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Bobby Baun has passed

Started by Highlander, August 15, 2023, 11:11:55 AM

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Bobby Baun has passed, he was a good friend of my Dad and used to come to our house when I was a wee kid. 
The Boomer is gone.
"In the beginners mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few"
                                           Sunryn Suzuki


Quote from: Highlander on August 15, 2023, 11:11:55 AMBobby Baun has passed, he was a good friend of my Dad and used to come to our house when I was a wee kid. 
The Boomer is gone.

My Dad hunted with him.

He won 2 Memorial Cups with Toronto Marlboros
He was called up at age 20 and stuck in '56-57.
The rosters were smaller then - only 16 skaters in the latter half of the season. Teams would often go 5 dmen 11 forwards
So he was ~top 5 D in the 6 team NHL. Top 30 in the NHL at age 20 - that's pretty good back then.
He was top 4 on the 3 Cup winning teams '62-'64
Stanley- Horton
Brewer - Baun
They were integral to the good defense that won them 3 cups.
Baun was around with Horton & Stanley for a 4th Cup in '67.

He did a solid, less noticed defensive dman job - defending, hitting and blocking shots.
He wasn't that big to play like that though the players were not as big in those days.
When Baun retired, Montreal tough guy John Ferguson, who Baun fought, said something like "the last of the great hitters has left the game"
That had caught my eye. He hammered opponents with open ice hip checks.
He was wasn't that quick but tough & strong.
I think he helped Brian Glennie with hitting.

Nice little tribute tweets

The one thing they don't mention often about the game 6 OT goal scored on a broken fibula is he came back to Toronto, took care of his leg for 2 days and showed just before game 7. They taped it, froze it and he played game 7 on a broken fibula. They were very primitive medically compared to today. His role was to prevent goals. Game 7: Facing Gordie Howe, Alex Delvecchio & Norm Ullman and the rest of the Wings (including Paul Henderson), they shut them out to win the Stanley Cup. That to me was more impressive than the OT goal.

Odd memory: I know I watched that game 6 but I did not see the goal live.
I'm a fan. It's his big moment. And I missed it somehow. No color tv. No instant replay yet.
That I remember. Glad I finally got to see it.

He wasn't a dirty player like some physical players. He showed up, played his heart out with a tough, honest game seemingly every night. I think he deserved a little more credit than maybe he got for the team success.

Brewer's & Baun's careers were both damaged by trying to get players a bigger piece of the money pie. Baun counseled young players to help them get better contracts. He held out for more money in '66. From that, Imlach wouldn't play Baun much in the '67 playoffs. After they won the Cup, Baun wouldn't shake hands with Imlach. Imlach left him unprotected in the '67 expansion draft and he wound up in Oakland as their captain. He eventually came back to Toronto for his final 3 seasons. He injured his neck five years before - apparently broken but kept playing and aggravated it in '72. It was too risky to continue. So he retired.

Did Brewer & Baun and later Keon & others have a grievance?
This is a wild fact:
In 1948-49 & 1949-50, future Captain George Armstrong was playing for the Marlboros just before joining the Leafs.
He apparently earned $60 for one season and $54 for the other season $1.16 per game (from '67 book according to HockeyZonePlus site)

I estimated the whole '63 Cup winning team (17 dressed, 3 not dressed) earned about $290,000 which would roughly be $2,900,000 in today's dollars. Mahovlich, the Auston Matthews of the team at the time, earned $24,898 in '62-63 which would be roughly $248,980 in today's dollars crudely compared to Austin's $11.6 mil. So they had a legit grievance.

Brewer & Baun got run off. They both would resurface in NHL related efforts.
In the '80s Baun formed an NHL alumni association trying to investigate his pension that was around $7,000/yr. The players were nervous of ownership and didn't back him.
Brewer kept at it and was integral in bringing down Alan Eagleson.
Baun was vindicated with a major settlement from the NHL for pensions.

I admired both men for their efforts to help their fellow players.
That's a key part of what inspired me to write this post aside from the fact I was a fan.
Baun deserves to be remembered for not only for his on ice performance but his off ice effort to helping other players.

My Dad was impressed with him. I encountered him a few times - always a nice, humble gentleman.