For Daulton, butterflies as he's enshrined on Wall

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Former Phillies catcher Darren Daulton was inducted into the Wall of Fame last night. (David M Warren / Staff Photographer)

Throughout his 14-year career with the Phillies, Darren Daulton gave plenty of on-camera interviews. Those came easy. Speaking into a camera with no one on the other end, that comes difficult to him, which is why Friday's Wall of Fame induction came with plenty of jitters.

Upon learning that he would be inducted with other Phillie greats, the three-time all-star grew anxious at the idea of having to prepare a speech. He jotted down a few points, nothing too fancy. He just wanted to make it "short and sweet."

He did that.

After being introduced by Hall of Fame pitcher Steve Carlton, Daulton slightly fumbled his glasses and began his speech. He spoke fondly about his time with the organization, the fans, and even said that he no longer believed the world would end - a stance he maintained publicly in the past.

Then, out of nowhere, he invited fans to his house Sunday to eat.

Speaking to fans has come easy to him. After all, he hosts a nightly call-in radio show. But he said that talking before a crowd, to one in particular, has been difficult for him.

But even though that's been the case, Daulton didn't practice in front of a mirror or recite his speech to anyone beforehand. Not his style.

"I was going to try to wing it," he said, "but I figured if I get too nervous [and] jumble the words, I could write something down."

He simply walked down the red carpet, between home plate and the pitcher's mound, blew a kiss to the crowd and embraced other Phillie greats on stage: Jim Bunning, Steve Carlton, Mike Schmidt, Dick Allen, Greg Luzinski, Garry Maddox, Tony Taylor, Bob Boone, and Dallas Green.

Then came the presentation of a 14x20 cast bronze plaque of Daulton that was added to the Wall of Fame display on Memory Lane.

"It's an honor," Daulton said before the presentation. "Not sure if I'm quite worthy to be next to some of those names up there. But that's what you get when you stuff the ballots every day, about 10,000 votes a day."

Daulton said he was surprised that fans who watched him play as kids are now grown up. It was an indication of how much time has passed and the transition he has made now from player to radio host.

The player known affectionately as Dutch was back before Phillies fans, greeted by a warm standing ovation that grew louder after a video montage. Teammates from the 1993 World Series team - Tommy Greene, Kevin Stocker, Ricky Jordan, Dave Hollins, Jim Eisenreich and John Kruk - were also on hand for the presentation. Then, as the speech came to an end, Daulton said he took great pride in representing the organization and the city of Philadelphia. The player who became a leader and a star after being taken in the 25th round of the 1980 draft concluded it all by saying, "We've been through too much together. I wouldn't call them fans, I'd call them family."

 


Contact staff writer Mario Aguirre at 215-854-4550

or maguirre@phillynews.com.