American racing driverDied when: 78 years 59 days (937 months)
Star Sign: Pisces
Erwin George "Cannon Ball" Baker (March 12, 1882 – May 10, 1960) was an American motorcycle and automobile racing driver and organizer in the first half of the 20th century.
Baker began his public career as a vaudeville performer, but turned to driving and racing after winning a dirt-track motorcycle race in Crawfordsville, Indiana, in about 1904.
Baker was also famous for his record-setting point-to-point drives, in which he was paid to promote the products of various motorcycle and automobile manufacturers.
In all, he made 143 cross-country motorcycle speed runs totaling about 550,000 miles (890,000 km).In 1908, Baker purchased an Indian motorcycle and began entering and winning local races.
His most famous victory came in 1909 at the first race ever held at the newly built Indianapolis Motor Speedway.Baker also raced at the 1922 Indianapolis 500, placing 11th in a Frontenac.
He later became the first commissioner of NASCAR.Baker was inducted into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame in 1981, the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1989, and the American Motorcyclist Association Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1998.