Bill Baker played a key role in the United States surprising gold medal victory at the 1980 Olympics. He scored a last-second goal to tie Sweden in the tournaments first game and was a steady defender the rest of the way as the U.S. stunned the world and completed the Miracle on Ice.
Baker was accustomed to winning when he joined the U.S. national team for part of the 1979-80 season. His high school team in Grand Rapids captured the state championship in his senior year and he won two NCAA titles with the University of Minnesota, where he was a standout student as well as a West All-American.
Baker had short stays with four NHL teams over just three seasons, but one trade brought him closer to a prominent name from his past. The Colorado Rockies traded him to St. Louis in 1981 for Joe Michelleti and Dick Lamby. Michelleti had won the Minnesota high school title two years before Baker, was his teammate for two seasons at university and set the school record for defender scoring that Baker broke in his senior year.