NFL quarterback from 1937-1952 for the Washington Redskins partially responsible for the evolution of the league from a running league to a passing one.

After an All-American career at Texas Christian University (TCU), Baugh (DOB: 3/17/1914; Temple, Texas)was drafted by the Redskins 6th overall in 1937. Baugh led the Redskins to the NFL championship in his rookie season (1937), beating the Chicago Bears 28-21. His Redskins also beat the Bears for the title in 1942.

Baugh led the NFL in passing 6 times and was one of the forces involved in the NFL developing into a passing league from what was mostly a grind-it-out rushing league in the early years.

"Slingin' Sammy" also was a great punter and defensive back (in those times, players often played both offense and defense). In fact, in 1943, he led the NFL in passing, punting, and interceptions.

After 1952, Baugh retired. His career totals were 1693 completions, 2995 attempts, 21886 yards, 187 touchdowns, and 203 interceptions thrown. Most of his passing marks were records, which have since been broken. As a punter, he averaged 45.1 yards in 338 punts, which is an NFL record that still stands.

In 1963, Baugh was one of the charter members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He also coached the AFL's New York Titans (who later became the New York Jets) from 1960-1961 and the Houston Oilers (also of the AFL) in 1964.

In 1999, ESPN's SportsCentury selected Baugh as #64 on their list of the top 100 North American athletes of the 20th century.

"Slinging" Football Legend

Forward Pass Optimizer

Passer, Punter, Defensive Back
Record Holder
9X NFL Pro Bowl
NFL Hall of Fame

Redskin Patriarch

(1914 - 2008 )


Texas Genesis

Samuel Adrian Baugh entered this world on March 17, 1914. His first sixteen years being raised on the family farm that was his birthplace near Temple, Texas must have been the "grass-drills" needed to mold him into athletic prowess.

At his folks' yard at their new home in Sweetwater, Texas, Sammy (probably not wanting to be called Adrian, let alone Samuel --or even Sam) continued his football skills to be used on his High School team, primarily, passing. He aimed to be the best, a trait that would be life-long, and prepared a special target for honing his throwing skills. He hung an old automobile tire up from the tree-limb, and from varying distances he would aim to pass the pigskin through its center. This he did constantly and during which time he would also further challenged himself --he would swing the tire, and toss the ball while he hoofed it, "rolling out."

Sammy had a trio of "letters" for his sports jacket, but baseball actually became the reason Texas Christian University's coach, Dutch Meyer recruited him in 1933.

T is for TCU

The real world proved somewhat different, as he discovered at Texas Christian University. His first couple of years were not as notable as when running the plays as a junior. This was also after Leo Meyer became the football coach the year before and put Sam in as tailback. This allowed them to prosper: the 1934 season showed eight wins to four losses. Then, in 1935 he led the Horned Frogs to an almost perfect 12 and 0 record -- the exception was SMU's handling of them 20-14 at the end of the regular schedule while they were minus an injured Sammy, but trimphantly they did beat LSU in a quagmired Sugar Bowl, 3-2. Ironically, Sam was a star in this National Title game, not by passing (wise decision in the downpour - domed stadiums were still way in the future). He did it by running (one a 45 yarder through slick mud), by intercepting twice, and by kicking (14 to the tune of a 48 yard's average). Several nominated Sam to All-American team status. Though some backs threw occasionaly up to this date, they mostly ran, and none usually showed the proficiency that Baugh exhibited.

Baugh, as a senior, would finally earn the nick, "Slinging Sammy" as he upped the ante on performance for his school. He finished his college career with these overall stats: 109 completed passes out of 219 for two touchdowns and 1,890 yards. Out of his 198 punts, he averaged almost 41 yards, one booming for 85!

Though they lost two games and tied two that last year in 1936, they finalized that year with Sammy outpassing previously sole unbeaten Santa Clara and its quarterback Nello Falaschi. Baugh's 17 punts averaging 43 yards helped cinch the nine to nothing victory. This got them a coveted appearance at the first Cotton Bowl. He also made the All-American list, as well as duplicating the previous years All-Southwest Conference honor.

In the Cotton Bowl in the beginning of 1937, he faced off against Marquette's QB star, Buzz Buivid. His teammate fellow MVP, L.B. Meyer scored all of the 16 points that more than countered Marquettes six. In the fourth quarter Coach Meyer, mercifully sat Baugh out to avoid running up the score, until the crowd called for his return near the end.

Pros and Cons

Though he was a number one pick in the NFL draft, his first desire career-wise was to play baseball especially since Pro football, featured low-paid brutes committing team thuggery additionally was only surviving in a few locations. Saint Louis Cardinals' scout Rogers Hornsby saw Sammy Baugh's excellent play as TCU's third baseman he signed him at that position. Unfortunately, he struggled hitting the curve ball pitch, and after first moving to farm club Columbus, he descended even further to Rochester. There, he realized it would be a long time before he unseated shortstop Marty Marion a future Cardinal. That August he made his decision for destiny: he would try professional football.

