Former professional baseball player Harold Baines and his wife Marla, a successful St. Michaels realtor, were chosen as the individual winners of the 2020 Community Impact Award.
In 2019, the baseball world – along with much of Talbot County – was atwitter with stories of the lefty from St. Michaels who was voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. His was a fairy tale for Little Leaguers everywhere.
Harold was the No. 1 pick in the 1977 amateur draft by the Chicago White Sox right out of St. Michaels High School. Today, he is applauded by peers as one of the best designated hitters ever to play the game, with stats that are impressive by any standards.
In a career that spanned 22 years, the right fielder and designated hitter logged 2,866 hits, 1,628 RBI, 384 home runs, and a .289 batting average. Though he played in the 1990 World Series, Harold ultimately helped win the pennant in 2005 as a coach for the White Sox.
While these accomplishments are certainly impressive, this power couple was not selected for a Community Impact Award on the basis of Harold’s accomplishments on the baseball field, but on their unwavering commitment to St. Michaels and Talbot County.
The high school sweethearts married soon after Marla graduated from college with her degree in early childhood and special education. From the earliest days of their marriage, they lived in St. Michaels, using their second home in Chicago during baseball season.
“I love being here in a small town,” Harold says. “Everybody knows everybody. I always wanted to come back.”
Marla agrees. “Our families are from here,” she explains. “When Harold was traveling so much and I was bringing up four kids, my mom could help. My sister or brother would help out and travel with me and our kids when going to spring training or on vacations. I like a rural county. We have great friends here, and we just didn’t want to leave.”
Over the years, Harold and Marla have supported numerous projects that benefit the area, including the Bay Hundred Community Pool, the Perkins YMCA, and the Harold Baines Scholarship Fund that assists deserving young people. Harold still takes time to sign autographs each year during Christmas in St. Michaels and at other events throughout the year.
The couple supports the Bay Hundred Scholarship Fund is for St. Michaels, Easton, and Cambridge, and in 2018, they started the St. Michaels Alumni Program to benefits students at their alma mater. The Baines’s also have a foundation through which they provide help to those in need.
“We’re just doing our part,” Harold says. “When I was a kid this community took care of me. If I needed help baseball-wise, I got it. If I needed a ride somewhere, I got it from the community. This is my opportunity to give back to the community. That’s a big part of why we’re still living here.”