With a throwback mentality, the team adhered to baseball’s Code. Designed to preserve the moral fabric of the game, the Code’s unwritten rules formed the bedrock of this diehard team whose players paid homage and respect to the game at all times. Trusting one another and avoiding ideas of superstardom, they consistently rubbed the opposition the wrong way and didn’t care. William C. Kashatus pulls back the covers on this old-school band of brothers, depicting the highs and lows and their brash style while also digging into the suspected steroid use of players on the team. Macho Row is a story of winning and losing, success and failure, and the emotional highs and lows that accompany them.
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About the Author
William C. Kashatus holds a PhD in history from the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of more than twenty books, including Jackie and Campy: The Untold Story of Their Rocky Relationship and the Breaking of Baseball’s Color Line (Nebraska, 2014). He has also published essays in a multitude of periodicals, including the Philadelphia Inquirer, American History Magazine, Baltimore Sun, Christian Science Monitor, New York Times, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Kashatus has appeared on NPR and Pennsylvania Cable Network, as well as on many local television and radio stations.
Read an Excerpt
The 1993 Phillies and Baseball's Unwritten Code
By William C. Kashatus
UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA PRESSCopyright © 2017 William C. Kashatus
All rights reserved.
On March 15, 1987, Darren Daulton was rehabbing from a left-knee injury in the weight room at the Phillies' spring-training camp in Clearwater, Florida. Nine months earlier Mike Heath of the St. Louis Cardinals barreled him over at home plate, bringing Dutch's season to an inglorious end. Three separate surgeries on the injured knee followed before the end of the year. But after three months of intensive rehabilitation, Daulton still couldn't fully extend the knee without excruciating pain.
Shortly after completing the rigorous workout, Dutch learned that team president Bill Giles had signed free-agent catcher Lance Parrish to a one-million-dollar contract. The news struck like a lightning bolt. In short order disbelief morphed into frustration, then anger, and finally rage. Daulton felt deceived. He had already paid his dues.
Drafted out of Arkansas City (Kansas) High School by the Phillies in the twenty-fifth round in 1980, the six-foot-two catcher had spent the better part of five seasons in the Minors. When he was finally promoted to the Majors in 1985, Daulton rode the bench, first as an understudy to Bo Diaz and, later, Ozzie Virgil. Not once did he complain — about bouncing between Philadelphia and the farm system, about the sparse playing time he received in the Majors, or even about the near-career-ending injury he sustained from the home-plate collision in 1986. But now Diaz and Virgil were gone, traded to other organizations. Daulton was next in line to become the Phillies' starting catcher, and he was justifiably upset when Giles signed Parrish, a perennial All-Star.
Daulton confronted the team president later that day, demanding to know "what the hell was going on." Dutch liked Giles as a person, and his affection for him would become so great that, by 1993, he would address the Phillies' president as "Uncle Bill." The feelings were mutual. Giles prided himself in being a father figure to the young catcher. Known for a strong desire to make others happy, Giles assumed the role of a Dutch uncle for many of the team's younger players. But the Phillies' president also knew how to take the "hard love" approach when necessary. He anticipated a confrontation with Daulton and was fully prepared.
"I just heard some pretty upsetting news, Mr. Giles," began the young catcher, cutting to the chase. "Is it true that you signed Lance Parrish?"
When Giles acknowledged that he had made the deal, Daulton braced himself for what he had to say next. He was a quiet, reserved person by nature. "Speeches" never came easily for him, so he had to choose his words carefully. Giles was, after all, his boss and deserved his respect. But Dutch also felt compelled to defend himself. It was a lesson his mother had taught him as a youngster. "If you've got a problem with another person," she'd say, "you go to him and straighten it out. Don't ever go behind his back. That person might not like it, but they'll respect you for it." Now it was time to put the lesson to use.
"Since 1980, I've given everything to this organization," said Daulton, looking the team president straight in the eye. "Before last season I was told to be patient; that my time would come. Well, last season my time came."
