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Darrell Porter, the MVP of the 1982 World Series, was found dead August 5, 2002 at the age of 50. He was found lying next to his car in a park in Kansas City, Mo.
"We heard he went out to get a newspaper and went to the park to read it," said Art Stewart, senior adviser to Kansas City Royals general manager Allard Baird, in an interview with the Kansas City Star. "That's the only thing we knew. It's very, very upsetting."
Porter, a catcher, hit .247 in his 17-year major league career. He had 188 home runs and 826 RBIs. In 1979, one of his best seasons, Porter hit .291 with 20 HRs and 112 RBIs for the Royals.
His career began with the Brewers in 1971 and he was traded to Kansas City following the 1976 season. He spent 4 years with the Royals and was selected to the All-Star team twice during that span. In his career, he was a member of 4 All-Star teams -- 1974, 1978, 1979 and 1980.
During Spring Training in 1980, Porter admitted himself to a drug and alcohol rehab center. His numbers dropped that season -- he hit .249 -- but he helped the Royals to reach the franchise's first World Series. KC lost the series in 6 games to Philadelphia.
Following the season, he signed as a free agent with St. Louis for the opportunity to play for his former Royals manager, Whitey Herzog. In 1982, he was the NLCS and the World Series MVP (the Cardinals beat Milwaukee in seven games.) Herzog would credit Porter for his role in providing leadership to the St. Louis team.
He also played in the 1985 World Series that the Cardinals lost to the Royals. He spent the next two seasons with the Rangers and retired in 1987.
In 3 World Series, he had 12 hits in 57 at-bats with a home run and 5 RBIs. In 88 postseason series, he had 32 hits in 120 at-bats (.267) with a home run and 9 RBIs. Porter finished in the top 10 in league MVP voting in 1978 and 1979 and was in the top 10 in RBIs and Runs in 1979.
He wrote a book in 1984 -- Snap me Perfect! The Darrell Porter Story -- in which he talked about his addiction and recovery.
Source: AP, Historical Baseball Abstract