The Obit For Gerik Baxter

Padres minor-leaguer, A's draft pick die in car crash

July 30, 2001

SAN DIEGO -- (AP) San Diego Padres minor league pitcher Gerik Baxter and Oakland A's draft pick Mark Hilde died in a car accident in the Southern California desert.

The two were in Baxter's Ford F-350 pickup Sunday evening on Interstate 10 near Indio when a rear tire blew out, causing the truck to swerve into another car and roll several times. The truck was in the fast lane traveling at 75-85 mph when the tire blew, causing it to veer and sideswipe another vehicle.

Baxter, 21, had been with the Lake Elsinore Storm of the Class A California League while recovering from an injury. He was on his way Lake Elsinore at the time of the crash.

"Our deepest sympathies go out to Gerik's family and friends," Padres general manager Kevin Towers said. "Gerik was a special young man and he and his family will remain in our thoughts and prayers."

Baxter was selected by the Padres with the 28th pick in the first round of the 1999 draft. He had not pitched this season following elbow surgery in May.

Baxter had gone to Phoenix to watch Hilde, a former teammate at Edmonds-Woodway High in Washington St., play in a tournament. They were driving back to southern California when the accident occurred. Hilde, a third baseman, was taken by the Oakland Athletics in the 32nd round in June.