Jon Pierik August 20, 2012
Steven Baker had no idea his 203-game career was about to end after the elimination final loss to Sydney last year. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
FORMER St Kilda tagger Steven Baker has broken his silence over his enforced retirement, claiming to this day he still does not know who was responsible.
Baker said then-coach Ross Lyon told him at a mid-season meeting last year that he would not be required for 2012.
But it still came as a shock when Lyon announced to teammates and the Saints faithful just minutes after the elimination final loss to the Swans at Etihad Stadium that Baker was one of a group of players who would not return. Baker said that heading into the game, he had no idea his 203-game career was about to end.
''Not that night [but] I did by the end of the night when I was told. It was a bit of a shock at the time,'' he said. ''I knew I was getting the flick halfway through the season. I had a meeting with Ross and he said 'you probably won't be needed next year'. I thought: 'Great, that's nice'.
''That night [against Sydney], at the end of the game, he basically said I had retired and we hadn't really discussed that.''
Baker and teammate Robert Eddy, also forced into retirement, then caused a furore by taking to Twitter, declaring they had not retired and wanted to play on.
''I am an honest guy. I think I left the ground and tweeted something,'' Baker said in an interview to be screened tonight on Fox Footy's Open Mike.
''I was new on Twitter. I said I definitely hadn't retired, I still wanted to play on and might want to play somewhere else. I copped a little bit of a barrage from the club, saying: 'Why did you do that?' I didn't really care.''
Baker, 32, was so angry he bypassed last season's best-and-fairest count, an award he had shared with Luke Ball in 2005.
He still does not know whether Lyon, now coach of Fremantle, or new head of football Chris Pelchen, who joined the club during last season, made the call to axe him.
''I don't know to this day whether it's come from him [Lyon] or Chris Pelchen - or Pelican - or whatever his name is,'' Baker said. ''He came in and it seemed I had a meeting with Ross a couple of days after that. So I don't know whether it was his decision or Ross.
''I still don't really know. I didn't resent Ross. I got along with Ross really well and he was always upfront with me and I respected the fact that he told me mid-season.
''It was just a little bit of a shock that night.''