Darrel Baldock – The Incomparable Mr Magic
Doc came from Tasmania as a much heralded recruit and did not let anyone down, displaying the ball handling skills and uncanny anticipation that soon earned him the universal title of “Mr Magic”. Doc’s outstanding qualities of leadership were quickly appreciated by the Saints hierarchy and he was appointed Captain in only his second year at the club. He led the Saints to their only Premiership in 1966 and the story of the almost magical influence he had on other members of the team is faithfully recorded in his recently published biography, “Darrel Baldock – The Incomparable Mr Magic”.
The book chronologically covers the many ups and downs that the Saints experienced on their way to that exciting one point victory over Collingwood in the grand final.
It tells of the influence Doc exerted over his team, often taking the field with injuries that would have sidelined a lesser man. Of how he was almost on one leg when coach Alan “Yabby” Jeans called on him to take the field late in the game against Hawthorn when defeat, which would have cost the Saints a finals berth, was staring the club in the face. And of how the Grand Final victory cemented a bond between the players that exists to this day.
But Darrel Baldock is much more than a footballer. He is an exceptional, multi-talented personality. Late in his football career he involved himself in the thoroughbred racing breeding and training industry and had outstanding success. He won several top class events in Victoria, plus every major Cup race in Tasmania. He also had cricket ability, which shrewd judges believed would have taken him to Test match level, had he not concentrated on football. He had considerable success as a youngster in racing pigeons and would have been an outstanding boxer, had that been his wish.
Your name it and Doc would have excelled in it.
Post-football, Doc had a successful political career as an outstanding Cabinet Minister in a number of portfolios and several astute judges believe he could have been Tasmania’s outstanding Premier had he accepted the position when it was offered to him.
The book’s author, veteran Tasmanian journalist Peter Lyons, has said that he has been a friend of Doc’s for more than 50 years but, until he had decided to write the book, he had not really known him.
He describes Darrel Baldock as one of the outstanding personalities he has met in a lifetime of journalism.