Thursday, November 11, 2010
Hobey Baker is already and icon and a legend, and his legacy will not change as the result of another honor, but he will be inducted tonight into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame. He was born in Bryn Mawr, a suburb of Philadelphia.
The remarkable resume he amassed in that brief lifetime reads like some early-20th-century hybrid of the Boy Scout Oath and a Jack Armstrong novel. An all-American athlete and a war hero, Baker was Pat Tillman without the ambiguities.Like Jim Thorpe and Jim Brown, Baker may be one of the greatest multi-sport athletes in American history. The linked article makes mention of the possibility of a future movie about him, which I would pay good money to see.
The Philadelphia native was muscular, blond, handsome, wealthy, brave, honorable, generous, and so athletic he eventually would land in both the Hockey and College Football Halls of Fame.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, who attended Princeton with him, borrowed Baker's gilded persona for This Side of Paradise, the novel whose main character, Amory Blaine, also bears his middle name. Princeton's hockey arena and NCAA hockey's version of the Heisman Trophy are named in his honor.
"Had Hobey Baker not existed," reads the jacket of Emil Salvini's biography, Hobey Baker: American Legend, "some clever wordsmith would have been compelled to create him."