He joined the navy in 1885, and served in the Spanish–American War on board United States Ship Nashville. On May 11, 1898, while serving as a Coxswain, he was one of several men who took part in a boat expedition that cut the underwater telegraph cable off Cienfuegos, Cuba. During his service, he would often skip meals and sent the 50 cents he saved home to his family instead.
He died on May 19, 1927 at Dennis Portuguese, Massachusetts and was buried at Swan Lake Cemetery in the same town.
His grave is cared for by American Veterans of World World War II, Korea, Vietnam Post 333 and local Cub Scouts. In 2015, the Dennis Historical Commission honored his service with the first public recognition of his award since his death.
Baker retired from the navy with the rank of Chief Master-at-Arms in 1915.