Gerry Baker

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Gerry Baker
Personal information
Full name Gerard Austin Baker
Date of birth (1938-04-11)11 April 1938
Place of birth New Rochelle, New York, United States
Date of death 24 August 2013(2013-08-24) (aged 75)
Height 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
Playing position Forward
Youth career
Craigneuk Boys Club
Larkhall Thistle
1955–1956 Chelsea
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1956–1958 Motherwell 11 (4)
1958–1960 St. Mirren 63 (42)
1960–1961 Manchester City 37 (14)
1961–1963 Hibernian 59 (27)
1963–1967 Ipswich Town 135 (58)
1967–1970 Coventry City 31 (5)
1969 Brentford (loan) 8 (2)
1970–1971 Margate 40 (10)
1971–1972 Nuneaton Borough 30 (9)
1972–1974 Bedworth United
1974–1975 Worcester City 7 (2)
National team
1968–1969 United States 7 (2)
Teams managed
1970–1971 Margate
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Gerard Austin "Gerry" Baker (11 April 1938 – 24 August 2013) was an American born, British soccer player. From 1955 until 1970, he played sixteen seasons in either the Scottish or English first division. He also earned seven caps, scoring two goals, with the U.S. national team in 1968 and 1969.

Youth[edit]

Baker was born to Scottish parents[1] in New Rochelle, New York, where they were settled at the time. In 1939, his parents moved for a short while to Liverpool, where Gerry's brother, future England international Joe Baker, was born. Their father volunteereed in the Merchant Marine during World War II and died on active service. The family was evacuated to Scotland, and the brothers were raised in Motherwell.[2]

He attended Park Primary and St. Joseph Secondary schools. He played football for Craigneuk Boys Club and was selected for Lanarkshire Schools. He signed with Larkhall Thistle when he was fourteen and played in six games.[2]

He transferred to Chelsea in May 1949, aged 17, and played in their youth and third team in the 1955–56 season. The following season he appeared in six games for their reserves (scoring four goals), plus their third team. Baker made one appearance for the Chelsea first team, playing against Luton Town in a Southern Floodlight Cup match on 26 September 1956. He returned to Scotland in late 1956 due to homesickness.[3]

Professional[edit]

Baker signed with Scottish First Division club Motherwell, where he played as outside left, in December 1956. Over the next three years, he played thirteen games, scoring four goals, with the first team. Motherwell transferred Baker to St. Mirren during the 1958–59 season, as he was unable to oust Ian St. John and Pat Quinn from their team.[2][3]

He scored the winning goal for St. Mirren on his debut, a 2–1 victory against a Hibs team containing his brother Joe. On 25 April 1959, he scored the third goal in St Mirren's 3–1 victory against Aberdeen in the 1959 Scottish Cup Final. That was his eighth goal of the 1958–59 Scottish Cup, as he scored in every round. On 30 January 1960, he scored ten goals in a 15–0 win over Glasgow University. Gerry was the club's top goalscorer in both the 1958–59 and 1959–60 seasons.[3]

By this time, top English clubs were beginning to notice Baker and in November 1960, Manchester City paid £17,000 for Baker.[3] Baker spent only the remainder of the 1960–1961 season and the beginning of the 1961–1962 season with City, before they sold his contract to Hibernian for £18,000 in November 1961.[3] Over the next two years, Baker scored 43 goals in 84 games for Hibs before moving to Ipswich Town in December 1963. Ipswich paid £25,000 for Baker and Baker more than returned this investment by scoring 66 goals in 151 games. Ipswich then transferred Baker to Coventry City in November 1967. Over the next two season, Baker scored only six times in thirty games with Coventry. In October 1969, Coventry loaned Baker to Brentford where he scored two goals in eight games. Coventry released Baker at the end of the season. Baker then signed as a player-manager with non-league Margate. He was limited by several injuries, first a dislocated shoulder in August 1970, then broken ribs in November. Despite these, Baker played a total of 48 games and scored sixteen goals before leaving the club on 30 September 1971. He then joined Nuneaton Borough before finishing his playing career with Bedworth United.[citation needed]

National team[edit]

Baker held dual U.S. and British citizenship, and when it became apparent that he would not be selected for Scotland or England, he elected to make himself available for the U.S. team. He joined the U.S. as it began qualifying matches for the 1970 FIFA World Cup. His first caps came in a 4–2 World Cup qualifying loss to Canada on 17 October 1968. Over the next month, Baker started six games with the U.S. On 2 November 1968, he scored two goals in a 6–2 qualification victory over Bermuda. His last game with the U.S. came in a 1–0 loss to Haiti on 11 May 1969.[4] That loss put the U.S. out of contention for a spot in the finals.[citation needed]

Coaching[edit]

In 1970, Baker entered the managerial ranks at Margate when he was hired as the club's player-manager. He remained in this position until he left the club in September 1971. He later managed the Coventry Collier team in 1979–80.[citation needed]

Post football career[edit]

After retiring from playing professionally, Baker worked at the Coventry Jaguar factory.[2] His daughters, Karen and Lorraine, were both athletes; Lorraine placed fifth in the 800 metres final at the 1984 Olympic Games.[3] Baker was inducted to the St. Mirren Hall of Fame in May 2007. He died in August 2013, aged 75.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gerry Baker profile
  2. ^ a b c d "Where Are They Now?". Hibernian F.C. match programme. Hibernian F.C. 26 December 1987. Retrieved 25 August 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Gerry Baker". Hibs Programmes. Retrieved 25 August 2011. 
  4. ^ Line ups and results of U.S. 1960 matches
  5. ^ "Gerry Baker". www.hibernianfc.co.uk. Hibernian FC. 25 August 2013. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 

External links[edit]