Today’s blog celebrates the memory of another outstanding Michigan Man named Raymond T. Baer. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, Raymond T. “Ray” Baer was born on this day in Jefferson County, Kentucky in 1906. He grew up in Louisville, Kentucky and according to the Wikipedia article linked below, he was a “Kentucky high school legend” because he was an all-state football and basketball player. He also won a state championship in track and field as a high jumper.
Ray Baer’s name first appeared on a Michigan Football Roster in 1924. After a year on the freshman team, he quickly established himself as a versatile player who could do whatever Coach Fielding Yost needed him to do. Mostly, he just needed to block. So, Coach Yost played him at both guard positions during his career and also at left tackle.
Baer wore number 18 on his back and earned a letter as a sophomore who started one game at right guard and one game at left guard. He helped the 1925 team post an excellent record of 7 wins, 1 loss and 0 ties. The Wolverines won the Big Ten Championship that year with a record of 5-1-0. He was so impressive in his first year that the coaches named hi the winner of the first Meyer Morton Award for demonstrating great potential in spring ball.
Ray Baer settled in at left tackle for Coach Yost in 1926. Once again, the Wolverines had an outstanding season. They matched the record of 1925 and tied with Purdue for the Big Ten’s top spot. It would be Yost’s tenth and last conference championship. That was an interesting year in Michigan football because it turned out to be the last season for Coach Fielding H. Yost. It was also the last season that Michigan played their games at historic Ferry Field.
Mr. Baer’s senior year was a time of great transition in Ann Arbor. Elton E. “Tad” Wieman replaced Yost on the sidelines which was a huge task all by itself. However, the bigger task was to field a team that would fill Michigan Stadium which opened for play on October 1, 1927. Ray Baer and the rest of his Wolverine teammates played their hearts out in 1927, but they probably came up a little short of Yost’s expectations for the team. Their overall record was 6-2-0, but they fell to third in the conference with a record of 3-2-0.
Raymond T. Baer, and his Wolverine teammates, played in front of many record breaking crowds in 1927. Ray did his best to bring them to their feet when he was on the field. His stellar guard play in this transition season earned him first-team All-Big Ten recognition at the end of the 1927 season. He also earned second team All-American honors in his final year at Michigan.
Raymond T. Baer holds a special place in Michigan Football History because he was the first recipient of the Chicago Victor’s Award. This award was presented to Baer in 1925 for being the most improved Player in Spring Drills. The award was later re-named after Meyer Morton, a former Michigan player after his death in 1948.
Sadly, Ray Baer left his family, friends and Wolverine Nation on January 19, 1968 at the age of sixty-two. Today is a good day to remember the contributions of Ray Baer to the great history of Michigan Football. May Ray Baer continue to rest in eternal peace in Louisville, Kentucky. Go Blue!
A more detailed article about the life and times of Raymond T. Baer can be found at the link below
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