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Baines is appreciative of his second opportunity with a new heart and kidney

As a Hall of Fame player, coach, and ambassador for the White Sox organization, Harold Baines has been a part of more than 30 home openings. Something will feel different when he and his wife, Marla, arrive at Guaranteed Rate Field on Tuesday morning for the 2022 home opening in Chicago. Baines, 63, will arrive almost 11 months after undergoing life-saving heart and kidney transplant surgery at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Hospital.

 

Baines, a Maryland native, has a fresh lease on life after surviving and recuperating from the operation. However, as he told MLB.com Thursday evening, Baines’ objective that night was simply to make it to Friday. “Just concentrate on Tuesday when it arrives,” Baines said. “I’m thrilled to be returning after a two-year absence. Today, I’m simply taking each day as it comes.”

It’s a second chance,” Marla explained, referring to her 37-year marriage to Harold. The pair is father to four children and grandfather to six grandkids. “We would have needed an additional year or two.” He’s returned in such a way that it’s almost as if nothing ever occurred.” Baines was as popular as he was renowned during his 22 Major League seasons as a player. Over 11,092 plate appearances, the consummate professional ended with 384 home runs, 1,628 RBIs, and 2,866 hits. He began his career with the White Sox as an exceptional defensive presence in right field before developing into one of the game’s finest designated hitters.

Those two decades in baseball resulted in ten knee operations and, eventually, a right knee replacement, but nothing on the scale of what he suffered over a year ago. Baines underwent the eight-hour heart replacement operation on May 20, 2021. The kidney transplant was conducted the next day.

 

Written by Eren Kilic

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