Why Conshy loves Darren Daulton (RIP)
Why Conshy loves Darren Daulton (RIP)
by Brian Coll
Of course he was loved by all of Philly and the Phillies fans, but his work ethic and blue collar feel really endured him to the people of this borough through the 80’s and 90’s and even recently when he visited again. Listen, I could give you stats, wins, losses games played and so on, but really, any sports page is going to give you that stuff. We can all talk about 1993, we can talk about him winning the World Series with the upstart Marlins in 1997. One of the things about him that made a connection to the people was the injuries…. he fought through so many injuries and always came back. That reminds me so much of the people here, hard workers, fighters, people that show up day in and day out. Remember in 1993, the Marriot was still fairly new (the Toronto Blue Jays stayed there during the 1993 World Series) It was still a very much blue collar borough and the 1993 Phillies led by “Dutch” really connected with the people here.
I went and did the Phillies Fantasy camp a few years ago, while “Dutch” wasn’t there, I got the chance to talk to a lot of guys who played with him on the 93 team, Mitch, Kruk, Mickey Morandini, ( I am writing that name but hearing Harry Kalas pronounce it) Milt Thompson, Tommy Greene and others. My coaches were Kevin Stocker and Jim Eisenreich, I loved playing with them and more importantly talking baseball. All of them, and I mean all of them…. talked about what Darren Daulton meant to the success of the Phillies in 1993 in addition to other years. In baseball terms it was the way he “called the game” but it went beyond the baseball field, beyond the clubhouse, it went to being a great human being. He cared about his friends and teammates. He was tough on the field, even tougher to other teams, but off the field he was the guy people would go to, to talk about real stuff.
Back to Conshy and Darren Daulton…. I think it was about 4 years ago when the news of his brain cancer came to light. The local fans were shocked by the news and a number of girls I know were afraid of losing their favorite Phillie ( I don’t know why, he wasn’t THAT good looking right?) So, almost 3 years ago when Darren Daulton walked into the Boathouse in Conshohocken it was easy to know why he drew a huge crowd. I think my Facebook feed that night was filled with friends posting selfies of themselves and Darren. He must have spent hours at the Boathouse talking to people, signing autographs and just being a good guy. Later in the night, he wandered into the Great American Pub with a few friends. Same scene there, people took selfies, talked a little baseball and so on. I had actually met him once or twice before over the years and I didn’t want to bother him but I also didn’t want to miss the chance to talk to him one more time, so I went over, reintroduced myself and we started chatting. Funny thing was, we didn’t talk baseball and he was such a sincere kind guy, with all the shit he was going through in life he was asking me how things were. He was a good guy. I remember my parting words were, “I’m just glad you’re alive, keep fighting” Well, he put up a good fight. Rest easy, I’d love to see that pick up game of baseball up in the sky. Maybe our old friend Harry Kalas can call the game. Maybe Richie Ashburn can play half the game, and join Harry in the booth for a few innings. I know Darren Daulton won’t be giving up his spot behind the plate.
Here are a few photos from that night in September of 2014 when he visited The Boathouse and The Great American Pub in Conshohocken:
Darren Daulton and Brian Coll (author) at the Great American Pub in Conshohocken.
Cristy Cupo, Darren Daulton and Ben Bambi at the Great American Pub in Conshohocken.
Ron Januzelli, with his son Jackson and Darren Daulton at Flanigan’s Boathouse in Conshohocken.