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Sammy Baugh (1 Viewer)

An NFL record that will never be broken

Sammy Baugh - 4 TD passes & 4 Interceptions in the same game. Note, these were not interceptions that he threw, rather he caught them from his position as Safety.

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Something I heard on the radio this morning about him:

He wasn't called Slingin' Sammy because of his passing prowess. He was also a top-notch baseball player (shortstop).

Truly one of the most elite of elite players.

One of the greats.

As late as 1954, he held the career records for completions, attempts, passing yards and passing touchdowns. Those were all broken by Layne, then Tittle, then Unitas, then Tarkenton, then Marino and now Favre. As recently as 1961 still Baugh held the record for passing touchdowns.

RIP Sammy.

I heard a story once that he would sometimes just drill defenders in the face with the ball when they were coming to sack him. In the days of no face masks, that was an affective way to slow down the pass rush.

December 13, 1937 Washington Post article about Baugh leading Skins over Bears in NFL championship game.


Baugh Stars as Redskins Annex Title

By Shirley Povich

Washington Post Staff Writer

December 13, 1937; Page 1

Wrigley Field, Chicago, Dec. 12—In a wild frenzied battle for points on the frozen turf of Wrigley Field, the deft arm of Slingin’ Sammy Baugh prevailed today and Washington’s Redskins emerged as the champions of the National Football League.

From the stabbing efforts of Baugh’s rapier-like heaves, the big bruising Chicago Bears, champions of the West, reeled and stumbled and finally yielded to the Redskins, 28 to 21. It was a triumph of Baugh over brawn, of East over West.

Huddled in the stands, Spartan-like, in the sub-freezing temperature that hovered around 20 degrees, were 15,878 football fans who had heard tell of Baugh and the Redskins saw for themselves today. It was a dissapointingly small crowd, but it was a lot of football that they witnessed.

At the end of the half the game belonged to the Bears by a score of 14 to 7, with the Redskins seemingly in rout as Nagurski and Manders and Nolting and Masterson poured through the Washington line and bulled their way into the lead.

And then, in the third quarter, Sammy Baugh began to strike. Once, twice three times he uncoiled the deadliest of all throwing arms and each time he found a receiver for touchdown passes. Into that third period Baugh and the Redskins packed a 21-point uprising, dashed away with the ball game as a gang of bewildered Bears had no reply.

It was a mob of infuriated Bears that gave ground before Baugh and late in the fourth quarter, when tempers were short and the title was slipping out of the paws of the Bears, fighting broke out.

In a wild melee of fist slinging that took place beyond the sidelines near the Washington bench, Baugh was the central figure off the field even as he was on the field.

For it was a punch aimed at Baugh by 210-pound 6-foot-3 **** Plasman, big bad Bear end who played his college football at Vanderbilt that set off the flareup of open fist slinging that had been taking place surreptitiously in the scrimmages throughout the game.

Baugh had run Plasman out of bounds after the latter had caught a pass and it was within of the Redskin bench that the Bear end lashed out at Baugh. Then Baugh punched back and Redskin reserves leaped to their feet, rushing to Baugh’s aid.

From across the field came both Redskins and Bears and for a half minute it was a free-for-all but game officials restored order. No penalties were given but Plasman, when he went back to the playing field was dripping blood from the nose and limping noticeably.

It a was rough, bruising ball game from the outset, with both teams slipping and skidding on the hard-ridged, frost coated turf despite the fact they were shod with rubbersoled basketball shoes.

Baugh Passes to Tie

As late as the third period, after the Redskins had tied the score at 14-14, the Bears were in command with a 21-14 lead. Then it was with a pass to Wayne Millner, Sammy Baugh fetched the tying touchdown and 5 minutes later won the ball game with a pass to Ed Justice.

Thus Washington, which had waited 24 years for its first baseball pennant, won its first big league football championship in its maiden year in the National League.

There was Cliff Battles, who drove to that first Redskin touchdown and there was Ed Justice, who caught the pass and dashed across the goal for the winning score. There was Riley Smith, the public accountant from Alabama, who gave a public accounting of his place kicking skill by sending a placement through the posts after each Redskin touchdown. And there was also bushy-haired, iron-legged, horny-handed Wayne Millner.

If Baugh had even a close rival for honors, it was Millner, overshadowed all season by his colleague at the other end, Charley Malone. But today, Millner was trancendent—a sure-handed, light footed messenger of grief for the Bears.

Millner Sprints Over Line

When the Redskins needed a touchdown to wipe out that 14-7 lead of the Bears in the third quarter, Millner who plucked a Baugh pass out of the nippy air and galloped 35 yards, in a breathtaking sprint to a touchdown on a play that, over all, ate up 55 yards.

And when a few minutes later the Redskins needed another touchdown to tie the Bears, it was Millner again who leaped into the air at midfield, snatched another pass from Baugh and legged it 50 yards to that important touchdown.

