John Baker (defensive lineman, born 1935)
|John Baker, Jr.|
|Sheriff of Wake County, North Carolina|
June 10, 1935|
Raleigh, North Carolina
October 31, 2007 72) (aged|
Raleigh, North Carolina
|No. 73, 78|
|Position:||DE / DT|
|College:||North Carolina Central|
|NFL Draft:||1958 / Round: 5 / Pick: 56|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
Early life and education
Born in Raleigh, North Carolina, Baker was the son of John H. Baker, Sr., the city's first African-American police officer. Baker, Sr. served at one time as sergeant-at-arms for the city council.
In the fifth round of the 1958 NFL Draft, Baker was selected by the Los Angeles Rams. Over eleven seasons he played for the Rams (1958–61), Philadelphia Eagles (1962), Pittsburgh Steelers (1963–67) and Detroit Lions (1968). With the Steelers, he was famous for his tackle on New York Giants quarterback Y.A. Tittle in 1964, which left Tittle bloodied and helmet-less.
After Baker retired from the NFL, he worked as an aide for then-U.S. Senator Robert Morgan. He was also appointed to the state Parole Commission in 1970, the first black to do so. He began speaking to youth in community centers and in prison, trying to help them change their lives for good. In 1976 Baker worked on the state presidential campaign of Jimmy Carter.
In 1978, Baker ran for sheriff of Wake County and won. He was repeatedly re-elected and held the position for 24 years. He instituted a way for incarcerated youth to continue their education, and was instrumental in founding the John H. Baker Charter School (which was named after him.)
In 2002 Baker was defeated for re-election as sheriff by Donnie Harrison. He was unsuccessful in a 2006 campaign to regain the office.
Legacy and honors
- 1972 – He was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.
- 2007 – both Baker, Jr. and his father Baker, Sr. were inducted into the Raleigh Hall of Fame.
- 2008 – The Wake Country Public Safety Center was renamed after John H. Baker, Jr. to honor his long service as sheriff.
- McDonald, Thomasi (2007-10-31). "Former Wake Sheriff John Baker dies". The News & Observer. Retrieved 2007-10-31.
- "Former Sheriff John Baker Dies at 72". www.wral.com. WRAL News. 5 November 2007. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
- John H. Baker (1935-2007)
- News & Observer: Building to get longtime sheriff's name today. Retrieved on September 15, 2008.