The fourth of five children, Baines looks and acts like his father, Linwood, a muscular mason who routinely works 12-hour days. "Harold had a little temper as a kid," says Linwood, who played for two undefeated high school championship basketball teams and was a semipro third baseman. "I told him if he was going into sports, he'd have to keep a level head."
Baines was about 12 when he first attracted the attention of the White Sox. That was when former owner Bill Veeck saw Baines club a 400-foot homer in Little League. Six years later, in 1977, Chicago called Baines a future Musial and Hall of Famer and drafted him first in the country, ahead of Paul Molitor, Bill Gullickson and Terry Kennedy. Steadily improving through three minor league and four major league seasons, Baines set a big league record with 22 game-winning RBIs in 1983 and recently became only the third White Sox player to hit 20 or more homers three straight seasons.
Veeck, who is writing, speaking and following his former team on television, says, "In the next 10 years I think he'll become the premier hitter—and power hitter—in baseball."