Giles was impressed. He had never seen this side of the young catcher. But he still defended his decision to sign Parrish, explaining that the Phillies' performance "had declined" since they "won their last pennant in 1983, and the star players were aging." "If I can sign a top-notch catcher who can also hit for power, I think we can legitimately compete for one more division title before we rebuild."
Daulton took exception to the suggestion that he couldn't hit for power. "Before I got hurt in June, I caught forty-nine games, and I hit eight homers and knocked in twenty-one runs," he argued. "Only Schmitty [Mike Schmidt] had more at the time. If I hadn't destroyed my knee, I would've had at least twenty homers and sixty-some RBI. And that was hitting in the bottom of the order. If I'd hit higher, I'd've had even more!"
Giles hesitated. He realized that Daulton had shown promise as a power hitter the previous season and that his slugging helped the team jump from the .500 mark in May to third place in June before he tore up his knee. But the Phillies' president also felt that Dutch was still a year away from starting full-time and that Parrish was an established cleanup hitter, who would immediately improve the team's offense.
"Look Dutch, I know you're disappointed," Giles conceded. "But I'm getting a lot of pressure from the older veterans to sign Parrish. They want to win now, and time is running out for them. Schmidt's at the top of the list. Just think how much he would benefit with Parrish hitting behind him. He'd see a lot more fastballs, and that means a lot more RBI for us."
Deep down, Daulton couldn't disagree with the logic. Parrish, who helped the Detroit Tigers win a world championship in 1985, was one of the most dominant catchers in the American League. He was a six-time All-Star who had won five Silver Slugger Awards and a Gold Glove. Parrish was also an intimidating power hitter, averaging twenty-five home runs and one hundred RBI per year during his last five years in Detroit. By comparison, Dutch, in parts of three seasons with the Phillies, never batted higher than .225 and hit a total of just twelve homers and thirty-two RBI. Nor had he proved himself behind the plate. The twenty-five-year-old Kansan was much better known for his movie-star good looks and chiseled physique, which resembled that of a Greek god. He still had pride, though.
"Don't give up on me," Daulton told Giles before walking away. "I'll be an All-Star one day, too."
It would've been foolish to bet against him.
Born on January 3, 1962, in Arkansas City, Kansas, Darren Arthur Daulton was destined to be a Major League catcher. Raised by a family of strong German stock, Daulton learned mental and physical toughness, the will to achieve whatever goals he set for himself, and the leadership skills that made others around him better. Mental and physical toughness was cultivated by his older brother, Dave Jr. "Darren and [Dave] Junior got into it all the time," recalled Dave Daulton Sr., their father. "Junior was two years older and had to work pretty hard at school and sports, but those things came naturally for Darren. So they were bitter rivals growing up."
One night Junior got so mad at his younger brother that he jumped into his '65 Mustang and chased him around the local Little League field. The two brothers caused such a commotion that the neighbors called the police. When they were hauled down to the station, their father had to bail them out. At six foot seven, 260 pounds, Dave Sr. was an intimidating figure. "They were pretty scared when I showed up," he said. "They didn't mess with me. I was big on accountability. They knew what was coming. I lifted Junior's [car] keys and grounded both of them for two weeks." On another occasion Darren, who was physically smaller than his brother, instigated a fight. Then he ran inside the house, locked the door, and stuck his face up against the window to taunt his older brother. "It was the dumbest thing I ever did," recalled Darren years later. "Junior punched me in the face. He just put his fist right through that window." Not until Darren left home to pursue a career in professional baseball did the two brothers end their rivalry. Since then they've been close friends.
"Darren was pretty ornery when he was a kid," said his father. "But he was also compassionate," added his mother, Carol.
