CHICAGO – One of the biggest stories before the home opener for the White Sox on Tuesday had nothing to do with someone on their roster.
Instead, it concerned their former Hall of Fame outfielder.
On Monday, Harold Baines discussed on the team’s website how a year ago he was having heart and kidney failure and underwent a double transplant at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore to save his life. Since then, thanks to the help of many doctors and health care professionals, the 63-year old has made a good recovery after the transplants.
So on Tuesday afternoon, White Sox fans were ready to give the Hall of Famer a warm welcome back to Guaranteed Rate Field.
Baines was at the club’s opener against the Mariners on a seasonable warm day on the south side as he took part in a number of pregame festivities.
Before the introduction of the team’s starting lineup, Baines received a huge ovation from the Guaranteed Rate Field crowd as he was announced along with a few other White Sox legends. He would join Ozzie Guillen, Bo Jackson, and Jim Thome on the third base line for the rest of the introductions.
Baines had another great moment just before the start of the game as he was joined by Jackson on the field to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. He took his spot in front of the mound and threw to the fellow White Sox great, which earned another loud cheer from the fans.
Over his 22 year career, Baines had three different stops as a player with the White Sox, with his best days coming from 1980-1989. He was a four-time All-Star in that span and helped the club to the 1983 American League West Division championship. Traded to the Texas Rangers in July of 1989, the Baines would play for the White Sox again in 1996, 1997, 2000, and 2001.
In 2004, he joined Guillen’s White Sox coaching staff and would remain there under him and Robin Ventura through the 2015 season. Baines was the bench coach when the White Sox won their first World Series in 88 years in 2005.