Oct. 24, 2007
Clemson, SC — Former Clemson All-American Jeff Baker will be in uniform for the Colorado Rockies when they begin play in the 2007 World Series in Boston’s famed Fenway Park against the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night. Baker is the first former Clemson Tiger to play in the Major League World Series since Jimmy Key was a member of the World Champion New York Yankees in 1996.
Baker played third base and shortstop during his career at Clemson (2000-02), but is playing right field and serving as a pinch hitter for Colorado this year. In 85 games during the 2007 regular season he hit .222 with four home runs and 12 RBIs. He is in his third year with the Rockies and has a .255 career average with 10 home runs.
The highlight of his 2007 season actually took place in the first round of the playoffs against the Philadelphia Phillies on October 6 when he knocked in what proved to be the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning of a 2-1 Rockies victory. The single to right gave the Rockies a 2-1 lead in the series clinching victory. For the postseason, Baker is 2 for 3 at the plate, all as a pinch hitter.
Baker hit 59 home runs in his Clemson career, tied for first in Clemson history with 2007 senior Andy D’Alessio. He hit .334 with 226 RBIs for his career. He is the only player in Clemson history with two seasons of at least 20 home runs. Baker was a first-team All-American by Baseball American and the NCBWA as a junior in 2002 when he hit 25 home runs and drove in 87 runs. He helped Clemson to the College World Series in 2000 and 2002 as an infield teammate with current San Diego Padres shortstop Khalil Greene.
Clemson has had seven former players participate in the World Series and four have played on World Series Championship teams. Key played on two championships teams, with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1992 and with the Yankees in 1996. He got the victory in the Series clinching game in both years.
The first former Clemson baseball player to play in the World Series was Norm McMillan, a third baseman for the 1922 New York Yankees. The first former Tiger to play on a World Series Championship team was Flint Rhem, a pitcher for the 1926 St. Louis Cardinals.
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