Super Bowl III winner Baker never forgets his Lewistown upbringing
LEWISTOWN, Pa. —
At Mifflin County High School, students interested in history can now get a very unique lesson about a Super Bowl from the big game's early days.
That lesson is courtesy of Ralph Baker, a linebacker for the New York Jets in Super Bowl III back in 1969.
And the new conversation piece behind that story comes in the form of a gold football. Wilson and the NFL are issuing them to every high school that has ever produced a Super Bowl player.
"I would imagine half the students here have no idea who I am or that I ever lived here in Lewistown, or was from Lewistown originally," Baker said.
But those students may be intrigued to know that Jets team, led by Joe Namath, wouldn't have been complete without Baker's key fumble recoveries in both the 1968 AFL title game and Super Bowl III.
The victory on football's biggest stage over the heavily-favored Baltimore Colts certainly meant Baker, from the small town of Lewistown, had quite the journey just to get there -- and he'll never forget it.
"Everything started here in Lewistown for me," Baker said. "There were no Pop Warner Leagues in those days. You started with junior high football and high school. Fortunately I was able to go onto Penn State and the Jets."
While Namath gets all the glory for his guarantee to win the game, Baker knows that Jets team was always confident.
At the time, Baker told Coach Weeb Ewbank the team may have been a little too confident.
"You want to turn that projector off, because we're getting overconfident that we're going to win this game," recalled Baker with a laugh.
That win is still the biggest upset in Super Bowl history and now it will always be remembered at Mifflin County HS.
Baker's old high school is no longer standing, but those in the area will always welcome him.
"To have someone come back to the area and still live in the area, to be able to achieve that status of Super Bowl champion. I think it's just awesome," Mifflin County Athletic Director Tish Maclay said.
Baker presented the gold ball at the home of the Huskies during a boys basketball game. He hopes someone else will be back there presenting another one soon.