"I couldn't have done it," Baker said generously, "without Vern Burke, our new left end. He was one of the best ends in the nation—had the most receptions for the most yards. They used to call us the B-B Boys. You ought to see him. He stands 6 feet 4 and weighs 225."
Because Oregon State this year had two sophomore quarterbacks who were capable of relieving Baker, Coach Prothro designed most of his plays as roll-outs in which Baker might cither pass or run. and opponents could never be sure which he would do. As it turned out, the substitutes weren't needed, for Baker is an amazingly durable athlete with legs like a six-day bicycle rider. "From the waist up he looks like a literary student." Coach Prothro once said, "but he has the perfect build for football." When Baker is carrying the ball, unlike most T quarterbacks, he never hesitates to barrel into the most awesome tangle of bodies if it will get him a few extra yards. Yet his only injury in three years of play was a slight bruise on the point of his right shoulder in that final cliffhanger against Oregon.
The Los Angeles Rams' scouting report gave Baker the highest rating there is for a college prospect. One of their scouts put it this way, "An amazing athlete, excellent passer either short or long. Throws well under pressure, concentrating on the receiver rather than the rush. A tremendous runner whose speed has improved with his passing each year. Very intelligent, very good signal-caller and an outstanding leader."
The future for Terry Baker is full of exciting promise. As a professional football player he will have plenty of money for the first time in his life, and he intends to use part of it to retire his mother to a life of leisure. With his excellent scholastic record as an undergraduate, he is all but assured of getting into any postgraduate school he should choose.
"I don't intend to stay in football all my life," he said to a friend the other day. "I look at pro football as a means to an end. I'm definitely going to graduate school to study either medicine or business, but I haven't decided which. What do you think I ought to do? I sat next to Attorney General Kennedy at the Heisman Award dinner and talked to him for almost three hours, and he said he thought I ought to go to Harvard Business School. That's the best, isn't it? I think maybe that's what I ought to do. What do you think?"
Among all his other considerations. Baker can't rule out entirely the one of marriage. "Do you remember the girl I was going out with when I saw you last year?" he asked during his visit to New York a few weeks ago. A big happy grin crossed his face, and he said, "Well, I'm still going with her."
The girl's name is Marilyn Davis, and she is an Oregon State sophomore, aged 19, whose father operates a successful paper box factory in Long Beach. Calif. and lives with his family in the posh Corona Del Mar neighborhood of Newport Beach. There are those who think Marilyn's father would like to have Baker come into business with him as a son-in-law, and perhaps that might be in the future, although Baker is not likely to be anyone's man but his own.
Coach Prothro, who is now as close to Baker as any of the older men who have been a part of his life, best summed up the feeling that most people have about his star back. "I'd probably have never known him if he hadn't been a football player," Prothro said, "but if he hadn't been a football player and I'd known him. I'd still think he was one of the most unusual boys I'd ever known—if not the most unusual."