William Baker (baseball)
William Frazer Baker (1866 – December 4, 1930) was the owner of the Philadelphia Phillies of the National League from 1913 through 1930. Baker was appointed New York City Police Commissioner in July 1909 by Mayor George B. McClellan, Jr. (New York Times, July 2, 1909). During his brief tenure he was accused of interfering in gambling investigations (New York Times, Sep. 19, 1909). He resigned his position in October 1910 (New York Times, Oct. 21, 1910.). In January 1913, Baker was part of a group led by his nephew, William Locke, that purchased the club (New York Times, January 16, 1913). Baker was elected team president in October 1913, following the death of Locke earlier in the year (New York Times, Oct. 21, 1913). He was at the helm two years later when the Phillies played in the 1915 World Series.
Baker was known for being extremely tight-fisted. For most of his tenure as owner, the Phillies had only one scout, and used a flock of sheep to trim the grass at Baker Bowl, which was named for him. He was so tight-fisted that he sold star pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander to the Chicago Cubs in 1917 rather than increase his salary. Within a year, the Phillies had fallen to last place—the first of 15 straight years (and 29 out of 30) without a winning record.
He died of a heart attack on December 4, 1930 while attending a league meeting in Montreal (New York Times, Dec. 5, 1930) and was succeeded as Phillies owner by Gerald Nugent.
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