Art Baker – Wrestling Champ and Bills Fullback

autographed 1962 fleer art baker

Syracuse University produced a fantastic string of running backs who made great impact on professional football in the late 1950s and early 1960s.  Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Jim Nance, Floyd Little and Larry Csonka all spent their collegiate years at the university in Upstate New York, carrying the ball for the Orangemen.

There was, in fact, another Syracuse back who spent time in professional football, though he is not as well-known as those above.  Art Baker was a 6’0″, 220-lb. fullback in 1961, when he was drafted out of SU by the Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL (1st Round) and Buffalo Bills of the AFL (3rd Round).  His career in the AFL was short, lasting just 17 games.  But for Art Baker, his name had been made in the sports world prior to his signing with the Bills.  Through high school and college, Art Baker had been a devastating wrestler, ultimately winning a national championship while at Syracuse. recalled Baker’s wrestling background in an article last year.


Todd Tobias (790 Posts)

Todd Tobias's interest in the American Football League began in 1998, when he wrote my master's thesis about Sid Gillman. He created this site to educate and entertain football fans with the stories of the American Football League, 1960-1969. You can follow Todd and get more AFL history on Twitter @TalesfromtheAFL.

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