Thursday

Bob Baun

Bobby Baun's playoff heroics are what the Stanley Cup is all about.

With 10 minutes left in the sixth game of the 1964 finals between the Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings, Bobby Baun fearlessly sacrificed his body, sliding down onto the ice to block a Gordie Howe shot. The heavy shot bounced off Baun’s foot at exactly the worst spot, breaking a bone in Baun's ankle. He was carried away on a stretcher and he should have seen his season to come to an end.

But he didn't.

In one of the most courageous and famous moments in hockey history, Baun returned to the lineup in the very same game. The game had gone into over time, and Baun refused to go to the hospital. Instead he was given painkillers and had his ankle taped tightly, and returned for the extra period of play.

Just a couple of minutes into the over time, Baun became a hero of legendary proportions. Baun picked up a failed Detroit clearing attempt at the blueline and directed a shot on the Detroit goal. It deflected off of Detroit defenseman Bill Gadsby and over Terry Sawchuk and into the net, forcing game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals!!

There was no way Baun would miss game 7. He refused to allow doctors to examine his ankle. He suffered in severe pain but knew if doctors looked at it he would be forced to sit in the biggest game of a professional hockey player's career. He didn't miss a shift that game as the Leafs won 4-0 and tasted champagne from Lord Stanley's Cup.

After the game the doctor's finally x-rayed Baun's ankle. It was revealed that he indeed had a badly broken ankle. That's hockey!

Baun's playoff heroics overshadow a great career. Baun was never much of an offensive threat in his 17 NHL seasons. Although he also played with Detroit and Oakland, Baun is best known for his days with the Maple Leafs where he teamed up with Carl Brewer to form one of the finest pairings ever. Bobby Hull often mentioned these two as the toughest defensemen he ever played against. Baun was the stereotypical pre-Bobby Orr type of defenseman - a bone crunching stay at home rearguard.

A native of Lanigan, Saskatchewan, Baun was a surprisingly small man for such a voracious hitter – 5’9” and 175 pounds. He would play junior hockey with the Toronto Marlboros for 4 seasons before joining the Leafs in 1956-57. Baun would be a regular throughout the Leafs resurgence in the 1960s, including all 4 championships.

Baun remained with the Leafs through their final championship in 1967, but by then he was having some differences with boss Punch Imlach. Imlach used Baun sparingly in the Cup finals. Sadly, the too-proud Baun opted not to take part in post-championship parades and parties because he felt he did not contribute anything to that championship.

Imlach allowed Baun to be exposed on the 1967 expansion draft list. The Oakland Seals quickly grabbed Baun’s playing rights and made him the first captain in team history. But Baun was unhappy in Oakland, and after one season he asked to be traded back to one of the Original Six teams. He and Ron Harris headed to Detroit for the 1968-69 season in exchange for Gary Jarrett, Doug Roberts, Howie Young and Chris Worthy.

Baun enjoyed two seasons with the Red Wings. Eleven games into his third season with the Wings, Baun found himself traded back to Toronto via the Buffalo Sabres.

Though in the twilight of his career, Baun continued to be a steadying influence on the Leafs defense for parts of three seasons. Unfortunately he suffered a career ending neck injury early in the 1972-73 season. That prevented Baun from reaching the 1000 game level - a true milestone for a such a physical, defensive player.

Baun ended up playing in 964 games, scoring just 37 times but adding 187 assists for 224 points, not to mention 1493 penalty minutes. He added 3 goals and 15 points in 96 playoff games.

14 comments:

Anonymous,  9:41 PM  

I noticed him most with Detroit and his 2nd tour with Toronto. Fearless it seemed against much bigger opponents while playing on some soft Leaf teams. Made the most of his talent...unlike so many. Really enjoyed seeing him 'lowering the boom'!

Skip

james99daniel 3:43 PM  

Wow,

What a great write up on such a great person. Love your website.


Thanks,

james99daniel 3:43 PM  

Wow,

What a great write up on such a great person. Love your website.


Thanks,

Anonymous,  5:43 PM  

Hadn't the Oakland Seals changed their name before the great Bob Baun left the team?

Anonymous,  11:54 AM  

Who cares if they changed their name before he left ?? Does it really matter ??

Jodysoup 9:31 AM  

Baun was the classic stay-at-home type who allowed Carl Brewer to go up on the rush. A great example of a symbiotic relationship.

David 7:25 PM  

I remember the game when Bobby Baun broke his ankle and came back to score the winning goal. Bobby Baun is a real hockey hero. Not only that, he was willing to take a stand against the crooked, lying, and cheating thieves of the NHL. Bobby Baun is a legend in more ways than his play on the ice.

Anonymous,  8:26 PM  

Very Proud to say he is my 2nd cousin from my Grandma's side :)

Anonymous,  6:31 AM  

great bio love him

Anonymous,  7:43 PM  

I just bought a signed number 21 jersy of Bob Baun. He played on a broken ankle because he was competitive and loved the sport a true passion for the game, unheard of these days. Great little bio

Sean H 4:05 PM  

I met him in Charlottetown in 1988. He is a very nice man. I enjoyed his style of hockey, a rear grinder.
I remember a game late in his career vs Detroit. He took a shot to the forehead. He was out cold but, true to Baun style, he played the next period.
He is one of my all time favorites.

poorboy,  3:18 PM  

I am having a fantasy I am BOB BAUN

James Baun 10:11 PM  

He's my great uncle no lie my step dad is his nephew

Anonymous,  4:25 PM  

Recently met Bobby Baun at the Cabot Links Golf course in Inverness, NS. it was the highlight of our trip to CB. I was wearkng a ball cap that already had Larry Robinson's signature on it and now I have #21's beside hat..hat is now safely tucked away! We had a great chat with him..a fine gentlemen.

Gerard MacIsaac
Pictou, NS

  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP