Sam Baker (halfback)

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Sam Baker
No. 45, 49, 38
Position: Running back
Kicker
Punter
Personal information
Date of birth: (1930-11-12)November 12, 1930
Place of birth: San Francisco, California
Date of death: June 5, 2007(2007-06-05) (aged 76)
Place of death: Tacoma, Washington
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight: 205 lb (93 kg)
Career information
High school: Corvallis High School (OR)
College: Oregon State
NFL Draft: 1952 / Round: 11 / Pick: 133
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games: 195
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Loris Hoskins Baker (November 12, 1930 – June 5, 2007), better known as Sam Baker, was an American football player in the National Football League who played in 1953 and from 1956 to 1969. While he would play several positions, he was best known for being a punter and kicker.

Early years[edit]

Baker attended Stadium High School, before transferring after his junior year to Corvallis High School where he graduated in 1949. He was an all-around standout in track, but at the time there wasn't a state decathlon championship, so he only participated in individual events.[1] He helped his team win the 1948 state championship in basketball and also lettered in baseball. He has the distinction of receiving All-State honors in both Washington and Oregon.[2]

College career[edit]

He played college football at Oregon State University, spending the 1949 season on the rookie team. He lettered for the varsity team from 1950 to 1952 as a running back/kicker/safety.

As a sophomore he rushed for 668 yards (fourth in the conference). As a junior he rushed for 830 yards (second in the conference). In his career at Oregon State University, Baker gained 1,947 yards on 487 carries and was the school record-holder in both categories when he left. He currently ranks eighth in career yards, and sixth in career carries. He had five 100-yard games, with a best of 159 on 30 carries in the 1951 Civil War game at Hayward Field. He scored the final touchdown at old Bell Field in the final 1952 home game

In 1980, he was inducted into the State of Oregon Sports Hall of Fame. In 1991, he was inducted into the Oregon State University Sports Hall of Fame.

Professional career[edit]

Los Angeles Rams[edit]

Baker was selected in the eleventh round (133rd overall) of the 1952 NFL Draft as a future draft pick by the Los Angeles Rams. He was traded to the Washington Redskins in 1953.

Washington Redskins[edit]

He played sparingly in his first season with the Washington Redskins in 1953, before spending two years out of football, while serving his military service at Fort Ord.[3]

In 1956, although he was initially being considered for the right halfback position, he was asked to become the team's kicker after Vic Janowicz suffered a serious brain injury in an automobile accident that ended his athletic career.[4] That same year he also became the punter after Eddie LeBaron was sidelined with an injury.[5] He was given the nickname "Sugarfoot", after leading the NFL in field goals (17), starting an 11-year streak of averaging at least 40 yards per punt attempt and being named to the Pro Bowl.[6]

In 1957, he tied with Lou Groza with a league-high 77 points (including 6 scored on a fake punt he ran in for a touchdown).[7] The next year his 45.4-yard punting average was the best in the league,[8] while still managed to convert 25 extra points in 25 attempts.

On April 25, 1960, he was traded to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for Fran O'Brien and Robert Khayat.[9]

Cleveland Browns[edit]

In 1960, he relinquished his fullback duties with the Cleveland Browns and would replace the retired Lou Groza.[10] On December 30, 1961, he was traded to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for defensive end Tom Franckhauser.[11]

Dallas Cowboys[edit]

He played two seasons as a punter and kicker for the Dallas Cowboys, until his disregard for the team rules wore thin with head coach Tom Landry. In both seasons he led the league in net punting average, plus led the NFL in extra points attempted/made once.

In 1962 he set the team record of 45.4 yards-per-punt, that was broken until 2006 by Mat McBriar with a 48.2 average. The next year he became the first Cowboys punter to make the Pro Bowl, his 40.6 net average per punt during that season still ranks third in team history.

On March, 20, 1964, he was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles along with John Meyers and Lynn Hoyem, in exchange for Tommy McDonald.[12]

Philadelphia Eagles[edit]

Baker remained with the Philadelphia Eagles for the last six seasons of his career. He played in the 1964 and 1968 Pro Bowls. He was waived on September 2, 1970.[13]

Upon retiring he was the second scorer (977 points) in NFL history and held the record of scoring in 110 straight games. He played for 15 seasons with more than 700 punts and 179 field goals.

Personal life[edit]

He died because of complications with diabetes on June 5, 2007.

References[edit]

External links[edit]