Solid from the Start: Baker Football
As the fervor of college football permeated the Midwest in 1890, teams such as Baker didn’t schedule games. Instead, athletic students interested in the contact sport accepted challenges to scrimmage students from nearby schools.
Based on results from its inaugural season, a determined Baker squad, minus helmets and pads, was up for all challengers. With players such as Lockhart, Coole and Goodale muscling their way to the end zone for touchdowns, Baker won three games in 1890, the first year intercollegiate football was recognized in Kansas. Baker defeated the University of Kansas twice and Washburn once, sparking a proud tradition.
With chants of “B.U. Take’ er, Rah, Rah” filling the brisk air, Baker defeated the University of Kansas 22-9 in Baldwin City on November 22, 1890, in the state’s first intercollegiate football game. To maintain a fair game, professors from both schools served as officials. Four points were awarded for touchdowns and two points for successful conversions following the TDs.
Despite having players ailing from injuries, most notably fingers out of joint, the teams parted on good terms and were determined to play again. If KU wanted to play Baker a second time, a Baker player promised, “we’ll do ’em again.”
After the game, Baker’s weekly student newspaper declared: “It has been the boast of K.S.U. (a reference to the University of Kansas) that none of the colleges in the state could compete with her in athletics. But she must now take in her sign or else make it read differently.”
The first game was just the beginning to a successful season. Baker would play two games later in the fall, defeating Washburn 32-0 and KU again 12-10.
With a 3-0 record in 1890, Baker was declared the first football champions of Kansas.