Historic Baseball

Historic Baseball

Bringing Baseball History To Center Field

John Franklin Baker
Born: March 13, 1886 in Trappe, Md. 
Died: June 26, 1963 in Trappe, Md.
Debut: 1908 | Pos: 3B
Ht: 5’11” | Wt: 173 | B: L | T: R

13 1575 5984 887 1838 96 987 235 .307

>> Visit the Frank Baker biography on Baseball Almanac for complete statistics.

By today’s standards, Frank Baker’s  96 career home runs wouldn’t even earn a second look. By the standards of his time, Baker was an unmatched power hitter.

After a brief appearance in September 1908, Frank Baker took his place at third base with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1909 and made an immediate contribution. He led the league with 19 triples, tying the AL rookie record set by Joe Cassidy in 1904. That record still stands today..

From 1911-1914, Baker was the unmatched king of the long ball in the American League. He led or tied for the league lead in home runs in 1911 with 11, 1912 with 10, 1913 with 12 and 1914 with 8. He also led the league in RBIs in 1912 with 130 and 1913 with 17.

As the starter at 3B for the Philadelphia Athletics, Baker was a member of the famed “$100,000 Infield.” The other members were Eddie Collins at second, Jack Barry at short and Stuffy McInnis at first. 

Baker made his first appearance in the World Series in 1910. His Athletics won the series in 5 games and Baker collected 9 hits and drove in 4 runs. It would be the next season that would lead to Baker’s nickname of “Home Run.” After leading the AL with 11 home runs in the 1911 season, Baker delivered a pair of key home runs in games 2 and 3 of the World Series against New York. 

In 1912, he led the league with 10 home runs and 130 RBI. Baker also added 40 stolen bases and hit .347 — an AL record for 3B that stood until 1980.

The Athletics returned to the series in 1913 and, once again, Baker provided some heroics, hitting a two-run HR in the first game. He led all players in the series with 9 hits and 7 RBI. In 1914, Baker collected 8 home runs to lead the American League (it was his last time at the top of this category).

Baker put his career on hold in 1915, holding out for the entire season. Prior to the 1916 campaign, the Athletics sold his contract to the New York Yankees for $35,000. He responded with 6 home runs and 71 RBI for New York.

In 1919, he once again hit 10 home runs. This time his total tied Tilly Walker and George Sisler, all three runners-up to Babe Ruth who hit 29. Baker voluntarilly retired from the game the next season, but returned to the Yankees in 1921 to hit .294 with 9 home runs and 71 RBI. He collected 2 hits in 8 at-bats in that year’s World Series.

Injuries limited him to only 69 games for New York in the 1922 season, hitting .278 with 7 home runs and 36 RBIs. He was hitless in a single at-bat in the World Series and called it quits at the end of the season.

Frank Baker’s career was honored in 1955 when he was inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame.