Mike Paxton played baseball for head coach Bobby Kilpatrick during his Tiger career. He arrived on campus from Oakhaven High School in Memphis (TN) in the fall of 1972. As a sophomore, Paxton pitched in 11 game, compiling a record of 7-2 on the season. He posted 54 strikeouts and had an ERA of 2.63 in being named the team's top pitcher of the year.
As an everyday player, Paxton batted .333 with three home runs and 16 RBIs. In 1974, the righthander appeared in 10 games as a pitcher and finished the season with a team low 1.87 ERA. He batted .281 as a designated hitter with five home runs and 17 RBIs in 64 plate appearances. In his final season as a Tiger, Paxton posted a 7-1 record from the mound with a 1.98 ERA. His 68 strikeouts set a new Memphis record. He hit .288 on the season with five home runs and 30 RBIs. Paxton had four games his senior season in which he did not allow a base-on-ball, including a 13-5 win over Ole Miss.
Following graduation, Paxton signed with the Boston Red Sox in 1975 and in 1977 was called up to the major league team. He finished the season with a 10-5 record and was named the co-Rookie of the Year for the Sox. Paxton was traded to the Cleveland Indians in 1978 and was 12-11 for the Indians that season and 8-8 in 1979. He retired from baseball in 1982 and began a career with Swift Food Service and Nike.