Harold Baines to be honored by Orioles
Harold Baines will be inducted into the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame this weekend, forcing him to be away from the White Sox on Friday and Saturday while the team is in New York. But for those who won’t be in attendance for this special honor, the White Sox first-base coach and legend provided a sneak peek at his speech to go with the tribute.
“The first words will be ‘Don’t go to the bathroom’ because it won’t be that long,” said Baines with a smile.
Baines played parts of seven seasons with Baltimore, after growing up in Easton, Maryland. During his time with the hometown team, Baines batted .301 with 107 home runs and 378 RBIs.
An even more amazing statistic is that in 2,121 at-bats for the Orioles, Baines walked 275 times and struck out just 278. Surprisingly enough, the Orioles were not exactly Baines’ team of choice as he was growing up.
“It wasn’t my hometown team. I never followed the Orioles. I never followed any team, to be honest. I just played the game,” Baines said. “It’s a great honor. I come from a small town where there were definitely Orioles fans there. They’re very happy and proud of what I’ve done.
“To see me play in my hometown, so-called hometown team, the five years I was there, I had a great time. And they treated me as if I was from there, even as a visitor. That’s what I’ll always remember.”
Whenever Baines returns with the White Sox to Camden Yards, the Orioles always pay tribute and Baines receives a rousing ovation from the Baltimore faithful. There are numerous individuals following the game who believe Baines and his 384 home runs, 1,628 RBIs and .289 career average should be in Baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
For now, Baines can treasure his jersey No. 3 being retired by the White Sox, his statue at U.S. Cellular Field and now the Orioles’ tribute.
“I always look at it as that I did just as much stuff off the field as on the field and the honor by the Orioles Advocates, which is an organization that works with the Orioles community,” said Baines, who will attend a luncheon on Friday and then participate in the ceremonies on Saturday. “So I’m pretty proud that they thought enough of me for the short amount of time that I played there, that I was deserving of going to their Hall of Fame.
“If I hit .125, I wouldn’t be there. But I didn’t do it by myself. My teammates helped me, the community helped, and I had a great time while I was there.”