"I'm a retired baseball player," Baldwin said. "The dream of getting to the big leagues is pretty much down to zero. I was left-handed throwing in the mid to upper 80s, which isn't the recipe to get signed. You have to have velocity."
He left behind the Major League dream, but has plenty of memories, including the opportunity to meet Cal Ripken Jr., and working camps with Evan Longoria and George Foster.
"Me and George Foster are actually pretty good friends," he said. "I worked a boys and girls camp in Reno, Nevada in 2008. George was the headline guy. I ended up staying out there for two months and we got to be pretty good friends.
"When I was with the Nationals, Tony Tarasco was the hitting coach. He was the right fielder in the (1996 American League Championship Series). He still says he would've caught that ball."
That year as a right fielder for the Baltimore Orioles, Tarasco went to field a fly ball hit by Derek Jeter. However, a fan reached over the fence and caught the ball.
Wednesday's first round will mark the second time he has played in the Open. His first was in 1999 at Guyan Golf and Country Club in Huntington. He shot an 80 in the first round on the then par 71, 6,446-yard course and didn't make the cut.
That same year, at the age of 16, Baldwin was one of the youngest players competing in the State Amateur. He shot a 7-over 78 in the first round and also missed the cut in that West Virginia Golf Association event.
Among his shining moments as a prep golfer was when he followed up a first-round 81 in the 2001 State Tournament with a second-round 69, helping lead the Knights to the championship.
Now he has the best of both worlds, maintaining a day job as an instructor at the Tri-State Baseball Academy in Huntington and spending time perfecting his golf game.
"I want to say I'm real serious (about golf), but it's so hard to get to the next level in this game," he said. "It's so, so hard. Everybody is so good. When it comes to having the game, I think I have the game."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at richstev...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4837.