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Zoneranger's Whozis #78


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"Like his contemporaries Jim Thorp, Ty Cobb, and Jack Johnson, Hobey Baker was a fabulous athlete; like them, he had a great physique, fantastic reflexes, instant coordination of hand and eye, iron discipline, blazing courage. But to these rare abilities he added another dimension all his own...to the public during his career at Princeton and St. Nick's he was the college athlete supreme: the gentlemen sportsman, the amateur in the pure sense playing the game "Pour le sport," who never fowled, despised publicity, and refused professional offers." So wrote John Davis in his biography, "The Legend of Hobey Baker." Baker learned early in life the arts of both stickhandling and skating. He was a master at both.

Davies describes his play best when he relates: "It was the age of seven man hockey, no forward passing and no substitutions; he played the position of rover, the offensive superstar permitted to roam all over the ice. The typical play was for him to take a rebound at his own end, circle the goal to pick up speed, and then tear down the length of the ice, by the rules unable to forward pass; because of the no-substitution rule and his phenomenal endurance, this went on all night. Because of the further accident that Princeton at the time had no rink of its own, he always played in cities before big crowds; whenever he got the puck and took off, the crowd would jump to its feet and shout, "Here he comes!". Prior to entering Princeton in 1910 Baker attended the St. Paul's School, Concord, New Hampshire where Malcom K. Gordon, another United States Hockey Hall of Fame enshrinee was coach.

At Princeton he was not only a legend in hockey, but in football as well. He captained the hockey team for two years and the football team for one. In his senior year he drop-kicked a 43 yard field goal to tie Yale. After leaving Princeton Baker continued in hockey with the St. Nicholas Club until his entry into the famed United States flying unit, the Lafayette Esquadrille, in World War I. He was killed in a tragic air accident shortly after the end of the war. He was later honored by having an award, the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, given annually to the nation's top collegiate hockey player - a gesture fitting of the type of first-class person both on and off the ice that he was.

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