ASU online student John Baker has a lot to celebrate this month. In addition to graduating with a bachelor’s in liberal studies online degree from the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, Baker also works for the Chicago Cubs, who recently won the 2016 World Series, the team’s first championship in 108 years.
Originally drafted in 2002 as a junior by the Oakland A’s, Baker admits that his schedule would not allow him to finish his degree at the University of California at Berkeley, prompting him to drop out of school. After spending 13 years as a professional catcher, Baker’s playing career came to an end in 2015. Not long after, he was hired by the Chicago Cubs as the team’s mental skills coordinator.
With a renewed interest in attaining a degree from California, the father of two found that he would be required to go to class in person, without any possibility of completing the program online. “I’m 36 years old with two little children and I need a job to pay my bills, so that was impossible,” Baker said. In 2016, while in Arizona for spring training, Baker was introduced to ASU Online by ASU Athletics Vice President Ray Anderson.
What appealed to the former professional athlete was the wide variety of degrees offered and the access to success coaches, where students can seek guidance with time management and academic goals. With the flexibility of ASU Online, Baker was able to keep his position with the Cubs while he completed the Bachelors of liberal studies degree. “It was an interesting, inviting experience and intellectually stimulating for me,” Baker said.