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Frank Baker

Frank Baker

Position(s):
3B
Nicknames:
Home Run
Born:
March 13, 1886
Bats:
Left
Throws:
Right
Height:
5' 11"
Weight:
173 lbs
Major League Debut:
9-21-1908 with PHA
Hall of Fame:
1955

Frank Baker was one of the best World Series performers in history. In 25 World Series games he collected 33 hits, batted .363, slugged .538, hit three home runs, scored 15 runs, and batted in 18. He played on four Philadelphia A’s pennant winners, winning three World Series titles with Connie Mack. Baker collected nine hits in three straight Series.

Baker was the cleanup hitter on the great A’s teams that included Eddie Collins, Jack Barry, Stuffy McInnis, Harry Davis, Chief Bender and Eddie Plank. Along with Collins, McInnis, and Barry, he formed the famed $100,000 Infield.

In the 1911 Series, Baker earned his famous moniker. In Game Two he hit a two-run blast off Rube Marquard in the sixth inning that beat the Giants 3-1. The next day in Game Three he hit a solo-homer in the ninth off Christy Mathewson, tying the game, which the A’s eventually won in the 11th. Baker's homers on back-to-back days was quite unusual in an era when 7-12 homers was a league-leading figure for an entire season. The A’s won the 1911 World Series and the 1913 Fall Classic as well. Baker batted .450 in the 1913 set.

Following the disappointing 1914 sweep at the hands of the Braves in the World Series, Mack broke up his team and sold off his stars. Baker was the only man Mack kept, but he refused to report and sat out the entire 1915 season in a contract dispute. Instead he played for Upland, Pennsylvania’s semipro team. In 1916 he was sent to the New York Yankees, where he finished in the top five in home runs each season from 1916 to 1919.

In 1920, Baker’s first wife died, leaving him with two daughters to care for. He chose to sit out the entire season but returned in 1921 to help the Yankees win their first pennant. He appeared as a utility player in both the 1921 and 1922 World Series. He retired after the ’22 campaign with a .307 lifetime average and a modest (by today’s standards) 96 career home runs. Yet, from 1909 to 1919, no player in the AL hit more homers than Baker, and only Ty Cobb had more RBI.

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Tagged:
Baseball History, Frank Baker, Hall of Fame, Home run

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