Leon Francis Baker
17 August 1956
Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 27y 226d
Last game: 32y 10d
Height and weight
Height: 183 cm
Weight: 85 kg
Swan Districts (1984)
Hall of fame
Western Australian Football Hall Of Fame, Inducted 2008
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One of those prodigiously talented individuals who seem able to rack up numerous possessions almost without trying, Leon Baker might conceivably have achieved much more in league football had he not been such a late starter. When he made his debut with Swan Districts in 1981 he was already approaching 25 years of age, having played all his earlier senior football with such country teams as Avenel, Seymour and South Bunbury.
He was an immediate and pronounced success at Swans, vying for best afield honours with team mate Graham Melrose in the 1982 grand final win over Claremont, and earning a club fairest and best award the following year. Courageous, tough and abundantly skilled, he was as close to the ideal centreman as could be imagined.
In 1984 Baker transferred to Essendon, where he continued to flourish. He was one of the best players on view in the 1984 (reviewed here) and 1985 VFL Grand Finals, both of which were won by the Bombers, and he ran second in the club's best and fairest award both years. He played a total of 86 games in five seasons at Essendon but was hampered with injury towards the end.
Leon Baker represented West Australia at state of origin level on three occasions, and was selected in the 1985 All Australian team. Despite the brevity of his stay at Swan Districts, he was chosen as centreman in the club's official 'Team of the Century'.
Author - John Devaney