Editors note: In honor of yesterday's shutout of NC State, I thought this would be a good time to reprint this Fanpost originally published September 30, 2010. We can only assume Baker will repeat this tradition sometime in the next few days and present Stoops with his third spiked baseball, which includes the one for the season opening 34-0 shutout of Louisiana-Monroe.
At some point after FSU's 31-0 shutout of Wake Forest, Chip Baker, a long time FSU football fan, went into his garage or to some other secret location, grabbed a brand new baseball, placed it into a vice, grabbed a hammer, and began hammering a spike nail into the baseball's cowhide cover.
After his defense pitched their first shutout under his regime against Wake Forest, Mark Stoops accepted the game ball from Jimbo Fisher in the locker room after the game on Saturday. On Monday he picked up another first, his first shutout "ball of distinction" from Baker, who continued the tradition which has carried over from former defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews tenure to commemorate a shutout. For 17 years Baker presented Mickey Andrews with a spiked baseball after shutting out an opponent, and now this tradition was rekindled Monday morning, and is one that all of FSU's football and baseball coaches, as well as all the fans, would like to see done many more times.
Monday, after first meeting with Fisher who coincidentally had just ended a phone call with Mickey Andrews (he called Jimbo to offer his congratulations), Baker and Fisher then strolled to Stoops' office to present him the baseball with a spike nail driven half way through it, inscribed with the date and the two teams final score.
"It was really good. I remember Mickey (Andrews, former defensive coordinator) had a whole roomful of those suckers in there," Fisher said. "We've got a ways to go to catch him. … It's one of the great traditions at Florida State."
For years, when an FSU pitcher ''nails'' a shutout, he is given a baseball bearing the date and score, with a spike nail hammered halfway into the ball. So when FSU's stingy 1993 football defense earned national awe, Baker began presenting Andrews an inscribed, nail-impaled baseball with each shutout.
The first came after the Kickoff Classic shutout of Kansas in 1993. Baker decided to give Andrews a spiked baseball for "nailing the shutout." Baker mistakenly thought the gesture would be a one shot deal and that is where it would end. He would soon learn differently.
Two weeks later, after Shutting out Clemson 57-0, a player asked Baker if the coach would get another spiked ball, Baker obliged, again still not expecting a tradition to be born.
Then two weeks after that, FSU recorded their second straight shutout at home, a 51-0 shellacking of Georgia Tech. GT was coincidentally where Baker had been an assistant baseball coach before leaving to become an assistant baseball coach for Florida State, and where he learned from his mentor about the practice of giving a spiked ball to reward the team for a shutout. Once again, Baker drove a spike nail through the ball and presented it to Andrews.
Fast forward another 3 weeks when FSU spanked Wake Forest 54-0, and now the tradition was firmly in place. There were now 4 spiked balls sitting on a shelf along the top of one wall in Andrews office, one for each shutout during that fabulous first National Championship year, to honor one of the greatest FSU defenses in our short history.
The next shutout did not occur until the next October (1994) at home against Clemson, 17-0. Then it would take another 2 years (Sept 28, 1996) to record another shutout, this one against North Carolina 13-0, in a game not as close as the score indicates due to a dominate FSU defensive performance. After receiving the spiked ball from Baker, a jubilant Andrews said, "We had four shutouts in '93, but we haven't had much reason to shore up that shelf lately."
Today, there are 14 now-yellowed, and one brand new bright white spiked baseballs signifying shutouts "nailed" by some excellent FSU defensive performances still sitting on that shelf in the defensive coordinators office. Here is a list of the other 9 shutouts recorded by those stifling Nole defensive teams.
10/04/97 - Miami 47-0 (Due to the significance of this win, Baker drove the spike nail through 2 baseballs)
10/18/97 - Georgia Tech 38-0
10/17/98 - Clemson 48-0
09/23/00 - Louisville 31-0
08/30/03 - North Carolina 37-0
11/01/03 - at Notre Dame 37-0 (Baker felt this was a special game so he sprinkled the ball with gold glitter)
11/04/06 - Virginia 33-0
09/06/08 - Western Carolina 69-0
09/25/10 - Wake Forest 31-0
Here is another piece of history about Chip Baker that some of you may or may not know. You could call this
Chip Baker-The Biggest Save in Baseball History
February 8, 2001
FSU assistant baseball coach Chip Baker sits in the lap of a dead bus driver and navigates a runaway bus across two lanes of freeway traffic and onto the shoulder of the road. All 35 team members aboard are unharmed. This might be the biggest save in baseball history. .
Florida State University's baseball team avoided catastrophe when two coaches wrestled control of the Seminoles' speeding bus after the driver died suddenly of an apparent heart attack.