Benjamin Howard Baker: Sportsman Supreme
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Benjamin Howard Baker is arguably Britain's finest ever all-round sportsman, and yet his life and competitive career has never previously been written about at any length. Olympic High Jumper, England Goalkeeper, Cricketer, Swimmer…What couldn’t he do?
This is the story of one of the greatest sportsmen in British history, at a time when sport was being defined in a way it had never previously been. This is the first time his feats have been written about in a book.
He twice competed at the Olympic Games as a high jumper and held the British record for a quarter of a century. He also set an English record for the triple jump and was a fine hurdler and very capably threw the discus, hammer and javelin.
He played in goal for Chelsea and for the England professional and amateur international teams. He was also a water-polo goalkeeper and came close to England selection in that game. He was a title-winning tennis player.
He was a star turn as an exhibition swimmer and diver. He played cricket at the highest club level. He rowed, sailed, boxed, and ran round the streets at night to keep fit long before jogging became popular.
Bob Phillips has spent his working lifetime in journalism and press relations and for 17 years was a member of the BBC Radio athletics commentary team, covering all the major events in the World, including the Olympic Games.
In recent years he has written a number of books about various aspects of sport, including an account of the 1948 London Olympics which was described by one of Britain's most renowned sports columnists as 'unputdownable'.
Athletics has always been his major sporting passion, though cycle-racing comes close, and he competed as a runner himself at every distance from the sprints to the marathon, running the London Marathon on two occasions.