfect in that role in every sense of the word. From Hollywood looks to never EVER saying the wrong thing, he led us on and off the field. I am forever grateful to call him a friend and a teammate. God blessed me enough to allow me to be around men who changed my life and I'll be forever thankful Dutch was one of those men. God Bless Dutch, now the fastball down and away." 

Jim Leyland
"Darren was one of the toughest players to every play the game."

David Montgomery
"From the day that we drafted him until today, he constantly earned our respect and admiration as both a player and person.  Darren was the face of our franchise in the early 1990's. Jim Fregosi asked so much of him as catcher, clean-up hitter and team leader. He responded to all three challenges. One of my toughest decisions as team president was to approve his trade to the Marlins in July of 1997.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Amanda, his parents, his brother and his four children. Dutch was truly 'one of a kind' and we will dearly miss him."

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