Florida Tech Spotlights Former Panther Slugger Jonathan Baksh During Black History Month

By  //  February 19, 2021

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2005 SSC Player of the Year

Throughout February, Florida Tech Athletics is celebrating the Black men and women who have had a profound impact on Panther Athletics. (Florida Tech image)

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Throughout February, Florida Tech Athletics is celebrating the Black men and women who have had a profound impact on Panther Athletics.

The Panther baseball program has produced many great players in its nearly 60-year history, but few have produced such excellence at the plate as Jonathan Baksh.

Between 2004 and 2006, the Mississauga, Ontario, Canada native put up numbers in the Crimson and Gray that would stand out in any era.

Fifteen years since his last game, he remains amongst the standard-bearers for anyone who puts on a Florida Tech baseball uniform.

Baksh made an immediate impact when he stepped on the Andy Seminick-Les Hall Field diamond in the spring of 2004, homering in his first and last at-bats of the season.

He did plenty more in between, hitting .316/.388/.428 with 12 extra-base hits, 26 RBI and 19 stolen bases while patrolling left field as a freshman.

He would move across the outfield to right for his sophomore campaign in 2005 and his bat took quite a leap as he hit .422/.472/.555 with 22 extra-base hits, 45 RBI and 23 stolen bases, helping the Panthers to their first winning season in seven years.

Those numbers helped Baksh become the first and, to date, only Florida Tech player to earn the Sunshine State Conference Player of The Year award. He also became the third Panther ever to become an All-American when he was named to the NCBWA Third Team.

Amazingly, Baksh reached another level in the 2006 season as he batted .469/.529/.732 with 34 extra-base hits, nine of which were home runs, 67 RBI and 18 stolen bases.

His .469 batting average, .529 on-base percentage, 100 hits, 67 runs scored and 156 total bases in 2006 all remain single-season program records.

While he was just narrowly edged out for a second consecutive SSC Player of The Year award by Tampa’s Lee Cruz, Baksh would earn his second straight First Team All-SSC nod.

Baksh was named to the NCBWA All-America First Team and ABCA All-America Second Team, becoming the first and only Panther to earn consecutive All-America honors.

Baksh fulfilled a dream in June 2006 when he was selected in the seventh round of the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, the highest a Florida Tech player had ever been drafted to that point.

He was taken just six picks after future Major League all-star Justin Turner. During his time in the minors, he would be teammates once again with fellow Florida Tech Hall of Famer Steve Condotta.

During his four seasons playing across three levels of minor league ball, Baksh hit .270/.332/.350 with three home runs, 48 RBI and 23 stolen bases.

A decade and a half has passed since the last time he donned the Crimson and Gray but Baksh’s name remains ever-present in the Panther record books.

His .409 career batting average and .471 on-base percentage remain the highest in program history and he is still in the top five for career hits, slugging percentage, triples and stolen bases. He also ranks among the Panther top ten in career RBI, doubles and total bases.

“He was a big part of flipping this program around and helping us build to the success that we ended up having in the 2000s,” said Panthers head coach Greg Berkemeier, who helped recruit Baksh to Florida Tech while still an assistant. (Florida Tech image)

“He was a big part of flipping this program around and helping us build to the success that we ended up having in the 2000s,” said Panthers head coach Greg Berkemeier, who helped recruit Baksh to Florida Tech while still an assistant.

“He was our most talented player and for a couple, seasons was the best player in the league. He was a hard worker, great kid, a great teammate, and a good student.”

Following his professional baseball career, Baksh graduated Cum Laude from Florida Tech’s Nathan Bisk College of Business in 2010, where he was recognized as one of two outstanding seniors.

He also earned the Financial Executives International Distinguishing Achievement Award.

Walton was inducted into the Florida Tech Sports Hall of Fame as part of the 2015 class. Today, Baksh serves as Senior Finance Director for Celestica, an electronics manufacturing services company in Toronto.

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