Recent Padres backup catcher John Baker is one of four former Friars born on this date, and one out of two of those four who is turning 33 today. This is normally when I would post a card of him from his days in San Diego, but no such card was ever issued despite him spending a season-and-a-half with the club. So, I did the only sensible thing and made one fitting the bill. I didn't want to repeat any of the designs I used for the Jedd Gyorko or Alexi Amarista mockups I made last spring, so I reached way back and mimicked the 1909 E101 set. One, it's very simple to imitate using just MS Paint, and two, I wanted to do a set that included horizontal cards so I could use that hilarious photo.
Despite his shortcomings both behind and beside the plate, Baker was a fan favorite in San Diego due to his enthusiasm, love of the game, and overall gifworthiness.
Johnny Bakes was optioned to AAA Tucson in late May when Yasmani Grandal returned from suspension, and was designated for assignment two weeks later to make room on the 40-man roster for Logan Forsythe, who had been on the 60-day DL. He was claimed by the Dodgers in a move that many assumed was made just to pump him for information about San Diego's staff and signs. Baker spent the rest of the season with AAA Albuquerque, hitting .203/ .294/ .301 in 153 plate appearances over 40 games. He was granted free agency after the season and inked a minor league deal with the Cubs which includes an invitation to big league spring training. Chicago seems to be set behind the plate with starter Welington Castillo and backup George Kottaras, so it appears that Baker will open the season with AAA Iowa barring an injury to one or both of them.
I hope Baker has a great birthday and finds his way back to the bigs this season. Maybe he'll even get a card released this year. It's something for him to keep in mind when he's blowing out his candles today.