Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Lloyd Baker

Lloyd Owen "Bob" Baker

February 24, 1919
Union Township, IN

November 28, 1950
Frankfort, IN

1935-36 Union Township High School - Indiana (High School)
1936-37 Union Township High School - Indiana (High School)
1938-39 Franklin College - Indiana (College)
1939-40 Franklin College - Indiana (College)
1939-40 Stewart Warner - Indianapolis (Independent)
1940-41 Franklin College - Indiana (College)
1941-42 Stewart Warner - Indianapolis (Independent) 
1941-42 Stewart Warner - Indianapolis (Independent) 
1945-46 Indianapolis Kautskys (NBL)
1946-47 Indianapolis Secos (Independent)
1950-51 American Legion - Frankfort, IN (Independent)

Updated / Identified 8/5/2019

Thanks to one of our readers (jimpedia) for tracking this man down.

Originally listed as "Bob Baker," Lloyd Baker was born to Custer and Mildred Baker. After graduating from Union HS in Union Township, Indiana, Baker played basketball and football at Franklin College. He would served in the U.S. Army during World War 2 and after the war would play basketball not only as a semi-pro but also for a month with the Kautskys in the NBL. He also worked as a salesman for Skelly Oil after the war. Baker was playing basketball in an Indiana Industrial league game in November of 1950 when he suffered a heart attack, dying later that night at home at the age of 31.

He was married to Helen Morris and they had two sons and a daughter.

Frankling Evening Star, November 29, 1950



  1. I think there is a character limit on comments here, because I've tried to post a couple times but it isn't registering. I'll try to break it up into halves, maybe that will work (?)

    I have a newspapers.com subscription. I did research and I can say for 100% certainty this player is NOT Wiley R. "Bullet Bob" Baker (7/11/1924 - 10/2/2007). His real name is Lloyd Owen Baker (2/24/1919 - 11/28/1950), and I can only surmise that his nickname must have randomly been "Bob." Either that, or all online sources (including basketball-reference.com) dovetailed off of each other with incorrect information about his first name, because there was no such basketball player referred to as Bob Baker in any newspapers I scoured.

    I first learned of a possible "Lloyd Baker" via probasketballencyclopedia.com/player/bob-baker. The spot where the site usually lists the full name, they have Lloyd Baker. So onto newspapers.com I went.

    Here were my findings:
    -He attended Union High School in Union Township, Johnson County, IN from 1933-1937 (The Franklin Evening Star, February 21, 1940 - newspapers.com/image/83142210). The Johnson County distinction is relevant because of how many Union Townships there are in that state.
    -He played college basketball and football for Franklin College in Franklin, IN from 1937-1941 (The Atlanta Constitution, February 14, 1942 - newspapers.com/image/384682578)
    -He played for an independent industrial league team, Stewart-Warner, for the 1941-42 season (The Franklin Evening Star, February 21, 1940 - newspapers.com/image/83142210)
    -Baker was released by the NBL's Indianapolis Kautskys on December 14, 1945. (Indianapolis News, December 15, 1945 - newspapers.com/image/314470891)
    -He joined an independent professional team in November 1946 called the Indianapolis Pecos. (The Indianapolis Star, November 8, 1946 - newspapers.com/image/104806532)
    -As of January 1948, he lived in Bargersville, IN and played in a Franklin College Alumni vs. Reserves game (The Indianapolis Star, January 29, 1948 - newspapers.com/image/104839411).

    1. I then searched FindAGrave.com for Lloyd Baker and exhausted the Indiana burials. All but just a couple of them were born in years way too early or late for it to be our guy. I was able to deduce the final couple of candidates down to one guy: Lloyd Owen Baker (2/24/1919 - 11/28/1950, buried in Franklin, Indiana -- findagrave.com/memorial/31087374/lloyd-owen-baker).

      Running with that hunch, I searched "Lloyd Owen Baker" in newspapers.com. I found a pretty extensive obituary (The Franklin Evening Star, November 29, 1950 - newspapers.com/image/95489687) that included all of the following, among other things:
      -He served in World War II as a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division, and fought in Europe
      -His death was by heart attack at age 31, while playing in an industrial league basketball game held at Lincoln Gymnasium in Frankfort, IN
      -He had been employed by the Skelgas Division of the Skelly Oil Company after his discharge from the Army, and was a sales rep for them at the time of his death

      When all of the info above is combined, it's impossible to think that Wiley R. "Bullet Bob" Baker is the guy, but rather, it's Lloyd Owen Baker (1919-1950). I believe that Bullet Bob Baker just happened to be another basketball standout, from Indiana, during that same time period, who also served in World War II - as all merely coincidental. The smoking gun is the newspaper briefing mentioned above that said Lloyd Baker was released by the Kautskys in December 1945. Considering Baker only played in six career games, they must have been toward the very beginning of the season, and the timing makes sense.

      We've got our guy.

    2. *Corrections: He played for Stewart-Warner from 1939-1942, and the name of the semi-pro team was Secos (not Pecos).

    3. Great find! I agree and have updated accordingly!