AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Players who crossed paths with former MVP Don Baylor in his 19-year major league career paid their last respects Saturday at the memorial service for a popular player known as “Groove.”
KXAN-TV reports Hall of Famer Frank Robinson recalled coining the nickname for his former teammate, after Baylor used that word in an interview to describe getting a couple hits that broke his slump.
“He said, ‘I’m going now, I’m on my way. I’m in the groove, I’m in the groove.’ I pinned that name on him. I said from now on Don, you are groove,” Robinson said.
Robinson acknowledged he “wasn’t too friendly with too many people in baseball” but said there was nothing bad he could say about Baylor, the 1979 American League MVP who died Monday after a 14-year battle with cancer.
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Others who attended the memorial service Saturday at Greater Mt. Zion Baptist Church included MLB’s Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre, former St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa and Baylor’s longtime teammate, Bobby Grich. Grich shared stories from several players who felt Baylor’s guidance in their career.