Philadelphia Phillies fans were thrilled to see the captain of their 1993 National League Championship team, former catcher Darren Daulton, make an appearance at the team’s reunion on Friday night.
Following the month he's just experienced, the man affectionately known as “Dutch” was undoubtedly just as thrilled to see those fans.
It was just about five weeks ago that Daulton made a visit to the doctors after a prolonged illness and learned the startling news that he had two tumors on his brain. After undergoing surgery to remove the tumors on July 1, he was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer that claimed the lives of former teammates Tug McGraw and John Vukovich.
Despite that grim news, an upbeat and smiling Daulton made the trip to Citizens Bank Park to be alongside his teammates, specifically Curt Schilling as he was inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame. And prior to Friday night's festivities, he even took a few moments to address the media. You can view the speech in the video above or you can read the transcript provided by Philly.com.
"Thanks to all of you guys and everything that we’ve experienced in the last month. It was a little surprising when it happened. I remember being on 97.5 The Fanatic for the show this season, there were a couple of appearances where I couldn’t figure out what was going on, I was having trouble explaining a little bit of baseball after doing it for 20 years of my life, experiencing this, it was a little difficult.
Right now, I have a little bit of a problem during the day, every now and then, where I can’t understand… I have a problem with talking. But this eventually is – I’ll get better.
But being a part of Philadelphia for all of these seasons, and going to Alumni Weekend it just really, really… you really get to hang your hat for the weekend. It’s Philadelphia. For many years, I feel like it’s my home. It feels like it’s my family. I really enjoy this. And this wekened we’re going to have a blast. It’s fun to be a part of.
What I’m experiencing right now, it’s going to start next Friday (chemotherapy). But I’m a player. Right now I think I’m done, with the surgery and everything. I really think I am. But for some reason I’m supposed to go through the chemotherapy. I can’t talk about it, but I feel like it’s over. Again, thank you everybody here in Philadelphia. The fans – it’s just been phenomenal. … Thank you all very much."
The emotional speech was met with a standing ovation from the media.
Hours later, the response would only be larger as Daulton was introduced to the 35.087 in attendance prior.
Daulton then made a third appearance to take part in a base-changing ceremony between the third and fourth innings.
Not that Daulton needed to have his spirits lifted, but this weekend probably couldn't have come at a better time for him. Here's wishing him the very best as he continues his battle and hoping there are many more appearances left to come for "Dutch."
Big BLS H/N: For The Win