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Baylor returns to Angels franchise, will be hitting coach

Don Baylor, shown in this photo in his role as hitting coach with the Arizona Diamondbacks, was hired on Wednesday, October 16th as hiting coach for the Angels.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

For the first time since the end of the 1982 season, Don Baylor will once again don an Angels uniform.

The 1979 American League MVP was hired by the Halos on Wednesday to be the hitting coach, replacing Jim Eppard, who was let go on October 8th after less than two full years in the position.

Baylor, who led the Angels to two AL West titles in six seasons as a player, was the hitting coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks for the past three seasons. Arizona had a .259 team batting average in 2012 and scored 685 runs, ranking fifth in the National League in both categories.

Despite not being a member of the Angels organization for several decades, the 64-year-old Baylor has maintained solid ties with the Orange County community through his charity work with the 65 Roses Foundation that works in the fight against cystic fibrosis.

Baylor first began in the work when he came to the Angels upon learning about it through a visit to the county's CHOC children's hospital. His annual 65 Roses golf tournament remains one of the biggest fundraisers for the group in the area.

After leaving the Angels, Baylor played for the Yankees, Red Sox, Twins and Athletics before retring after the 1988 season.

He is still well loved by Angels fans despite also being a part of the team's most notorious postseason collapse. Baylor's two-run homer off Mike Witt in the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 1986 ALCS brought Boston to within 5-4 and setup the chain of events of the Angels 7-6 loss in 11 innings and their eventual loss of the series in seven games.

That love from Angels fans came as a result of his epic 1979 season. Baylor hit .296 with 36 home runs and 139 RBI as the Angels won the division for the first time in franchise history before falling to the Baltimore Orioles in four games in the ALCS.

After retiring as a player, Baylor served two stints as a manager, leading the Colorado Rockies to the 1995 wild card in just their third season as a franchise and helping stabilize the Chicago Cubs before being fired midway through the 2002 campaign after the club got off to a 34-49 start .

He later served as a hitting coach for the 2007 Rockies team that reached the World Series.

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