By Courtney Kennedy ’18
A star baseball and basketball player at Snohomish High School experienced a life changing injury that ended his baseball career.
Joshua Baird made his high school baseball team as a freshman and proved himself to be a great pitcher. His sophomore year he went 6-1 for the games he was starting pitcher. His performance on the field caught the attention of scouts and he ended up attending Washington State University’s prospect camp during his sophomore summer where WSU’s coaches were looking at him.
At this camp, Baird was pitching well until he felt his arm snap on one pitch. There was tingling in his arm, but he continued to pitch for that day.
“Eventually I did more damage, if I would’ve stopped then I could’ve rehabbed and been fine,” Baird said.
After this, Baird did not pitch well and did not receive any calls back from the WSU coach.
He then went in to get his arm checked out by a doctor and was only told that it was a strain. But after seeing a specialist in Seattle, he found out that he broke not only his ulnar collateral ligament, but his elbow bone with it.
Right before his junior year of baseball, Baird had his first reconstruction surgery called Tommy John. This surgery takes a tendon from elsewhere in your body, in Baird’s case, his wrist, and replaces the ligament that was torn. His hopes were to come back and be able to play senior year since the recovery for this surgery was about a year.
However, Baird came back too quickly and snapped it again. He then got the Tommy John surgery again senior year in hopes of playing at a community college. He was not able to do this because he never fully recovered from his second surgery. Despite his injury, he was still able to play basketball his senior year of high school.
Although this injury ended his baseball career, it did not affect his basketball. He became a shooting guard for Pacific Lutheran University’s mens basketball team last year as a first year.
He said, “I like playing basketball better, I just knew I was better at baseball.”
Baird’s mom, Jodi Baird said, “It [his injury] made Josh who he is, he has handled depression. He wasn’t defined by sports, he just had to be Josh. He had to find his own path, his own personality because it wasn’t sports.”
Looking back on his injury, Baird said, “If I could go back and change it I would, but I’m happy now, academically and athletically.”
Baird is a Business major at PLU with a concentration in finance. He is also interning as a financial representative at Northwestern Mutual this summer.
Although his baseball career ended, Baird has a lot going for him athletically and vocationally.