When it was a game.net


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Whenitwasagame.net themes and content are dedicated to the remembrance, celebration and preservation of our baseball heritage.
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Unnatural
disaster
threatens
baseball

We the fans, the true “owners” of baseball, must hold the commissioner, the team owners, the players and their union accountable.
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Power surge
The '50s was the decade of power and the numbers put up by the untainted athletes were impressive.
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INSIDE:

CLUBHOUSE
CRONICLES

Jimmy Palermo, during a historic 7-day span in May, 1939, saw the meteoric rise of Williams and tragic decline of Gehrig.

THE GAME'S
GOLDEN ERA

An exclusive WIWAG ongoing feature.


MEMORIES
The field seemed vast to a 7-year old who had looked forward to this day for two months.

BREAKING THE COLOR LINE
The year marks the 60th anniversary of the first major league tryout for black players.

SPECIAL COLOR
LINE TIMELINE

Bud Fowler is the first know black players on an integrated team.

BOOMING BATS
of the '50s

Qualify as Grade A10.


AMERICA'S ORIGINAL
SPORTS BAR
First sports bar featured 12-inch Farnsworth TV.

BASEBALL
HISTORIANS

Two unsuspecting vintage baseball fans rediscover a "National Treasure."
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BAKER WAS swinging a Louisville Slugger (model D89) with a signature barrel stamp.


BAKER pictured here as a Kansas City Monarch, was an all-star shortstop in the Pacific Coast League.

















CUB ROOKIE Gene Baker used this bat in a series with the Cardinals in July of 1954. In the first game of that series he almost single-handedly destroyed the Redbird pitching staff with four hits: two singles, a two-run homer, and a game-winning RBI double in the 11th inning that sealed the 6-4 win for the Bruins. Baker went on to have a very solid season, hitting .275, and, teaming with fellow Cub rookie Ernie Banks, made up what many thought was the best keystone combo in baseball.

GENE BAKER

ALL-STAR: 1955

Baker first black signed by Cubs

Former Kansas City Monarch joined Ernie Banks in breaking the color barrier for the Cubs in 1953

MAJOR LEAGUE ALL-STAR
GENE BAKER became the starting second baseman for the Cubs in 1954, hitting .275 with 13 home runs and 61 RBIs.
GENE BAKER WEB LINKS
Gene Baker began his Major League baseball career on September 20, 1953, with the Chicago Cubs. He played for eight seasons for the Cubs and Pirates - and ended his big league playing career in 1961.

Baker was the first black player signed by the Cubs and joined Ernie Banks in breaking the color barrier for Chicago in 1953. Baker, who debuted with Banks as the Cubs' double-play combination during the 1953 season, was a former Kansas City Monarch and an all-star shortstop in the Pacific Coast League.

With Banks at shortstop, Baker was switched permanently to second base in 1954. As a shortstop stuck playing second base, Baker led National League second-sackers in errors his first three seasons. But, he had excellent range — and was a solid offensive contributor to a powerful Cub line-up that included fellow "Boomers" Randy Jackson, Hank Sauer and Ralph Kiner, as well as Banks.

Baker and Banks played together until 1957 when Baker was traded to the Pirates — along with Dee Fondy — for Dale Long and Lee Walls. Early the next season, he injured his knee. He missed all of 1959, and played only a few games in 1960-61 before turning to coaching and scouting for the Pirates.

He finished his career with a .265 lifetime average and was a National League all-star in 1955.

GENE BAKER: Did you know...

...Baker was an all-state basketball player in Iowa in 1942 and 43. He also ran track in high school, clocking a 10-second flat 100-yard dash.

...Baker began his Major League baseball career on September 20, 1953, with the Chicago Cubs. The 28 year-old played for eight seasons on two different teams and ended his big league playing career in 1961.

...Baker became the starting second baseman for the Cubs in 1954, hitting .275 with 13 home runs and 61 RBI. In 1955, he played in 154 games, hitting .268 with 11 home runs and 52 RBI.

...Baker finished his major league career with the Pirates in 1961. He missed the entire 1959 season, but returned near the end of the 1960 season and had three at-bats in the World Series win against the Yankees.

...Baker was a manager in the Pirates' farm system following his playing career. In 1961 he was named manager of the Batavia, N.Y. minor league team. In 1965, he returned to Davenport and worked for the Pirates as the chief scout in the Midwest for the next 23 years.

...Baker was born June 15, 1925 in Davenport, Iowa. He died on Dec. 1, 1999 in Davenport, Iowa, following a heart attack at age 74.


GENE BAKER debuted with Ernie Banks as the Cubs' double-play combination during the 1953 season. Prior to his Major League career, Baker was a Kansas City Monarch and an all-star shortstop in the Pacific Coast League.

GENE BAKER began his Major League baseball career on September 20, 1953, with the Chicago Cubs. He played for eight seasons for the Cubs and Pirates - and ended his big league playing career in 1961.