I taught both of my sons to respect other people and never be critical of anyone until you've walked in their shoes. I remember when Darren was in middle school. We had a little boy across the street who was always getting into trouble. His parents were divorced. He had no friends, and he just wanted someone to pay attention to him. I told Darren that he should be nice to the boy because he was hurting. Whenever the kids picked on that boy in school, Darren would go up to the bullies and tell them to stop. It took a lot of compassion and courage to do something like that at his age, and I know that that little boy looked up to Darren because of it.
"Compassion," "courage," and "sympathy" — three qualities that Carol Daulton instilled in her sons and would later inform the leadership Darren demonstrated as a Major League catcher. "My mother taught me those things," he said in a 2013 interview. "She always took the underdog's side, no matter how unpopular it was. That taught me the importance of putting myself in another person's position, the importance of listening to someone else's side of a story." But it was his father, Dave Sr., who gave Darren his work ethic and explained how to apply the sympathy his mother taught him on a baseball diamond. "My dad tossed me a catcher's mitt when I was six and told me, 'That's your position,'" he recalled. "Even in winter, we'd clear snow in the driveway to play catch. My dad worked with me year-round, insisting that I had to put in the time if I wanted to be good at it, that catching comes first. He also told me that handling pitchers is a big part of catching and that I needed to know how to call a game, how to get the most out of my pitching staff. A catcher needs to know his staff inside out. And that lesson registered loud and clear."
Daulton's will to succeed, however, was learned in three different sports. Although he was a natural athlete, Darren possessed a fierce competitiveness and a unique ability to prevail in any athletic endeavor. He was also ambidextrous and exceptionally coordinated, attributes that allowed the youngster to excel in wrestling and football, as well as in baseball. At age ten Darren weighed just sixty pounds, but he was such an aggressive wrestler that he earned the respect of teammates and opponents alike. His youth coaches were so impressed they voted him into the Ark City Takedown Club's Hall of Fame. Daulton was also known to put the team first, something that enhanced his capacity to lead others. As a sophomore at Arkansas City High School, he was only five foot nine and 140 pounds, but he slipped his weight up or down into whatever class the team needed to compete successfully. Not only did Darren earn two varsity letters in wrestling, but he also received All-State honors in his senior year.
In football Daulton starred at cornerback for the Arkansas City Bulldogs in both his junior and his senior years. "Darren was outstanding defensively because he was such a tough kid and a real hard hitter," recalled Ron Hill, the Bulldogs' head football coach from 1977 to 1980. "Of the thirty interceptions our team had in 1978, Darren, as a junior, had one-third of them." One of those interceptions came in the state championship game. The Bulldogs were clinging to a two-point lead late in the fourth quarter when Daulton intercepted a pass. It should have clinched the state title for Arkansas City, but the Bulldog offense turned the ball over on the next set of downs and lost the game in the final seconds on a field goal. In 1979, Daulton's senior year, he quarterbacked the Bulldogs to a perfect 12-0 record and led the team to a 19–7 victory against Liberal High School in the state championship game. "Darren was by nature a running quarterback," said Hill. "We didn't throw the ball much. Instead, we played a Wing T formation and divided up the carries among our backs. We also ran a pitch-sweep, and Darren, as the QB, would lead the blocking. He was one of the very few quarterbacks in the state who could block backside because he was so tough. That offense worked so well that in 1979 we were ranked one of the top teams in the nation, averaging forty-seven points a game."
Despite his small size, Hill believes that Daulton could have played Division I football. "Darren would have been a good defensive back at that level," he said. "What he might've lacked in speed, he made up for in aggressiveness and intelligence. But I knew that Darren never had any intention of playing college football. Baseball always came first with him." Hill came to appreciate that fact in August 1978. That summer Daulton's American Legion baseball team won their region and was competing for the state title. While the team was in Hayes, Kansas, where the state tournament was being played, Hill notified the rising juniors that they had better return to Arkansas City for preseason practice, or they would lose their starting positions that season. Four of the five kids who played both baseball and football did as they were told. But when Daulton learned of the ultimatum, he said, "Bullshit! I'm staying here. Baseball's more important!"