It was quite a going-over that the Redskins gave the Bears statistically. Fifteen first downs they amassed to the Bears’ 11, and 464 yards they gained to the Bears’ 348. Despite the ground-eating charges of Nagurski and Manders and Nolting, it was Cliff Battles who led both teams in yards gained from rushing with a total of 77.

It was a cool .500 that Sammy Baugh batted with his passes today, completing 17 of the 34 he heaved for a total of 352 yards, more yardage than the Bears could make either running or passing. Amid the ohs and ahs of the 15,878 in the stands, he was flipping long ones and short ones and shovel passes and flat ones and finding a receiver for half of his efforts.

Eight minutes after the opening kickoff, Washington had a touchdown—the fruits of a 53-yard uninterrupted march, Baugh completing three passes en route. With the ball on the Bears’ 7-yard line, Baugh handed the center’s snap to Battles on a reverse play and Battles dashed around the short side of the line untouched. He literally dove across the goal. It was the much-publicized short-side play of the Redskins that had shaken Battles loose for 76 yards against the Giants the week before.

Three minutes later the Bears had tied the score. Striking back with all the fury that their big backs and beefy line could muster the Bears stomped 80 yards to a touchdown. A 60-yard pass play from Masterson to Manske put the ball on the Redskins’ 19, and the Bears required only two plays to put it over. Nagurski charged 9 yards around left end and Manders literally waded through a hole a center for 10 yars and a touchdown.

Irwin Makes First Down

Now the Bears were rampant. Getting possesion of the ball again at midfield, they produced a touchdown in four plays, Manders taking a pass from Masterson and racing 25 yards across the goal, with the help of Wilson’s block of Battles who claimed he was clipped from behind on the play. With the Bears’ reserve backs in the game the second quarter produced no score.

But almost immediately after the start of the second half, with the Bears’ regulars in action, Sammy Baugh touched off the Redskins counter charge.

After Don Irwin had made a first down on the Bears’ 45, Millner dropped a pass from Baugh, but on the next play he cut sharply across from the opposite end of the field, took a pass that Baugh virtually hung on a peg, and, in a race with Masterson, scored on a 35-yard run. Reliable Riley Smith added the extra point to tie the game at 14 to 14.

It seemed for naught, however, when the Bears climaxed a 77-yard drive down the field with a touchdown scored on a pass from Masterson to Manske across the goal line that sent Chicago into a 21-to-14 lead.

But the Redskins had an almost immediate reply. Fading back from his own 22-yard line, Baugh fired a 40-yard pass to Millner, who took the ball on the dead run exactly in the midfield, found himself virtually free and led Nagurski and Manders on a 50-yard chase across the goal line, once more Riley Smith tied the score with a place kick for the extra point.

But that wild third quarter, which had already produced 21 points, was to produce 7 more, and it was the Redskins who authored that final and decisive touchdown. After stopping a Bear drive that ended with a punt to the touchback, the Redskins charged back the touchdown play like their first scoring play of the afternoon was a repitition of a play that had scored against the Giants.

Ed Justice, who until that point had taken no part in the pass catching, drifted downfield while Baugh faked a short pass to Malone and then heaved a long spiral that Justice gathered in on the 11-yard line. From that point it was a romp for Justice.

And that is the story of the Redskins and what they did today.

© Copyright 1937 The Washington Post Company

one more on a man who will forever be on the Mount Rushmore of the NFL


Baugh: The Texan Who Gave Birth to Redskins Fanaticism

By Thomas Boswell

Thursday, December 18, 2008; 1:24 PM

Sammy Baugh, a man whose face is almost completely forgotten but whose legend is still vivid generations after he retired, is the single star that created the Redskins brand.

When 90,000 people gather in FedEx Field on Sunday to see Washington play the Eagles, please think of Baugh, who died yesterday at 94, as the founder, the inspiration and the symbol of everything that is burgundy-and-gold.

The five world championship games, and two world titles, in '37 and '42, to which he led the Redskins began the NFL epidemic in Washington. Baugh is the root, everything else is branch, or more recently perhaps, twig.

For the current Redskins, who think they get the most out of themselves, this is perhaps all they need to know about Slingin' Sammy and what was meant by the word "work" in the 1930s when he emerged: Baugh would not leave practice until he had completed 100 passes in a row. Now the Redskins nag "stars" to come to practice at all.

My father arrived in Washington in Baugh's rookie season and caught the Redskins fever. To me, he embodied the local mania, the way one star athlete and the teams he led can define the habits of a family for decades. My dad cared for no other sport, yet was a Redskins fan 57 seasons. I never heard him curse except when he hit his thumb with a hammer or a Redskins quarterback, some Jurgensen or Rypien, someone not named Baugh, threw an interception.

Whenever anybody tells me that Vince Lombardi's one-year arrival in 1969 or George Allen's one Super Bowl team or Joe Gibbs's dynasty gave birth to this city's Redskins fanaticism, I know better. The late Shirley Povich didn't have to tell me (though he did). It was Baugh. He brought not just victories but thrills and ignited Washington with a passion even the worst Redskins periods can barely diminish.

