On this week’s pod, we have the honor of interviewing 73-year-old Gerry Baker, former US international and the first American ever to score a hat trick in top-flight English soccer.
Last week we enlisted your help to find Gerry after Clint Dempsey’s impressive hat trick against Newcastle was headline-making news. Dempsey’s achievement was remarkable, although Baker had achieved a similar feat 51 years earlier and his whereabouts were then unknown. Thanks to your help, we located Gerry. To record his story was to tap into the rich and complex footballing history that flows through this nation’s veins.
Putting aside the false dawns and hyperbolic predictions, the American soccer tradition tells some textured tales if you know where to listen. And to have the opportunity to interview Baker and hear about his experiences playing for the US National team in the 60’s, when the majority of the players were foreign-born citizens plying a semi-pro trade in the New York metropolitan area’s German American Soccer League, was a thrill we will not soon forget.
Despite his achievements, Baker is not a member of the US Soccer Hall of Fame. We encourage listeners to drop the Hall a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and urge them to reconsider. If the number of entries we received for our inaugural MiB Craft Comeptition to design a more realistic looking “hairpiece” for Wayne Rooney is anything to go by, you will do the legacy of Gerry Baker proud.