Tony Baker (running back, born 1945)

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Vernon Anthony Baker
Date of birth (1945-02-16)February 16, 1945
Place of birth Burlington, Iowa
Date of death August 9, 1998(1998-08-09) (aged 53)
Place of death Mediapolis, Iowa
Career information
Position(s) Running back
College Iowa State
Career history
As player
1968–1971 New Orleans Saints
1971–1972 Philadelphia Eagles
1973–1974 Los Angeles Rams
1975 San Diego Chargers
Career highlights and awards
Pro Bowls 1 (1968)
Career stats

Vernon Anthony "Touchdown Tony" Baker (February 16, 1945 – August 9, 1998) was an American football running back in the National Football League. He played from 1968 to 1975, and played for the New Orleans Saints, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Los Angeles Rams, and finally, the San Diego Chargers, ending his career with one Pro Bowl appearance in 1969.

Baker graduated from Burlington Community High School in 1963, earning a scholarship to Iowa State University the following year where he would graduate in 1966. He then played Semi-Pro ball for a season and a half, before being discovered by a talent scout for the New Orleans Saints. He would sign a contract with the Saints, and begin his NFL career the following year, making an appearance in the Pro Bowl in his second season. It was during this rookie season that sports broadcaster Howard Cosell gave him the nickname Touchdown Tony. He would end his career in 1975, playing with the San Diego Chargers as a backup.

Baker was killed in a car accident on U.S. Route 61, approximately 13 miles (21 km) north of Burlington, Iowa following a high school class reunion. He was 53 years old. He was buried in Aspen Grove Cemetery in Burlington, next to his mother, with many of his old NFL teammates in attendance. His burial plot was chosen by his family with two trees in the distance appearing as though they were goalpost uprights. A misprint on his headstone has him named Vernon G. Baker, instead of Vernon A. Baker.