Bobby Baun

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Bobby Baun
BobbyBaun 05.jpg
Born(1936-09-09) September 9, 1936 (age 77)
Lanigan, SK, CAN
Height5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight182 lb (83 kg; 13 st 0 lb)
PositionDefence
ShotRight
Played forAHL
Rochester Americans
NHL
Toronto Maple Leafs
Oakland Seals
Detroit Red Wings
Playing career1956–1973
 
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Bobby Baun
BobbyBaun 05.jpg
Born(1936-09-09) September 9, 1936 (age 77)
Lanigan, SK, CAN
Height5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight182 lb (83 kg; 13 st 0 lb)
PositionDefence
ShotRight
Played forAHL
Rochester Americans
NHL
Toronto Maple Leafs
Oakland Seals
Detroit Red Wings
Playing career1956–1973

Robert Neil "Bob, Boomer" Baun (born September 9, 1936) is a retired Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman who played in the National Hockey League for 17 seasons from 1956–57 to 1972–73.

Playing career[edit]

Baun played junior hockey with the Toronto Marlboros of the Ontario Hockey Association from 1952 to 1956, winning the Memorial Cup in 1955 and 1956. After turning professional, Baun played most of the 1956–57 season with the Rochester Americans, the Toronto Maple Leafs affiliate in the American Hockey League. They would be the only minor league games Baun would ever play. He was called up to the Leafs during the season and played in Toronto for the next 11 seasons, winning the Stanley Cup in 1962, 1963, 1964, and 1967.

Baun was one of the hardest and cleanest hitters of his time. He was not considered an offensive threat as a defenceman, never scoring more than 20 points in a season in the NHL. His highest single-season goal total was eight in 1959–60. However, Baun is remembered for his performance in game six of the 1963–64 NHL season Stanley Cup finals against the Detroit Red Wings. On April 23, 1964, having broken his leg earlier in the game, he returned in overtime and scored the game-winning goal. The Leafs won the next game 4–0 to win the best of seven series, and secure their third consecutive Stanley Cup championship.

He developed a reputation for understanding the business side of playing in the NHL in the years before there was a players' union. Eventually, other players sought Baun's advice about their contracts and salaries, which eroded his relationship with Leafs' general manager Punch Imlach. That relationship deteriorated even further when Baun was a holdout for the 1965–66 season. Baun eventually got a raise, but Imlach never forgot it. A series of injuries further dimmed Imlach's enthusiasm for Baun. In 1966–67, Baun suffered a broken toe. Imlach replaced him with Larry Hillman and Baun saw little ice time after that. He was mostly an observer from the bench for the Leafs' 1967 Cup victory, and refused to participate in the celebrations.

Before the next season, Baun was left unprotected in the 1967 NHL Expansion Draft, and was selected by the Oakland Seals. Baun was one of four members of the Memorial Cup-winning Marlboros teams from the mid-1950s to play for the Seals, but the team struggled badly on the ice, particularly on offence, finishing the year with the worst record in the league. Baun asked to be traded back to an Original Six team, and Oakland accommodated his request, dealing him to the Detroit Red Wings in May 1968. Baun played in Detroit for two years but early into the 1970–71 season he found himself at odds with coach Ned Harkness and was placed on waivers. From there, he was claimed by the Buffalo Sabres, managed by Imlach, who immediately traded him to the St. Louis Blues. Baun refused to report to St. Louis and nine days later was traded back to the Maple Leafs for Brit Selby.

The Leafs benefited from Baun's defensive play, helping Jacques Plante to record a 1.88 goals against average in 1970–71. Baun was just as effective the next season. In the fifth game of the 1972–73 season, he suffered a neck injury that ended his NHL career at the age of 36.

Coaching career[edit]

Baun retired as a player and ran a cattle farm, but three years later, he was hired as head coach of the Toronto Toros of the World Hockey Association. Mike Nykoluk, another member of the Marlboros in the mid-1950s, had been the team's first choice, but he turned the job down. Playing for the Toros were three of Baun's former Leaf teammates: Frank Mahovlich, Paul Henderson, and Jim Dorey, as well as future NHL star Mark Napier and Vaclav Nedomansky. But the Toros under Baun had a disastrous year, finishing the 1975–76 season with the worst record in the league. The Toros even finished 11 points behind the Minnesota Fighting Saints—a team that had folded with 21 games left to play in the season. Baun was replaced as coach after the season. He returned to farming and also sold insurance after his retirement from hockey.

Baun and the NHL pension plan[edit]

In the 1980s, Baun organized an NHL alumni association and began an investigation into the NHL's pension plan. The plan had been touted to players as the best in professional sports, but after playing in 17 NHL seasons, Baun's pension was only $7,622 a year. Baun received little support from other players, and eventually gave up. Problems with the pension plan were later uncovered through an audit backed by Carl Brewer.

Other[edit]

On June 1, 2007, Baun was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology for his work on and off the ice. He currently resides in Oshawa, Ontario.

Career statistics[edit]

  Regular season Playoffs
SeasonTeamLeagueGPGAPtsPIMGPGAPtsPIM
1954–55Toronto MarlborosOHA47369
1955–56Toronto MarlborosOHA4851419
1956–57Rochester AmericansAHL4621315117
1956–57Toronto Maple LeafsNHL2005537
1957–58Toronto Maple LeafsNHL67191091
1958–59Toronto Maple LeafsNHL51189871200024
1959–60Toronto Maple LeafsNHL618917591010117
1960–61Toronto Maple LeafsNHL70114157030008
1961–62Toronto Maple LeafsNHL6541115941203319
1962–63Toronto Maple LeafsNHL48481265100336
1963–64Toronto Maple LeafsNHL52414181131423542
1964–65Toronto Maple LeafsNHL7001818160601114
1965–66Toronto Maple LeafsNHL440666840118
1966–67Toronto Maple LeafsNHL54281083100004
1967–68Oakland SealsNHL673101381
1968–69Detroit Red WingsNHL7641620121
1969–70Detroit Red WingsNHL711181911040000
1970–71Detroit Red WingsNHL1103324
1970–71Toronto Maple LeafsNHL5811718123601119
1971–72Toronto Maple LeafsNHL742121410150004
1972–73Toronto Maple LeafsNHL51124
NHL totals9643718722414919631215165

Coaching record[edit]

TeamYearRegular seasonPost season
GWLTPtsFinishResult
Toronto Toros1975-765515355(35)5th in WHA Canadian(fired)

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
new creation
California Seals/Oakland Seals captain
1967–68
Succeeded by
Ted Hampson