Ilkeston, Derbyshire born centre half Jim Baker began his football career with Eastwood Rangers in 1908 and played for Ilkeston United in 1909 before joining Derby County in December 1910 and spending the rest of the 1910-11 season on their books. After failing to break into the Derby County first team, he had spells at both Portsmouth, where he didn’t make a first team appearance, and Hartlepool United, joining them in July 1912 and being an ever present for the next two seasons before joining Second Division Huddersfield Town in May 1914. He made his Football League debut at Preston North End in September 1914 and made 38 appearances for The Terriers prior to the First World War, serving in the Royal Navy during the War and continuing to play for Huddersfield in wartime football, then making a further 19 appearances for Huddersfield once peacetime football resumed in 1919-20.
Baker joined the newly formed Leeds United in May 1920, being signed by new Leeds manager Arthur Fairclough who had been his manager at Huddersfield. Over the next six seasons he made 207 appearances scoring twice for Leeds being its first club captain, a position he helf throughout his time there, and being ever present for their first three consecutive League seasons, playing in 149 consecutive matches. Having scored twice in 207 appearances, he subsequently moved to Nelson for £125 in June 1926 for a final season in 1926-27 and in 30 appearances managed 6 goals including 4 penalties (having only ever netted 3 times for The Terriers and twice for Leeds). He subsequently joined non league Colne Valley in 1927 and later became a Leeds United scout, and ultimately a director of Leeds United from 1959 to 1961.
Baker was the older brother of Arsenal’s better known Alf Baker and also had another brother, Aaron, who briefly played for Leeds United, making two appearances in October 1927.