April 10, 2006 - Former RiverHawks outfielder Brian Baron stopped by the offices at brand-new RiverHawks Stadium Monday while on a visit to the Rock River Valley.
Baron had surgery on his left wrist in December and said he is retiring from baseball. Since leaving the RiverHawks after last season, he has worked as a substitute teacher in California and plans to attend nursing school.
"It has been a great run," Baron said. "I've been fortunate to play baseball as a professional. But given that I've had six surgeries in seven years, I feel now that it is time for me to pursue other endeavors.
"I'm very thankful to have been given the opportunity to play for and represent the Rockford RiverHawks. I've tried to give it 100 percent day in and day out. I will surely miss it, but I just feel now that it is time for me to move on."
Baron missed most of the 2004 championship run because of a hamstring injury, but bounced back in 2005. He hit .306, matching the highest average of his career, with five home runs and 50 RBI - both the latter numbers were career highs. He reached the Frontier League age limit of 27 last September.
Baron attended Northwestern and UCLA. With the Bruins, he hit a school-record .443 to win the 2001 Pac-10 batting title. Minnesota drafted him in the 46th round of the 2000 draft and inked him to a deal just days before the next draft. He spent three years with Twins farm clubs in Class A Ft. Myers and Class AA New Britain. He was a .293 hitter over a five-year professional career.