Historical Hitter

Historical Hitter October 17th 1911: Home Run Baker

Home Run BakerToday in the 1911 World Series the first World Series nickname was created. John Franklin Baker entered this World Series Frank “Home Run” Baker left this World Series. He was the hitter of the day back in August when he was a Yankee. Today Baker is in his glory days with the A’s of Philadelphia.

1911 was a good year for the A’s of Philadelphia. They were defending World Champs, and featured the $100,000 Infield of Home Run Baker (3B), Jack Barry (SS), Eddie Collins (2B), and Stuffy McGinnis (1B). And the A’s got revenge.

The 1911 World Series was memorable series for three unique events, first the series was delayed seven days for rain delays- and prohibition on Sunday baseball; it was the first time the World Series had two extra innings games. The Editors of Sporting Life describe the series as,

…was the most sensational World’s Series of record by reason of the splendid ball played, the closeness of the contests…”

Finally it was two home runs by Home Run Baker. The pitching was excellent during that World Series indicated by low scoring games and few extra base hits.

…games were decided by individual factors, chief of whom was third baseman Baker, of the Athletics, who now enjoys the distinction of deciding two games by home-run hits under conditions never before equaled in a World Series game…

1911 World Series Game 2 Box ScoreFrank Baker was a harbinger of the game to come. He led the American League in home runs four successive seasons from 1911 to 1914. In 1912 and 1913 he also led the league in RBI’s with 130 and 117 respectfully. And in 1911 he hit home runs in two successive games; Game 2 it was off Hall of Famer Rube Marquard; and in Game 3 it was off Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson.

The first home run on the 16th won Game 2 for the A’s. With the score tied at 1, and two out, the decisive home run was a two run shot over the right field wall at old Shibe Park. The final score was A’s 3 – Giants 1, with Hall of Fame Pitcher Eddie Plank getting the win. As Sporting Life reported, with emphasis taken from the printed story:

With a ball and a strike on him Baker stepped into a low fastball, which Marquard pitched contrary to Catcher Meyers’ instructions. Baker landed on it hard, as only he can, and sent the ball far and high


for a homer, driving Collins in ahead of him.

His second home run on the 17th tied the game which was more dramatic fashion. This home run occurred to the great dismay of the full house at the Polo Grounds. Baker home run off Mathewson in the top of the ninth, kept the A’s alive. In the top of the 11inning, Eddie Collins and Baker got singles and scored. It was Baker scoring the third run which was the winning run for the A’s. Final score, A’s 3 – Giants 2. Colby Jack Coombs, a winner of 28 games in 1911, was the beneficiary and took the win. As the Sporting Life account goes it was a stunning hit, one never seen before in World Series play.

1911 World Series Game Box ScoreThe fourth ball served was a low curve on the inside which failed to break fast, or just right. Baker, who was set, lunged against it with all of his might and sent the ball high and crashing into the right-field stand for the home run which tied the score, when the game seemed to be virtually ended. The scene that followed was indescribable, even all of New York joining in the whirlwind of applause which greeted the mighty achievement of the great Athletic slugger.

As for Baker, he hit two successive World Series home runs, one in each park which cemented his legend.

Baker, therefore, now enjoys the distinction of being the greatest individual factor in a club’s success in any World’s Series to date.

As for the Giants and A’s, two years later in 1913, Home Run Baker struck again in Game One hitting another home run of Marquard, this time in the Polo Grounds. Baker hit three home runs in a stretch of six World Series games. The next time the teams would meet was 1989 across the continent as San Francisco and Oakland. This time eight different A’s players hit home runs for a total of nine off Giant pitchers.



Sporting Life,

Volume 58 Number 8, October 28, 1911

Volume 58 Number 9, November 4, 1911


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