73. Darrel Baldock

73. Darrel Baldock - ICONICON – Player Inductee

East Devonport/St Kilda/Latrobe/New Norfolk

> Credited with 426 games including 71 games for East Devonport (1955-58, club best and fairest 1955); 158 games for Latrobe (1959-61 and 1969-74); four games for New Norfolk (1975); 15 Tasmanian state representative games; 20 North-West Football Union representative games; and ten Victorian state representative games
> Captain, St Kilda premiership, 1966
> Captain-coach, Latrobe premierships, 1969, 1970, 1971 and 1972
> Captained St Kilda, 1963-68
> St Kilda best and fairest, 1962, 1963 and 1965
> St Kilda leading goalkicker, 1962-65
> Wander Medal, 1957, 1959 and 1969
> East Devonport best and fairest, 1955, 1956 and 1957
> Named captain and half forward in Tasmania’s ‘Team of the Century’
> Named captain in St Kilda’s ‘Team of the Century’
> Legend in the St Kilda Football Club Hall of Fame
> Legend in the Australian Football Hall of Fame
> Icon in the Tasmanian Football Hall of Fame

Renowned for his pure football intelligence and uncanny ball handling skills, Darrel John Baldock—popularly referred to as ‘Doc’—enjoyed a superlative career in two states for 20 seasons. An immediate success with East Devonport, where he won the club best and fairest in each of his first three seasons (1955-57) and a Wander Medal in 1957, Baldock’s somewhat rotund appearance together with his lack of height and pace, belied his dazzling array of skills. As the cliché goes, ‘he often seemed to have the ball on a string’. Between 1959 and 1961 he was captain-coach of Latrobe, winning a second Wander Medal in his first season with the club.

Baldock was an immediate success in the interstate arena, representing Tasmania for the first time in 1957 and performing with distinction in the 1958 and 1961 carnivals, the latter as captain. On moving to St Kilda in 1962 he maintained his high standards, winning that club’s best and fairest award in 1962, 1963 and 1965. He also represented the VFL on several occasions, including the 1966 Hobart carnival when he captained his side to victory. Most memorably of all, perhaps, in 1966 he became the only St Kilda skipper in history to hold aloft the premiership cup after the Saints’ nerve-eroding one-point grand final win over Collingwood.

Returning home in 1969 Baldock once again assumed the coaching mantle at Latrobe, steering his charges to an NWFU record four successive premierships between 1969 and 1972. He also continued to play exceptional football, exemplified by his courageous performances for Tasmania in the 1969 Adelaide carnival, his third Wander Medal that same year, and his excellent display in Tasmania’s famous defeat of Western Australia at North Hobart in 1970.

Appointed captain-coach of TFL club New Norfolk in 1974, Baldock was forced to resign after just four games when—having earlier in the year been elected as the Labor member for Wilmot in the Tasmanian parliament—he was appointed Minister for Housing and Social Welfare. Football’s loss was politics’ gain, but after witnessing Baldock enrich the game for more than two decades it would be churlish of the football fraternity to complain too loudly.