"I didn’t know what the heck he was doing," Baxter told The Post-Journal afterward. "I figured, ‘Let’s get this game going. I’m ready to pitch.'"
Baxter soon learned the reason for his catcher's odd behavior, and that the "umpire" was one Peter Funt. The TV show Candid Camera had traveled to Jamestown and Baxter needed to smile, because he was on it, The Post-Journal wrote.
But Baxter did come ready to pitch, that night and over eight professional seasons. After that beginning - and some extra time to warm up - he threw a complete game, four-hitter for the win, The Post-Journal wrote.
Baxter's readiness would continue, enough to make AA in 1994 and AAA in 1995. Baxter, though, never made the majors.
But he later applied what he learned as a player to coach youth - and he won a national award for his work.
Baxter's career began that year in 1990, taken by the Expos in the 12th round of the draft out of Harvard.
Baxter started with the Expos there at short-season Jamestown. He went 5-4, with a 3.87 ERA over 13 starts.
He move to single-A Rockford for 1991, where he moved to relief. He then to high-A West Palm Beach in 1992.
In August 1992, Baxter spoke to The South Florida Sun-Sentinel about his move from starting to relief. The organization thought he'd be better there, and he took to it.
"It's fun and so far, relief has been neat," Baxter told The Sun-Sentinel. "Every pitch means something and you've got to concentrate on every pitch."
Baxter went 6-2 that year in 1992 over 42 outings, with a 1.41 ERA. He returned to West Palm Beach for 1993, then moved to AA Harrisburg for 1994.
Baxter went 11-2, over 40 outings, 11 starts, at Harrisburg, with a 4.20 ERA. He arrived at AAA Ottawa for 1995. He went 5-5 there, with a 3.92 ERA.
Baxter remained at Ottawa into 1997, when he moved to the Athletics system and AA Huntsville for six final outings.
Baxter eventually settled in California. In 2012, he became a Little League coach. In 2014, he was honored with the Positive Coaching Alliance’s Double-Goal Coach award, given to 25 coaches nationwide who "strive to win while pursuing the more important goal of teaching life lessons through sport," according to The San Francisco Examiner.
- Jamestown Post-Journal, Aug. 6, 1990: Prank At The Ballpark
- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Aug. 21, 1992: Pen can help pitchers right themselves
- San Francisco Examiner, March 10, 2014: Menlo-Atherton Little League coach wins national honor
Made the Majors:1,157-36.3%
Never Made Majors:2,028-63.7%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 480
10+ Seasons in the Minors:283