Thursday, February 20, 2014

IP Autograph OPRF's Ricky Baker


Oak Park, IL-- It is not every day when getting an autograph was as easy as going to school or going to PE Class but today it was. If you are a Oak Park and River Forest High School student or faculty you might know Ricky Baker as your PE Teacher or Co-Worker but you might not know his past before coming to his Faculty position here, he was a Minor League Baseball player. He was drafted in the 9th Round of the 1979 MLB Free Agent Draft by the Cleveland Indians, making his professional debut that year with the Batavia Trojans (A-) of the New York-Pennsylvania League (Cleveland affiliate) batting a strong .289 Average with 20 Stolen Bases in 61 games. The nest season he spent in the local Midwest League while playing for the Waterloo Indians in Waterloo Iowa where he had a career high 78 Stolen Bases in a season high 138 games. All was going good his stats were consistent and he was playing full time, stealing bases, winning ballgames until the offseason of 1982-1983 when his Coach with the Indians, Cal Emery went over to work with the Chicago Cubs organization and brought Mr. Baker over with him where he played from 1983-1984 at their AA and AAA teams where the Cubs had high quality outfielders in Billy Hatcher, Thad Bosely, Joe Carter, Henry Cotto among others it was decided there was not enough room for him and he was sent off to the Padres where he played in the spring of 1985 where he turned down an offer from the Padres to go back to college here in Chicago.

He now spends time watching his sons grow up and enjoying the Arts and playing Basketball and playing music and watching a good movie. He has worked at OPRF for 26 years and has coached baseball 10 of those years here at OPRF. The things he misses most about Minor League Baseball is the bond he had with his teammates and the big moments. He enjoyed performing in clutch moments and getting it done when it mattered most while at OPRF he just enjoys helping students find their way. Exercise is a big influence in his life like any athlete and he still is in touch with some of his teammates and coaches. He plays in his band Rico in his spare time. Thanks Mr. Baker and good luck.

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