Born: March 13, 1886 Trappe, Maryland
Died: June 28, 1963 (aged 77) Trappe, Maryland
Weight: 173 lbs.
Philadelphia Athletics (1908–1914)
New York Yankees (1916–1919, 1921–1922)
Frank “Homerun” Baker led the American League in home runs for four consecutive years, from 1911 through 1914. He had a batting average over .300 in six seasons, had three seasons with more than 100 runs batted in, and two seasons with over 100 runs scored. Baker’s legacy has grown over the years, and he is regarded by many as one of the best power hitters of the deadball era. During his 13 years as a major league player, Baker never played a single inning at any position other than third base. Baker was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1955.
In an era characterized by urbanization and rapid industrial growth, Frank “Home Run” Baker epitomized the rustic virtues that were becoming essential to baseball’s emerging bucolic mythology. Born and raised in a tiny farming community on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Baker developed his powerful back, arms, and hands by working long hours on his father’s farm. Like the rugged president who defined the century’s first decade, the taciturn Baker spoke softly but carried a big stick–a 52-ounce slab of wood that he held down at the handle and swung with all the force he could muster. One of the Deadball Era’s greatest sluggers, Baker led the American League or tied for the lead in home runs every year from 1911 to 1914, and earned his famous nickname with two timely round-trippers against the New York Giants in the 1911 World Series. Baker later insisted that his hard-swinging mentality came from his country roots. “The farmer doesn’t care for the pitchers’ battle that resolves itself into a checkers game,” he once declared. “The farmer loves the dramatic, and slugging is more dramatic than even the cleverest pitching.”