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Fan_Since_64

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#38 - Sam Baker
« on: October 31, 2009, 12:22:12 PM »



#38
Sam Baker


Kicker Loris Hoskins (Sam) Baker, who played for the Eagles from 1964 thru 1969, was recognized both for his punting and placekicking skills and, in fact, was one of the finest all-purpose kickers in NFL history.

Surprisingly, Sam didn’t placekick at all at Oregon State, where he played fullback and became the school’s all-time rushing leader with 2043 yards. He was chosen by the Los Angeles Rams in the 11th round of the 1952 draft, but saw no action for the Rams and was traded to Washington. He carried the ball 17 times for 72 yards as a backup fullback and also punted 17 times in ’53, then disappeared from the NFL due to military obligations, returning to the taterskins in 1956.

It was upon his return to Washington in ’56 that he took up placekicking, and he made quite an impact, leading the NFL with 17 field goals in 25 attempts (a 68% success rate, which was a solid figure for its time) and also punting 59 times for a 42.5 average. Sam led the league in scoring (tied with Cleveland’s Lou Groza) with 77 points in 1957 on 14 field goals, 29 PATs, and a rushing TD on a fake field goal. In ’58, he led the league in punting, with a 45.4 average on 48 punts and a long kick of 64 yards with none blocked.

Baker moved on to Cleveland in 1960, where he took over for Groza, who had briefly retired. With the high-scoring Browns, Sam led the NFL in PATs with 44 (against two misses), but was relegated to strictly punting duty in 1961 when Groza returned to the team. Dispatched to Dallas in 1962, he again led the NFL in extra points (50 of 51 attempted) and scored a career-high 92 points (a total that he would match with the Eagles in ’66).

Known for his carefree personality, Sam reportedly got on the bad side of Cowboys Head Coach Tom Landry with his off-field antics and was traded to the Eagles, along with DT John Meyers and G Lynn Hoyem, for WR Tommy McDonald following the ’63 season. While backup QB King Hill had been a capable punter for the Eagles since arriving from the Cardinals in 1961, placekicking had been a problem in ’63. Bobby Walston had retired and rookie Mike Clark, who would go on to have a successful NFL career with the Steelers and Cowboys, was erratic. Baker took over both roles, and did so successfully, breaking Walston’s single season record with 16 field goals in 1964 (out of 26 attempts).

A back injury that forced Sam to miss two games in 1965 affected his performance, but he came back strong in ’66, breaking his team record for field goals in a season with 18 and leading the league with a 72% field goal percentage, including a perfect 14 for 14 from inside of 40 yards. His 51-yard field goal at Pittsburgh that year was the team record at the time. He had an extra point blocked in the season finale at Washington, his only miss of the year.

Overall, Baker kicked 90 field goals for the Eagles, in 153 attempts (58.8%), the third highest total in team history. His 475 points and 205 PATs also rank third for the Eagles. He broke his single-season mark for field goals for a third time with 19 in 1968, which was also his career high. On three occasions, Baker kicked four field goals in a game for the Birds: against Dallas in 1965, Cleveland in ’66, and at Detroit in ’68 (he was a perfect four-for-four in the latter two games, with three misses against the Cowboys. The four field goals against the Lions in ’68 allowed the Eagles to win their first game of the year, in the 11th week on a muddy field, by a score of 12-0). His 12 consecutive field goals in 1966-67 stood as a team record until broken by David Akers in 2000. And as a punter, Sam kicked the ball another 244 times for 9933 yards, a 40.7-yard average, with a long punt of 63 yards in 1966.

During the ’68 season, Sam suffered his greatest humiliation, when he had three PAT attempts blocked in a 34-25 loss to the Giants at home, but overall, he was a reliable placekicker of the old-style straight-ahead variety. He was an All-Eastern Conference pick as punter by The Sporting News in 1966 and went to the Pro Bowl as a placekicker following the 1964 and ’68 seasons (he also represented the taterskins following the 1956 season, and the Cowboys after the ’63 season).

Known for occasionally putting his old fullback skills to use running out of punt formation on fakes earlier in his career with Washington, he took off once for the Birds, for 15 yards and a first down on a fake punt against the Giants in 1966. He also threw a pass out of punt formation to John Mallory that resulted in a 58-yard TD at Dallas in ’68 – the only pass completion of his career.

Rookie Bill Bradley took over the punting duties in 1969, and Sam was used strictly as a placekicker in his last season. Upon his retirement after that year, he had kicked a total of 179 field goals in 316 attempts (56.6%), the third highest total in NFL history up to that time. His 977 total points ranked fourth. And he had scored in a league-record 110 consecutive games, a streak that ended only with his retirement. He also booted 703 punts for 29,938 yards, a 42.6 average.

All of the scoring numbers have been surpassed many times, and by many kickers. But in the pre-soccer-style era, Sam Baker was one of the earliest and best kicking specialists, and as a combination placekicker and punter, rates with contemporaries Don Chandler (Giants and Packers) and Tommy Davis (49ers) among the best of that long-lost breed.

Sam Baker’s career record with the Eagles:

KICKING

Year
1964
1965
1966
1967
1968
1969
G
14
12
14
14
14
14
FG
16-26
9-23
18-25
12-19
19-30
16-30
FG %
61.5
39.1
72.0
63.2
63.3
53.3
PAT
36-37 
38-40 
38-39 
45-45 
17-21
31-31 

PUNTING

Year
1964
1965
1966
1967
1968
G
14
12
14
14
14
Punts
49
37
42
61
55
Yds.
2073
1551
1726 
2335
2248
Avg.
42.3   
41.9   
41.1 
38.3 
40.9 
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Fan_Since_64

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Re: #38 - Sam Baker
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2009, 12:30:11 PM »

Other Eagles who wore #38:

Bill Fiedler (G, 1938)
Jake Schuehle (LB/HB, 1939)
John Huzvar (FB, 1952)
Rob Goode (FB, 1955)
Tony Baker (RB, 1971-72)
George Amundson (RB, 1975)
Bill Olds (RB, 1976)
Larry Barnes (FB, 1978-79)
Steve Atkins (FB, 1981)
Mickey Fitzgerald (FB, 1981)
Jairo Penaranda (RB, 1985)
Russell Gary (DB, 1986)
Rich Miano (DB, 1991-94)
Dexter McNabb (FB, 1995)
Charles Dimry (DB, 1997)
Cecil Martin (FB, 1999-2002)
Thomas Tapeh (FB, 2004, 06-07)
« Last Edit: October 31, 2009, 12:43:24 PM by Fan_Since_64 »
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rjs246

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Re: #38 - Sam Baker
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2009, 01:39:52 PM »

Fourth down and one. Pass in the flat to fullback Thomas Tapeh for -2 yards.
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Don Ho

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Re: #38 - Sam Baker
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2009, 04:07:34 AM »

Rich Miano, Hawaii boy.
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