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Jim Bakken - Player - Madison West / Wisconsin

03/01/2003, 12:00am CST
By Wisconsin Sports Network

Inducted in 2003

Jim was born on November 2, 1940, in Madison, Wisconsin. He attended Madison West High School, graduating in June of 1958. While attending West, Jim lettered in three sports: football; basketball; and baseball. His football coach at West was WFCA Hall of Fame member, Fred Jacoby. In 1957, the West team finished the season undefeated with a record of 8-0. This was the first time in school history a football team was undefeated. Although the state did not have an official state championship playoff, it was widely accepted that the Regents were indeed the states best in 1957. Jim was recognized as the MVP of the Big 8 Conference and the All-State QB that season.

Jim enrolled at the University of Wisconsin in 1958 and played football for Coach Milt Bruhn and baseball for Dyni Mansfield. The 1959 Badgers won the Big 10 Conference where Jim shared QB duties with Dale Hackbart. This '59 championship team went on to the '60 Rose Bowl, losing to Pac 8 Champion, Washington. Besides his QB duties, Jim also did the punting and shared the kicking duties, earning All-Big 10 honorable mention as a sophomore. Jim earned three letters during his Badger football career. He led the Big 10 in punting his junior and senior years. Against Northwestern his senior year, Co-Captain Jim kicked a 90-yard punt, a 47-yard field goal and intercepted a pass for a touchdown as the Badgers upset a strong Wildcat team.

After his playing days at Wisconsin, Jim was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams of the NFL. The Rams released Jim during training camp in '62. The St. Louis Cardinals claimed him as a kicker/defensive back. This proved to be a valuable pick-up for the Cardinals as Jim played 17 years in St. Louis from 1962-78.

During his career, Jim set several Cardinal scoring records as well as an NFL record seven field goals in one game versus Pittsburg in 1965. Jim was voted to play in four Pro Bowls -- 1965, 1967, 1975, 1976. He was voted as the kicker of the decade of the 60's. He stands third all-time on the list of consecutive games playing in the NFL -- 230. He scored 1,380 points which ranked second only to George Blanda when he retired in 1978.

Off the field he was elected as President of the NFL Players Association in 1969 and served three years as the player/member of the NFL Pension Board.

Jim is a member of the Madison Sports Hall of Fame and was elected as a member of the University of Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame.

Tag(s): Hall of Fame