Gerry Baker: Prolific striker who played for the US in the World Cup

His daughter Lorraine reached the final of the Olympic 800 metres at the 1984 Games

Gerry Baker may not have scaled the heights reached by his younger brother Joe, but a football career which saw him recruited by the English champions at 15 and delivered a Scottish Cup-winners' medal, international recognition by the United States and a double century of goals was hardly blighted by under-achievement. The late Joe Baker remains the only player to have made his England debut without having played in the Football League, having been with Hibernian before joining Torino. Gerry was born in New York State, where their English father and Scottish mother had settled, whereas Joe was born in Liverpool on the family's return to the UK. To escape the Luftwaffe's onslaught, both were evacuated to Motherwell and grew up considering themselves Scottish, with accents to match.

In 1955, the 5ft 7in Gerry was a pacy forward, often used on the left wing, and had represented Lanarkshire Schools before being lured south by newly crowned champions Chelsea. In contrast with today's squad at Stamford Bridge, he was the only player among 45 professionals and apprentices not born in the British Isles. He later recalled that his main function was to cross the ball for a prodigy called Jimmy Greaves to score.

Homesick, he left in 1956 for Motherwell, where his hopes of a regular place were blocked by Greaves' future ITV foil, Ian St John. Switching to St Mirren in 1958, he finally operated as an out-and-out striker and marked his debut with the winner against a Hibs side that included Joe. In 1958-59, the Paisley club swept all before them in the Scottish Cup, vanquishing Celtic 4-0 in the semi-finals and Aberdeen 3-1 in the final at Hampden Park before 108,591 spectators, the last six-figure attendance for a match between two Scottish clubs not featuring Rangers or Celtic. Baker maintained his record of scoring in every round.

When St Mirren began their Cup defence with a 15-0 rout of Glasgow University on a snowbound pitch in January 1960, he plundered 10 goals. His haul might have been greater had he not left the pitch for treatment after a defender's clearance thudded into a delicate part of his anatomy.

In November that year, after 66 goals in 81 matches for St Mirren, a £17,000 fee took Baker to Manchester City to partner Denis Law, who would link up with Joe at Torino. City were in decline yet Baker still managed 14 goals in 39 games before again heading north after 12 months, joining Hibs as replacement for his brother.

While he did not emulate Joe's incredible strike-rate at Easter Road (141 goals in 160 games before he was 21), Gerry's tally of 43 in 83 appearances ensured his popularity. It also prompted renewed interest from England, and in December 1963 a £25,000 fee led him to Ipswich, who were propping up the First Division barely 18 months after winning the championship.

He scored in one of his earliest appearances, at Fulham on Boxing Day. The hosts, alas, hit 10, and he liked to recount how he had touched the ball only 11 times, all but once to kick off after Fulham goals. Ipswich were relegated, yet Baker's total of 18 goals in 23 matches, which included a hat-trick in a 6-3 defeat at Tottenham, was testament to his finishing prowess.

He departed with 66 goals from 152 games, moving to top-flight newcomers Coventry in 1967. A three-year sojourn produced only 34 appearances and six goals, but Baker, persuaded by his mother to take out US citizenship at 21 (she hoped he might eventually live the “American dream”) joined his brother as an international footballer. Between October 1968 and May '69 the British coaching duo of Phil Woosnam and Gordon Jago selected him seven times for World Cup qualifiers. On his debut against Canada the programme listed him as “Gary Baker”. Before scoring twice against Bermuda he absent-mindedly turned to face the visitors' flag as the band played their anthem, “God Save the Queen”.

After retiring, with 201 goals from 409 club matches, Baker worked at the Jaguar plant in Coventry. He and his wife Anne, a former runner, took pride in the athletic achievements of their daughters Karen and Lorraine, the latter finishing fifth in the 800 metres final at the 1984 Olympics. When asked whether he minded being overshadowed by his brother, he said the outsider status imposed by their birthplaces meant they learned to stick up for themselves and each other. He regarded Joe as his twin.

An ebullient character, Baker looked forward eagerly to the publication this autumn of Tom Maxwell's biography of himself and Joe, The Fabulous Baker Boys: The Greatest Strikers Scotland Never Had, when he suffered a stroke and died a week later.

Gerard Austin Baker, footballer: born New Rochelle, US 11 April 1938; played for Larkhall Thistle 1954-55, Chelsea 1955-56, Motherwell 1956-58, St Mirren 1958-60, Manchester City 1960-61, Hibernian 1961-63; Ipswich Town 1963-67, Coventry City 1967-70, Brentford (loan) 1969, Margate (player-manager), Nuneaton Borough, Bedworth United, Worcester City; seven appearances for the US 1968-69; married Anne Stevenson (deceased; two daughters); died Wishaw 24 August 2013.

News
Shoppers at Selfridges department store in central London
news

News
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleFormer Newsnight presenter is being touted for a brand new role
News
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
people
Voices
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
voicesAnd nobody from Ukip said babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants, says Nigel Farage
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
News
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
News
i100(More than you think)
Sport
Brendan Rodgers seems more stressed than ever before as Liverpool manager
FOOTBALLI like Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
News
The Magna Carta
archaeologyContemporary account of historic signing discovered
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
Sport
Benjamin Stambouli celebrates his goal for Tottenham last night
FOOTBALL
Life and Style
Dishing it out: the head chef in ‘Ratatouille’
food + drinkShould UK restaurants follow suit?
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML, CSS, SQL

£39000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML,...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial / Residential Property - Surrey

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Programme - Online Location Services Business

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: What do you want to do with your career? Do yo...

Recruitment Genius: Senior QC Scientist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a leading expert in immunoassa...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game