posted 8 years ago
ATLANTA -- While evaluating the pitching greatness that helped the Braves win 14 consecutive division titles, it's easy to remember the contributions provided by Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Greg Maddux and Leo Mazzone.
What's often forgotten is the foundation that Bruce Dal Canton provided for Glavine, Smoltz and countless other pitchers who made their way to the Majors through the Braves organization over the past 25 years.
But whenever Braves president John Schuerholz remembers those great teams he constructed as the club's general manager during the past two decades, he'll never forget Dal Canton's contributions.
"He was a great human being and a great friend," Schuerholz said. "He contributed greatly to our success. I don't know a pitcher from our organization in the last 18 to 20 years who wasn't impacted by him."
Dal Canton's impact on the Braves organization will be realized for years to come. But his days as a great educator have come to a close. The long-time pitching coach lost his battle against esophageal cancer on Tuesday night. He was 66.
"He loved working with the kids," Schuerholz said. "While battling this horrible disease he talked about getting back next year and helping the kids. He was a great man and we'll miss him dearly."
Dal Canton, a former Major League pitcher who went 51-49 during a 12-year career with the Pirates, Royals, Braves, and White Sox, spent the past 26 years in the Atlanta organization.
During the early years of his career, Schuerholz completed a trade to bring Dal Canton to the Royals. On Aug. 14, 1972, Dal Canton set a Kansas City record by retiring 23 consecutive Yankees batters.