William Baker at the Winter Meetings

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When Philadelphia Phillies owner William Baker arrived in reported good health – despite a heart ailment over the last few months – at the Mount Royal Hotel in Montreal for the minor-league meetings, he greeted friends in the lobby.[1]Baker suffered a slight attack on the evening of December 3, but quickly recovered. He proceeded to have dinner with his wife, Phillies business manager Gerald P.Nugent, and their wives. By 10 P.M., Baker felt ill enough that a doctor was summoned to his Ritz-Carlton suite. By 5:30 the following morning, Baker had died.[2]

The minor-league convention met at 11 A.M., and adjourned until 1 P.M. out of respect for Baker.[3]

National League President John Heydler commented, “I was deeply shocked and grieved to learn of the sudden death of Mr. Baker. He was second in length of service among the club presidents, having been at the head of our Philadelphia club for more than 17 years. Mr. Baker was a man of fine principles, impartial in action, and with a courage to stand up to his convictions.”[4]


[1] “Baseball Man Dies Suddenly,” Ottawa Journal, December 4, 1930: 1.

[2] “W.F. Baker Dies Suddenly; Cobb May Become Owner of Philadelphia Nationals,” Cincinnati Enquirer, December 5, 1930: 3.

[3] Delegates Decree Baseball Players Must Stay Out of Ring,” Ottawa Journal, December 5, 1930: 27.

[4] “W.F. Baker Dead; Head of Phillies,” New York Times, December 5, 1930: 25.

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