Philadelphia Phillies: 50 greatest players of all-time
It took Darren Daulton some time to get his feet under him at the major-league level. But once he did, he became one of the best catchers in franchise history.
Daulton started his career in 1983 with a two-game debut before returning to the minors for all of 1984. He spent 1985 to 1988 as the backup behind All-Stars Ozzie Virgil and Lance Parrish. He didn’t play more than 58 games and never hit above .225 during this time.
Daulton took over as the full-time catcher in 1989, finding his first success at the plate in 1990. He posted a .268/.367/.416 line and 117 OPS+. He was worth 4.0 wins above replacement that year, the third-highest mark of his career.
Daulton fully emerged as a true force to be reckoned with in 1992 with the best season of his career. He led the league with 109 runs batted in, while hitting 27 home runs. He posted a career-high 156 OPS+ and 6.9 wins above replacement, earning his first All-Star appearance and only Silver Slugger award, along with finishing sixth in MVP voting.
Daulton played a huge part in the 1993 NL Championship team, earning another All-Star appearance with 24 home runs, 105 runs batted in and a .257/.392/.482 line. He hit a key home run in the ninth inning of Game 5 of the NLCS and two-run double in Game 6.
Daulton drove in four runs during the World Series that Philadelphia ultimately lost.
Injuries started to take their toll on Daulton after the World Series, as he never played more than 100 games until moving to the outfield in 1997. He was traded to the then-Florida Marlins during the 1997 season, whom he won his first and only World Series of his career.
Daulton finished his career with a .245/.357/.427 line, 114 OPS+, 137 home runs, 588 runs batted in, 891 hits and 1,549 total bases in 1,161 games played. In franchise history, Daulton ranks 26th in WAR, 22nd in offensive WAR, 33rd in defensive WAR, 42nd in on-base percentage, 45th in OPS, 16th in home runs, 26th in runs batted in and 12th in walks.
The team inducted Daulton into the Philadelphia Baseball Wall of Fame in 2010 shortly before he died of brain cancer.