Keith Baker: A Champion On the Field and Off

Keith Baker, left, and Troy University Baseball Coach Mark Smartt. Baker and Smartt were teammates on the 87' national championship team.

Keith Baker, left, and Troy University Baseball Coach Mark Smartt. Baker and Smartt were teammates on the 87' national championship team.

Many boys dream of playing baseball beyond the Little League field. To have the opportunity beyond the likes of t-ball, coach pitch, Little League and high school baseball is quite honestly a tough thing to do.

The large majority of young boys growing up have picked up a bat and ball at one time or another, but it is the truly gifted and hardworking that get the opportunity to continue to play the game into the college level.

If playing college ball wasn’t enough of an accomplishment, imagine being able to be a part of a team that can call itself the absolute best at it? Keith Baker can do just that! In 1987, Keith was on the Troy State University men’s baseball team which won consecutive national championships under Coach Chase Riddle in 1987 and then went on to repeat in 1988.

It was baseball that brought Keith to TROY. He still remembers the conversation with assistant coach Mike Russell, who at the time, convinced Keith to sign with TROY to play baseball for the Trojans instead of South Alabama.

While baseball is what brought Keith to TROY, he is quick to ensure that TROY provided so much more to him than just the opportunity to play on the diamond. Keith boldly announces that his faith in Jesus Christ was found because of the people at Campus Outreach. Because of that simple relationship, Keith’s faith is the single most important thing to him as a man and human and is a proud member of Hiland Park Baptist church and served as Chairman of Deacons in 2012.

Keith Baker attended Troy University from 1986 to 1989 where he obtained his degree in Recreation Administration. The degree was put to excellent use when Keith was hired on as the Director of Leisure Services with the City of Panama City, a job he occupies to this day. Under his direction with the city, Keith has implemented several major projects. A few to note are the dog park on Balboa Street, the major renovations to Frank Nelson Park and soon to come is a splash pad at Oakland Terrance.

Through his involvement with work and experience, Keith had a desire to do more and to serve his community in other ways. Through prayer and support from his family and peers, Keith announced his running for Bay County Commissioner for District 4 this year. On June 22, he was officially announced the winner for the seat.

Keith said primary objectives as county commissioner will focus on improving county infrastructure and improving the aesthetics of the major entrances into Bay County. He said the gateways into our county have to be treated like the entrance to a store. These inlets into the area are the first and last thing visitors see when they come to visit our beautiful beaches.

“Each visitor is like a customer and potential citizen for the area, we have to make a better first impression and leave a longer lasting impression when they leave”, Keith said.