PHILADELPHIA - The Phillies received news that shook everyone connected with the franchise Wednesday afternoon.
Former Phillies catcher Darren Daulton was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. Daulton, who underwent surgery on July 2 to remove two brain tumors, is 51. The American Brain Tumor Association calls Daulton's form of cancer "highly malignant."
"It saddens me, but I'll remain optimistic" Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said before Philadelphia hosted the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night.
Amaro also played for the Phillies and was a teammate of Daulton in the 1990s.
"I'm hoping and praying things go well for him.," Amaro said. "He's got a tough road ahead of him."
Daulton's charity foundation released the following statement on Daulton's condition Wednesday afternoon.
"Darren has been diagnosed with a Glioblastoma ("GBM"), a form of brain cancer. He has returned to his Clearwater area home to continue recuperating amongst his immediate family and friends. He will eventually begin treatments in Florida. Darren and his family wish to thank everyone for their loving support throughout this difficult time. He is deeply touched. In typical fashion, he again said, 'Right on; Fight on.' Darren and his family request that everyone respect his privacy and that of his family during this period of time."
Daulton, nicknamed Dutch, is one of the most popular players in Phillies history and the inspirational leader of the 1993 team that won the National League pennant and lost to the Toronto Blue Jays in the World Series.
A three-time All Star, Daulton led the National League with 109 RBIs in 1992. He hit 24 home runs and knocked in 105 runs in 1993.
Daulton made his Philadelphia debut in 1983 and played until 1997. The Phillies traded Daulton to the Florida Marlins halfway through that season. He retired after 1997. Daulton was hampered by knee troubles but he still finished his career with a .245 average, 137 home runs and 588 RBIs. The Phillies inducted Daulton into their Wall of Fame of Fame in 2010.
Daulton had been hosting a radio show on 97.5 The Fanatic when the tumors were found after he complained of headaches.
The 1993 Phillies still remain popular with fans. The Phillies will honor the 20th anniversary of that team during the club's alumni weekend on Sunday, Aug. 4.
News of Daulton's diagnosis filtered through Citizens Bank Park before Wednesday night's game.
Chris Slemmer visited Daulton's plaque on the Wall of Fame in Ashburn Alley before the game.
"That '93 team was so much fun to watch," the 35-year-old from Sellersville, Pa., said. "At that point, no other team in the city was winning. I was 15 in 1993. I never even saw the '80 team (who won the World Series) play. I was 2-years-old."
Steve Schlenker took a photograph Wednesday night in front of the part of the Wall of Fame exhibit that detailed the Phillies history in the 1990s. Daulton is prominently featured.
"He gave everything he have every time he was out there (on the field)," the 49-year-old from Bensalem, Pa., said. "He could relate to the fans. He was a leader on that '93 team and we all remember that team. The fans do love him."
Contact Michael McGarry: