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Former Giants manager Dusty Baker visits Chico State

Nick Martinez-Esquibel

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Former San Francisco Giants manager Dusty Baker, right, and mechanical engineering professor Greg Karillo discuss their mutual interest in renewable energy resources during Baker’s visit to Chico State. Photo credit: Nick Martinez-Esquibel

Former San Francisco Giants manager Dusty Baker is trading in his baseball uniform for solar panels.

Baker, who recently started a solar company, visited Chico State on Feb. 27 to learn more about alternative energy sources.

He spent his time with professor Greg Kallio, who is a big supporter of solar power and teaches solar engineering classes.

“I love going to college campuses,” Baker said, “and I love being around young people because they give me energy and hope.”

Baker, a Sacramento native, spent time in Kallio’s solar engineering class engaging with the students.

“It was remarkable,” Kallio said. “He wanted to know what they (the students) were studying and how they were doing.”

Baker’s tour highlighted various equipment in the lab, including a wind tunnel, jet engine, diesel engine and a solar panel.

Baker grasped most of the concepts thrown at him and asked a lot of good questions, Kallio said.

“I learned a lot,” Baker said, “I felt like a little freshman in the first day of class.”

Kallio and Baker met at a barbecue last fall in Willows through a Chico State student.

After finding out they both had a mutual interest in solar energy, Baker made it a point to visit Kallio next time he was in Chico, he said.

Baker is in the midst of starting a solar company, Baker Energy Team, which aims to become a major producer of renewable energy. He hand selected a team of four other partners to help him run the business.

His passion for renewable energy started when he built his home eight years ago in Sacramento and equipped it with solar power, he said.

The company is just one of many different things he’s done since retiring from baseball. Baker makes his own wine, has property in Hawaii and is an avid gardener.

All of his hobbies would not be possible if not for a successful baseball career that started when he was drafted out of Del Campo High School near Sacramento by the Atlanta Braves.

Baker became a part of history as the man who was on deck in 1974 when Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s record for most home runs in history.

Aaron’s record would later be broken by Baker’s former player, Barry Bonds.

After spending eight years with the Braves, he played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he won a World Series title in 1981.

He started his managing career with the San Francisco Giants in 1993, finishing with multiple division titles and even taking the team to the World Series in 2002.

Baker then went on to manage the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds, bringing both teams to the playoffs at some point during his tenure.

He officially retired from baseball in 2013 and resides in Sacramento.

If he can be as successful with his company as he was on the baseball field, he should knock it right out of the park.

Nick Martinez-Esquibel can be reached at [email protected] or @THENickMartinez on Twitter.

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Former Giants manager Dusty Baker visits Chico State