Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Daryl Van Schouwen and Chris De Luca

Beckham ... meet Harold

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GLENDALE, Ariz. - Gordon Beckham will never forget who Harold Baines is now, that's for sure.
The entire organization was in attendance for Monday morning's on-field meeting, one Beckham - the team's first-round selection from last season - will always remember.
After addressing the team about the schedule over the next few days, bench coach Joey Cora then said, "We're going to play a game, 'Who am I?' Maybe a couple of you guys will know exactly who this person is?''
Cora then started reading off stats about games played, hits, extra-base hits, at the end of each one all but screaming "ALL TIME!'' to emphasize how important these numbers were. Cora then pointed out that for those that haven't been to U.S. Cellular Field there is also a statue in right field of this player in outfield walkway.
Cora then held up a black and white photo of Baines and said, "I wonder who it is, let's take a crack at it.''
Beckham immediately spoke up, knowing whom the presentation was directed at.
"Harold Baines, he's [Jerry] Reinsdorf's favorite player,'' Beckham said, as his teammates and coaches started sarcastically applauding.
It was on Sunday, when Beckham dug himself into the hole, having a conversation with catcher A.J. Pierzynski. A conversation he was compelled to explain to the entire organization after Cora's "presentation,'' and after Baines mockingly shook Beckham's hand to introduce himself, and then signed a picture for Beckham.
"A.J. asked why I was No. 80. And I said, 'I don't know. What number do you think they should have given me?' AJ goes, 'I thought they were going to un-retire Harold's number for you.' And I said, 'Who's Harold?' Obviously with him walking around here, I knew who Harold Baines was.''
"Or did you?'' Pierzynski then shouted from the gathering.
Beckham's response?
"Now I know.''

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I would not have known who Harold baines was either. The only people who know who he are Sox fans because its been drilled into our heads how good we are supposed to think he is. Harold Bained was an good player. He did not exute greatness though. I am looking forward to Gordon Beckham being here long after Pierzynski and even Joey Cora have moved on.

Harold Baines continues to be an underappreciated star. Ask people who truly followed baseball in the 1980s and '90s and they will tell you that he was one of the most consistent higher-end performers in his day. He had the misfortune, though, of playing for a team that got little to no attention, even it its own city. And I know that if I were drafted by a professional team, I would do a little homework about its history so I could keep my foot out of my mouth. Baines = GodKing

It seems most people think of Harold with the A's or when he returned to the Sox, but in the early 80's and before his knee injuries the man was a stud. Hit for average, power, could steal a base and had a very good arm. Injuries slowed him down in the field, but not at the plate. The man could probably hit a fastball with a broomstick..........

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Cowley published on February 23, 2009 11:24 AM.

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