Skip to main content


"I guess I was probably somewhat naive," says Terry Baker of the
young man from Oregon State who came east in December 1962 to
receive the Heisman Trophy. "I met President Kennedy at the
Army-Navy game, and he knew my schedule better than I. He said,
'You're meeting my brother at the Heisman banquet next
weekend.'" I said, "I am?"

Now 56 and a lawyer in Portland, Baker is a vestige of an era in
which malt shops and sock hops had not yet given way to sit-ins
and dropouts. In 1962 Baker, a clean-cut engineering major who
quarterbacked not only Oregon State's 9-2 football team but
also, as guard, its Final Four basketball squad, was truly
everybody's All-America. Besides winning the Heisman and Maxwell
awards, he was a consensus football All-America and our
Sportsman of the Year. In the Liberty Bowl, Baker put an
exclamation point on his magical season by scoring the game's
only points on a 99-yard quarterback keeper in the Beavers' 6-0
win over Villanova. "I've given all my trophies to Oregon State
except for the Sportsman amphora," says Baker, who went to the
school on a basketball scholarship.

His pro football career would be less distinguished. Three years
after selecting Baker first in the 1963 NFL draft, the Los
Angeles Rams cut him. By then Baker was already, as he puts it,
"on a different track," married to his college sweetheart,
Marilyn Davis, and attending law school at USC. Though he did
play a final year of football, for the CFL's Edmonton Eskimos,
Baker never chased after the contrails of fame. "I think I've
been back to the Heisman banquet twice since I was inducted,"
says Baker, who has a son, Brian, 32, and a daughter, Wendy, 30.

Baker's fortuitous meeting with Robert Kennedy--they sat side by
side at the 1962 Heisman banquet--awakened him to the
politicized era that was dawning. When Kennedy sought the
Democratic nomination for president in '68, Baker accompanied
him on campaign swings through Oregon. In the wake of the Kent
State tragedy in '70, he took part in a commission to
investigate campus unrest. "We met for three months in
Washington, D.C., that summer, and there were no incidents
during that time," says Baker. "Then again, school was out of

Today Baker--divorced and remarried, to his high school
sweetheart, Barbara Ginther--tackles less divisive causes as
chairman of the AAA. "I'm the ideal member," says Baker, who
drives an '87 Acura Legend with some 140,000 miles on it. "My
car's in the shop right now."

--John Walters