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Sam Baker

Sam Baker - Football

Sam Baker played his way into the state’s memory as a halfback at Oregon State and then place-kicker in the National Football League.

Born in 1930, Baker grew up in Corvallis and had a standout athletic career at the school, helping the Spartans win the 1948 state championship in basketball. 

Baker moved to Oregon State and played three seasons, 1950-52, for the varsity team as both a halfback and kicker. He graduated from the team as the record-holder in carries, 487, and yards gained, 1,947, and is credited with scoring the final touchdown at Bell Field in 1952.

The Los Angeles Rams drafted Baker in 1952, but he didn’t latch onto an NFL team until the next season with the Washington Redskins. In Washington, he carried the ball just 17 times and his career as a halfback ended. He revived his career as a kicker in 1956 and played 14 more seasons with the Redskins, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles.

In 1956, he led the league with 17 field goals and made the first of his four appearances (56, 63, 64, 68) in the Pro Bowl. Baker led the league in numerous kicking categories throughout his career. In 1958, he averaged a league-best 45.4 yards per punt, made a league-best in PATs in both 1960 and ’62, and a league-best 18 of 25 field-goal attempts in 1966.

In his career, Baker made 179 of 316 field-goal attempts (56 percent) and averaged 42.6 yards on 703 punts. He missed just 16 attempts on 444 extra-points (96 percent). Baker was inducted to the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame as part of the inaugural class in 1980 and to the OSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1991.

 He died in 2007.