Don Baylor, first manager of the Colorado Rockies and a 1979 AL MVP with the California Angels. Baylor led the Rockies to their first playoff appearance and was voted manager of the year in 1995.  

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

He was called a gentle giant and once held the record for the most number of times hit by a pitch in the major leagues. Don Baylor, the first manager of the Colorado Rockies, died last week of multiple myelomaHe will be honored tonight at Coors Field. 

Baylor played in the major leagues for 19 seasons and was an American League MVP with the California Angels in 1979. Later, he helped lead the Minnesota Twins to a World Series championship. 

Tracy Ringolsby, a columnist for MLB.com, covered Baylor's career beginning in the late 1970s when Baylor  played for the  Angels.  Ringolsby told Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner that Baylor, who was African American, had a remarkable early life. He was one of three students who volunteered to integrate his Austin, Texas junior high school. 

Ringolsby, who developed a deep friendship with the baseball legend, spoke Saturday at Baylor's funeral in Austin.