William Baker
William Baker

William Frazer Baker (1866 – December 4, 1930) was the owner of the Philadelphia Phillies of the National League from 1913 through 1930. Baker was appointed New York City Police Commissioner in July 1909 by Mayor George B. McClellan, Jr.[1] During his brief tenure, he was accused of interfering in gambling investigations.[2] He resigned from his position in October 1910.[3] In January 1913, Baker was part of a group led by his nephew, William Locke, that purchased the club.[4] Baker was elected Team President in October 1913, following the death of Locke earlier in the year.[5] He was at the helm two years later when the Phillies played in the 1915 World Series.

Baker was known for being extremely tight-fisted. For most of his tenure as the Phillies' owner, the team had only one scout, and used a flock of sheep to trim the grass at the Baker Bowl, which was named for him. Baker was so tight-fisted that he sold star pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander to the Chicago Cubs in 1917 rather than increase his salary. Within a year, the Phillies had crumbled to sixth place—the first of 14 straight seasons (and 30 of the next 31) without a winning record.

He died of a heart attack on December 4, 1930 while attending a league meeting in Montreal[6] and was succeeded as Phillies owner by Gerald Nugent.


  1. ^ "Ousts Bingham, Puts Baker In - Mayor Acts Quickly When the Commissioner Refuses to Obey All His Orders – A Clean Sweep Follows – Hanson, Slattery, and Woods Resign – Stover Succeeds Hanson – Russell Reduced to Captain. "I'll Be Back" -- Bingham - Sees Politics in His Removal and Leaves Office Full of Fight - A Mr. Pratt May Take Charge in Brooklyn". New York Times. July 2, 1909. p. 1. Retrieved 17 December 2015.
  2. ^ "Talk of Bribery at Gravesend Track - Police Official Said to Have Got $1,000 a Day to Keep Hands Off Betting on Races - Charges Against Baker - Commissioner and Sheriff Hobley May Be Accused of Neglect of Duty - Track Evidence Complete". New York Times (September 19, 1909). p. 7. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  3. ^ "Mayor Drops Police Heads; New Men In - Baker, Bugher, and Kirby Go — James C. Cropsey Is Made Commissioner - Driscoll First Deputy - Flynn, the Secret Service Head, Second Deputy and Chief of Detective Bureau - The Upheaval Sudden - The Appointees Hurry to Headquarters and Find Baker Locked in His Office - Bugher Attacks Gaynor - Says the Mayor Broke Faith with Him - His Honor Doesn't "Acquiesce" in That Statement". New York Times. October 21, 1910. p. 1. Retrieved 17 December 2015.
  4. ^ "Phillies Sold to Locke - Pittsburgher Takes Over Shares Held by Charles P. Taft". New York Times. January 16, 1913. p. 15. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  5. ^ "Phillies Retain Dooin - Ex-Police Commissioner Baker President of Club". New York Times. October 21, 1913. p. 7. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  6. ^ "W.F. Baker Dead; Head of Phillies - President df National League Team of Philadelphia Stricken in Montreal - Once Police Head Here - Served Under Mayors McClellan and Gaynor—Manager of Coler's Campaign for Governor". New York Times. December 5, 1930. p. 25. Retrieved 17 December 2015.
Police appointments Preceded byTheodore A. Bingham NYPD Commissioner1909–1910 Succeeded byJames Cropsey