Sunday, August 19, 2012

Player Profile: Harold Baines

I have 103 cards of Harold Baines. This one is from 1986 Fleer.

Playing career: Harold Baines played 22 seasons in the major leagues. The first ten of those years were with the White Sox, and he was so good that they retired his number 3 while he was still active. He then bounced from team to team for the next decade-plus as various pennant contenders acquired him in hopes that he would lead them to a championship. Despite a .324 post-season average and five home runs in 31 playoff games, he failed to win a championship with Texas, Oakland, Baltimore, Cleveland, or two subsequent stints with the Pale Hose. He was a six-time all-star and hit 20+ home runs ten times, but never put up the kinds of dynamic single seasons that would vault him into Hall of Fame status. Sully of Sully Baseball put it best: “He stretched from the lapels on the uniform era for the White Sox…To the disastrous SOX across the chest monstrosities…To the utterly forgettable cursive uniform…Before finishing his career in the classic ChiSox duds. He was a respected steady veteran, but not a superstar. Not a dominating force.”

Where he is now: First base coach for the White Sox.

My memories: He always seemed synonymous with the White Sox, which is why it was such a shock when he was traded. After that, he always seemed like a background player on good teams, never the number one guy, the guy you wanted to make sure didn’t beat you.

Google Autocomplete results: He is second when you type Harold B, between Harold Bloom, a literary critic recently accused of sexual harassment, and Harold Brodkey, a novelist. Another prominent Harold Baines is the recently retired General Counsel of Lloyds Banking Group.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Doug Bair.

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