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When the New York Mets take the field at their home ballpark, no player is more at home than outfielder Mike Baxter.
Baxter received a city proclamation last week when City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) stopped by Citi Field to recognize the outfielder for making his home borough proud.
“Mike Baxter is proof that if you work hard, you can achieve your dreams,” Halloran said of the Whitestone native. “Mike has faced adversity and ridden minor league buses for countless hours. But he persevered, and today he is a valuable part of our home borough’s team.”
Baxter is the 36th city-born player to make the Mets and only the fourth Queens native to make the team. He said he was proud to be representing New York as a hometown player.
“It has been a lifelong dream come true,” Baxter said.
Halloran recognized Baxter for his historic catch in left field June 1, which saved pitcher Johan Santana’s no-hitter — the first in the franchise’s history. Baxter injured himself on the play, but Halloran said if there were any catch to sacrifice the body, that was the one.
“In just a short time with the Mets, Mike has already made Whitestone proud,” Halloran said. “And his incredible catch to save Santana’s no-hitter was one of the most memorable moments in Mets history.”
Baxter grew up a lifelong Mets fan, attended St. Luke’s Parish School in Whitestone and graduated from Briarwood’s Archbishop Molloy High School in 2002. The Mets outfielder, who grew up playing with Bayside Little League, said playing ball in Queens was a major part of his childhood that helped groom him for a professional career.
“I spent a few years playing for the league and it was a really well-run organization,” Baxter said. “I can’t say enough about Bayside Little League. It is great to be back home playing again.”
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) also honored Baxter last week, recognizing the player with a state resolution before a Mets home game July 3.
Baxter was drafted 128th overall by the San Diego Padres in the 2005 Major League Baseball entry draft and worked his way through the minor leagues playing in Fort Wayne, Lake Elsinore San Antonio, and Portland. He made his major league debut Sept. 6, 2010, as a member of the Padres before the Mets claimed him the next year.
The lefty-hitting outfielder made his Mets debut Aug. 8, 2011, when he doubled as a pinch-hitter. Ironically, he made his first professional start as a Mets outfielder against the Padres Aug. 10.
“Mike has really delivered,” Halloran said. “He has shown he can be a great role model.”
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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