To be sure, Daulton's love affair with baseball began at age six when his eight-year-old brother began playing Little League. Their father, a former pitcher and catcher, coached the team. He allowed Darren to play in games until the other parents began to complain that he was too young to be eligible. Despite Darren's pleas his father complied with the league's rules and benched his younger son. But he continued to coach Darren through Babe Ruth League. American Legion and tournament baseball followed. One season Darren caught for a Chandler Bat team that went undefeated with a perfect 41-0 record. At Arkansas City High School he was the starting varsity catcher his sophomore, junior, and senior years. "Darren was a five-tool player who could field, run, throw, hit, and hit for power," said Mike West, who was the head baseball coach at the school. "In addition, he was a left-handed-hitting catcher. So he was truly exceptional, and I think he knew early on just how good he was." Although the game came naturally to Daulton, West said that he also worked hard to become better and that his desire and drive made the team better.
"Once, in a game against our rival, Winfield High School, our starting pitcher was trying to do too much, and he was getting hit pretty bad," recalled West. "I asked the umpire for time to go talk with him. When I reached the mound, Darren was already there, chewing him out. He knew all our pitchers, how to handle them, and he was always spoton.
"Darren made people step up. He always gave his very best whenever he stepped on to the field, and he wouldn't tolerate anything less from his teammates. To find someone that young with that kind of passion, selflessness, work ethic, and integrity was truly exceptional."
Baseball was the driving force in Daulton's young life. Although he had the potential to play the game at the Division I level, Darren wanted to play in the Majors and to get there as soon as possible. Pro scouts began coming around in his junior year, but their numbers swelled in his senior year. Many high school athletes would let all the attention go to their head; not Daulton. "Darren was a very polite and intelligent young man," said West. "He had a certain swagger, but his parents made sure he stayed grounded."
Mike Dobson, who taught world history at Arkansas City High School, remembers Daulton as a "solid B student who could've easily been an A student." "He just didn't apply himself because school wasn't as important to him as baseball," recalled Dobson. "I knew he was a good kid who could make something of himself if he went to college." One day Dobson tried to convince Daulton that a college education would take him much further in life than baseball.
"Darren, what are you going to do with yourself after high school?" asked the history teacher.
"I'm going to play Major League Baseball," he replied.
Dobson had anticipated the response and persisted. "Darren, when I was your age I told everyone that I was going to play professional football. But that never happened. So, let me ask you again, 'What are you going to do with your life?'"
The teen looked his teacher straight in the eye and said, "I'm going to play Major League Baseball."
"Okay," said Dobson, determined to give his student a reality check. "What are you going to do when baseball doesn't work out?"
For the third and final time, Daulton replied, "I'm going to play Major League Baseball."
There was nothing discourteous about the exchange. Darren was always respectful to his teachers. But he was adamant that his future was in professional baseball, and no one was going to convince him otherwise. "I look back on that conversation now, and I realize how foolish I was to ever question him," said Dobson in a recent interview. "Darren knew what he wanted, went after it, and achieved it."
Excerpted from Macho Row by William C. Kashatus. Copyright © 2017 William C. Kashatus. Excerpted by permission of UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA PRESS.
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Table of Contents
ContentsList of Illustrations,
2. Gang of Six,
4. Boo Birds,
6. Fourth Estate,
7. Spring Training,
8. Wild Thing,
9. Lightning in a Bottle,
11. Dog Days,
13. Hide the Women and Children!,
14. The Series,
15. Inspiring Moneyball,
16. Breaking the Code,
Appendix A. Major League Career Statistics for Members of Macho Row,
Appendix B. Individual Hitting and Pitching Statistics for the 1993 Phillies,
Appendix C. 1993 National League Championship Series Box Scores,
Appendix D. 1993 World Series Box Scores,