Like John Elway, Archie Manning, and other modern gridiron QB phenoms out of college getting huge signing contracts, Baugh was a forerunner again. The rookie Sammy Baugh signed to the beforehand Boston Redskins, now the relocated Washington, District of Columbia and United States' Capitol city football team, for a top paid amount of eight thousand dollars per annum.

Play at Practice

First Session with Washington coach Ray Flaherty

Coach: Let's see you hit that receiver (Wayne Millner doing the "buttonhook" pattern) in the eye!

Baugh: Which eye?

Bomb Da Bears

He did not disappoint, the six foot two, hundred and eighty pound newbie piloted the Redskins through the season just like he started it. After only his first week of preparation and familiarity with his new team, he wowed everyone in his first game with a passing show of 11 for 16 and 116 yards in a 13-3 handling of the New York Giants. They earned a berth at one of the several famous National Football League's Championship games (three in the early forties) with those Monsters of the Midway, Chicago Bears. This 1937 matchup at near-fatally frigid Wrigley Field featured Baugh ignoring frozen fingers and flinging three second-half touchdowns for 55, 78 and 33 yards during his 355 total yards. Those 17 passes completed out of 33 thrown were the key to a 28 to 21 Washington victory.

Though 355 yards today would not be head-turning, it was in those days. One thing for sure happened from this game, Sammy, even as a single wing tailback, catalyzed throwing to become much more of an option in the Pros. It lifted the sport from too much drudgery where teams usually just hammered it out mainly on the ground.

Day of Infamy

After a couple of so-so years, during the 1940 season he was back in better form, a year he set the unbroken punting yardage average of fifty-one and four tenths. But little did he know when they beat Chicago 7 to 3 during the regular season and then afterwards called the Bears crybabies that they would find paypack time one of the most painful. The Championship Game would be at home in D.C.'s Griffith Stadium with their old nemesis. When the Redskins went to sneak to watch the Bears practice not only they were awed by the yelling manic demeanor of them, but coach George Halas stopped the pre-game drills to save the energy for the game.

The score was 7-0 after Chicago struck first a minute into it via Bill Osmanski's 68 TD run. After the ensuing kickoff, Washington, on Baugh's arm, drove to the Bears' end of the field, but the ensuing dropped goal pass by Charlie Malone set the tone for the rest of the game. Oh, there was a record set that day, but in the most mortifying of unsymmetrical scores ever seen, especially in a title game. The proud Washington Redskins, who had another dropped pass in the final ticks of the clock during an attempt to avoid being skunked would ultimately eat lots of roadkill crow in a shut-out to the tune of 73 zip!


If we could've scored 100 points, I would have done it. --Papa Bear Halas


On the field, after the debacle

Sports Reporter: Hey, Sammy! Woulda the outcome been different if that guy'd caught that pass in the end zone?

Sammy: Yeah! I suppose it would have made it seventy-three to seven.

The one thing the always striving Baugh never lost was his sense of humor. Even in the locker room --during what should have been a morose wake-- he speculated:

Maybe if we could have gotten that touchdown at the end it would've turned the tide!


Avenging Title

Though he had a reasonably good year 1941 it was in the next year they were able to regain some respect. They made it back to the National Football League Championship game, and once again they faced the Monsters of the Midway and a chance at retribution. They succeeded: scoring 14 to the Bears' 6. It was not only his 23 yard scoring toss, but his strategic punting that won the day.

The Play's the Thing

In the next couple of years Baugh was playing admirably, 1943 being considered probably his best, as no one topped, or has to this day surpassed him in the trio of roles on offense, defense and special teams. Unfortunately, the title game against-- you guessed it -- Chicago, he was concussed out of the game after scoring two touchdowns and the result was inevitable defeat, 41-21. One must remember, without Sammy the team lost more than a passer, but their All-Pro punter and defensive back.

T is, well, for T Formation

Though the Redskins switched to the T-formation, changing Baugh's position from single wing tailback to the more familiar role to present fans, quarterback, and continued to play his best, albeit with some adjustment that first year (only 4 TD's and less than 900 total Yds in 1944), the rest of the team failed to match his skills. But by utilizing this pro-set in 1945 he established the record that was first for more than 30 years for pass completion percentage at an impressive seventy and thirty three tenths. Only Ken Anderson in 1982 beat it by twenty-two seconds. He joined the All-Pro team again in that year, and repeated it also in 1947 as he had done in '37, '40 and '43.

