September 9th 1936. Bob Baun is born in Lanigan, Saskatchewan. Baun was a Leaf for a total of 739 games in two stints with the club between 1956 and 1972. He was one of the Leafs “Big Four” on defense during their Stanley Cup dynasty years in the early-mid ’60’s.
Baun was one of the hardest and cleanest hitters of his time. He was not considered an offensive threat by any means, having never scoring more than 20 points in a season in the NHL. His highest single-season goal total was eight in 1959â€“60. However, Baun will always be remembered for his performance in game six of the 1963â€“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. For me, that was one of hockey’s most legendary performances, maybe even the single greatest one. The Leafs ended up winning the next game 4â€“0 which won them the series, and secured their third consecutive Stanley Cup championship.
Baun was also a pioneer in advocating the rights of the players. 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 had a detrimental impact on his relationship with the Leafs‘ general manager, the legendary Punch Imlach. He retired at 36, because of the neck injury, having scored a total of 37 goals, 187 assists for 224 points and having played a total of 17 seasons in the National Hockey League.