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
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
Colombia's James Rodriguez celebrates one of his goals during the FIFA World Cup 2014 round of 16 match between Colombia and Uruguay at the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Fair trade: the idea of honesty boxes relies on people paying their way
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
News
news
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Sustainability Manager

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

Graduate Sustainability Professional

Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...

Programme Director - Conduct Risk - London

£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, SC Clear

£100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary