Tony Baker (running back, born 1945)

Last updated
Tony Baker
Position: Running back
Personal information
Born:(1945-02-16)February 16, 1945
Burlington, Iowa
Died:August 9, 1998(1998-08-09) (aged 53)
Mediapolis, Iowa
Career information
College: Iowa State
Undrafted: 1966
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Player stats at PFR

Vernon Anthony "Touchdown Tony" Baker (February 16, 1945 August 9, 1998) was an American football running back in the National Football League (NFL). He played from 1968 to 1975, and played for the New Orleans Saints, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Los Angeles Rams, and finally, the San Diego Chargers, and had one Pro Bowl appearance, in 1969.

Contents

Football career

Baker graduated from Burlington Community High School in 1963, earning a scholarship to Iowa State University the following year, where he would graduate in 1966. He then played semi-pro ball for a season and a half with the Des Moines Warriors of the Professional Football League of America, before being discovered by a talent scout for the New Orleans Saints. He would sign a contract with the Saints, and begin his NFL career the following year, making an appearance in the Pro Bowl in his second season. It was during this rookie season that sports broadcaster Howard Cosell gave him the nickname Touchdown Tony. He would end his career in 1975, playing with the San Diego Chargers as a backup.

Death

On August 10, 1998, Baker was killed in a car accident on U.S. Route 61, approximately 15 miles (24 km) north of Burlington, Iowa following a high school class reunion. [1] He was buried in Aspen Grove Cemetery in Burlington, next to his mother, with many of his old NFL teammates in attendance. His burial plot was chosen by his family with two trees in the distance appearing as though they were goalpost uprights. A misprint on his headstone has him named Vernon G. Baker, instead of Vernon A. Baker.

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References

  1. "Tony Baker, Former N.F.L. Running Back, 53". The New York Times. August 10, 1998. Retrieved June 24, 2018.