In 1946 they earned the chance to be top NFL dogs, this time against the Rams, who were still in Cleveland at this time. Disaster in the apparition of injury visited the Redskins again, this time Baugh in the below zero temps continued to play with separated ribs. If they had only moved the goal posts back at that time, because his pass hitting them in this era cost them two points from a safety. Proving the old adage, "close only counts in handgrenades and horseshoes", the Rams were able to butt them away from the trophy, 15-14.

During the following season of 1947 his fame had reached the point where he was honored on November 23 by the Touchdown Club of Washington with a "Sammy Baugh Day." In a year where he had almost three thousand total yards, a career high 210 completions out of 354 attempts with 25 touchdowns, and for which he led the league, he had a standout day, as well. Playing that year's eventual Champions, the Chicago Cardinals, a now anxious Baugh worked hard to earn the praise and passed for a whopping 365 total yards, while his 6 touchdowns insured victory 45-21. All this was accomplished with a team that could only muster four wins out of its twelve game schedule. That day, however, he also was awarded a brand-new pretty station wagon.

Final Years on the Redskins' Reservation

He led the league in completion percentages for the sixth time in 1948, and the seventh the following season. He would finally call it quits three years later. Though in 1951 he made the Pro Bowl and was made a College Football Hall of Famer, 1952 was definitely a swan song year. He knew it was time to leave. With increasingly less talented teamates he now left only career lows: he slung the ovoid projectile only thirty-three times for a paltry hundred and fifty-two yards which scored two touchdowns.

Riding Coach

Retirement lasted only three years for this Nine-time NFL All Pro, when he accepted the call to head the Hardin-Simmons University football program. His five years coaching there from 1955 grossed 23 wins and 28 losses. His skills were evident enough for the owners of the New York Titans (> Jets) to make him that newly formed American Football League's team's head coach. He managed to have his players in both two seasons of 1960-1 break even with a seven all record.

Before going to Houston Oilers in 1964, the previous year he became one of the seventeen charter members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His first and last season coaching that Texas AFL team, only propelled the Oilers to four wins out of their fourteen games.

Playing Golf, Enjoying the Honors

They retired his #45 at Texas Christian University in 1993, and he was inducted into the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame in 1999.

Sammy Baugh, who will be 90 in March of the year of this writing -- 2004, and he is still currently a jock active in his real retirement in Texas, albeit Slinging Sammy is doing his with a golf club.

End of Game, But as a Winner

Slingin' Sammy Baugh, after years of bad health died at the age of 97, the last of the original Hall of Famers a week before Christmas of 2008.

Pro Career Stats

Year	Team	G	Com	Att	Pct	Yds	Ave	TD	Int	Att	Yds	TD

1937	WAS	11	81	171	47.4	1127	6.6	8	14	86	240	1
1938	WAS	9	63	128	49.2	853	6.7	5	11	21	35	0
1939	WAS	9	53	96	55.2	518	5.4	6	9	14	46	0
1940	WAS	11	111	177	62.7	1367	7.7	12	10	20	16	0
1941	WAS	11	106	193	54.9	1236	6.4	10	19	27	14	0
1942	WAS	11	132	225	58.7	1524	6.8	16	11	20	61	1
1943	WAS	10	133	239	55.6	1754	7.3	23	19	19	-43	0
1944	WAS	8	82	146	56.2	849	5.8	4	8	19	-38	0
1945	WAS	8	128	182	70.3	1669	9.2	11	4	19	-71	0
1946	WAS	11	87	161	54.0	1163	7.2	8	17	18	-76	1
1947	WAS	12	210	354	59.3	2938	8.3	25	15	25	47	2
1948	WAS	12	185	315	58.7	2599	8.3	22	23	4	4	1
1949	WAS	12	145	255	56.9	1903	7.5	18	14	13	67	2
1950	WAS	11	90	166	54.2	1130	6.8	10	11	7	27	1
1951	WAS	12	67	154	43.5	1104	7.2	7	17	11	-5	0
1952	WAS	7	20	33	60.6	152	4.6	2	1	1	1	0

Totals	        165	1693	2995	56.5	21886	7.3    187	203	324	325     9


1937, 1942 -- Won Championship Game
1940, 1946 -- Lost Championship Game
1940       -- 51.4 Yd punting avg. record unbroken
1940-43    -- NFL leader in punting
1943       -- NFL leader in punting, passing and interceptions,
              unbroken record 
1945       -- Completion percentage record unbroken until 1982
1951       -- Pro Bowl Game, College Hall of Fame inductee 
1952       -- At Retirement: Held the record, 
              187 total TD's
              21,886 total Yd's

"Baugh perfected the perfect pass" By Larry Schwartz {Special to}

See the Sporting Figures Quest.

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