At college, Gary was a star outfielder on the baseball team, and after his graduation in 1961 he spent the summer playing for the Raleigh Capitals of the Class B Carolina League. Next spring he is to be given a big-league tryout by the parent New York Mets.
When it came time for Terry to go to college it was only natural that he would be pursued fiercely by most of the college scouts in the Pacific Northwest. Strangely though, Coach Prothro and his staff were among the least aggressive. "I got the idea that he didn't like to get hit when he was playing high school football, so we didn't rush him too hard," Prothro said recently.
The summer after he finished high school Baker took part in Portland's annual high school all-star game in which he starred. Afterwards Coach Prothro visited him in the locker room to see if he had made up his mind about college.
"You didn't seem too interested in me before, Coach," Baker said to Prothro.
"I wasn't," Prothro admitted, "but tonight I thought for the first time that you really enjoyed playing football."
"I did enjoy it," Baker agreed.
By that time Baker had made up his mind to go to Oregon State on a basketball scholarship, and he didn't even bother to go out for freshman football.
Playing basketball for Coach Gill, Baker was an instant success even though he is on the small side as basketball players are measured at such earnest centers of the sport as Oregon State. "Terry can't work much around the backboards against the tall men," Gill says, "but he is fast and intelligent and competitive and makes wonderful plays."
After that first basketball season Baker started to play on the freshman baseball team as a pitcher. However, he stopped by the football field one day to watch spring practice, and another idea crossed his mind. He asked for a football suit and was soon hard at work learning the single wing.
"I didn't like all that idle time I had had in the fall," Baker recollects. "I guess I was like a businessman who puts his whole life into a business and doesn't want to give it up."