In my father's house, all Redskins quarterbacks had a place of respect, yet none were ever compared to Baugh -- this unseen but vividly imagined man who wore No. 33, averaged 49 yards a punt for years, passed more accurately than any human and once intercepted more than a pass-a-game for a full season.

To this day Baugh remains, even in Washington, that purest of legends, the player who exists only in the retelling of his deeds from parents to children. How many have even seen him in the flesh? Compared to Baugh, Joe DiMaggio was a publicity hound. Better, perhaps, that he retired quietly to his 7,600-acre ranch in Texas, to his five children, 11 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren, and almost never showed up back here in his "second home" to take bows.

Still, Baugh's enormous stature, as the last living member of the NFL's first Hall of Fame class, contrasts with his near invisibility in a celebrity age. Every decade or so, reporters would seek him out for an update-on-Sam story. They always found him a gentleman, a fellow with an anecdote punctuated by a single "hell" or "damn" and a delicious demonstration of restraint.

In my basement, I have 20 sports pictures. My friends recognize Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali and the rest. But one face is a complete mystery to everyone. The black-and-white photo is of a football bench with four players in uniform intently watching the action. Behind them is a packed grandstand. Sitting on the bench among the players, dressed in a classy camel's hair coat, wearing a string tie and an elegant white cowboy hat, sits a man with a lean chiseled face and a big cigar in the center of his mouth.

"Who's that?" I ask. There's never even a guess. "He's the greatest football player of the first half of the 20th century," I hint. Silence. "He's the greatest Redskin ever."

Oh, Sammy Baugh! They all say instantly. Everybody still knows the man who did not invent but unleashed the potential of the forward pass, transforming the National Football League.

Yet few, at least these days, understand how completely Baugh modernized the NFL, turning the forward pass from an ugly oblong oddity into the soaring signature of the sport. What Babe Ruth's home runs did for baseball in the early 1920s, Baugh's bombs did for the NFL in the late '30s. Ruth was more Bunyanesque, more outside the parameters of previous imagination. But Baugh wasn't too far behind.

In 1936, the season before Baugh arrived, the average NFL team scored 11.9 points a game and completed 5.6 passes. The NFL completion percentage: 36.5. The entire sport threw only 67 scoring passes to 216 interceptions. A team passed out of third-down necessity or for trickery.

Then came Baugh.

Into this thudding world, where someone named Arnie Herber held such passing records as there were, the 6-foot-2 Texan, who could throw from all angles and drolly asked "which eye" he should hit his receivers in, was a revelation.

As a rookie, starting only five games, he broke the NFL completion record with 81. By 1940, he was accomplishing the inconceivable, completing 62.7 percent of his passes.

For accuracy, Baugh was two generations ahead of his time. His career completion percentage of 56.5, much of it done with a round-ended ball that Eli Manning might have trouble forcing into a spiral, is comparable to Sonny Jurgensen's career mark of 57.1. And it's better than individual seasons, within the last 10 years, of such Redskins starters as Trent Green, Tony Banks, Shane Matthews, Patrick Ramsey, Mark Brunell and, as a rookie, Jason Campbell.

Before Baugh came, only one man ever passed for 1,000 yards in a season. By 1947, Baugh completed 210 passes for 2,938 yards -- both then records by miles. If Ruth quadrupled the prevailing view of how many home runs were possible in a season, then Baugh tripled the notion of how much yardage a team could gain through the air. Just as important, others followed or imitated him, especially Sid Luckman in 1942 and Otto Graham in 1946.

The range of Baugh's skill is almost incomprehensible now. His career punting average was more than 45 yards, but from 1940 through 1942 it was almost 50 yards (49.5). Yes, they liked to quick kick then. But 50 yards is still 50 yards.

In 1940, he intercepted 11 passes in just 10 games. How good is that? No NFL player has intercepted 11 passes since 1981 and the last man to have more than an interception per game was Night Train Lane in 1952.

Those who saw Baugh in his prime have dwindled to a precious few. We must take the word, across time, of relatives and elders, as well as a few old newsreels where his passes look long, sweet and straight over the shoulder.

We may not know his face when we see it in a photo: ears and nose prominent, cheeks slightly sunken, deep lines in his face before 40 and a middle-distance gaze in his dark eyes as focused as any hawk.

But, as long as people know the Redskins, they will know Sammy Baugh. He's the Texan who branded them.

RIP Sammy.I heard a story once that he would sometimes just drill defenders in the face with the ball when they were coming to sack him. In the days of no face masks, that was an affective way to slow down the pass rush.
Sammy tells the story in that Youtube clip.
RIP Sammy.I heard a story once that he would sometimes just drill defenders in the face with the ball when they were coming to sack him. In the days of no face masks, that was an affective way to slow down the pass rush.
Sammy tells the story in that Youtube clip.
:blackdot: OK, so maybe it only happened once and according to Baugh it didn't seem to slow down the defender's rush on future plays, but still an awesome story.That story, along with the story of him getting in a fight during the 1937 Championship, would probably make Baugh a thug or punk in today's game.
What's hard for me to fathom is that Sammy Baugh still holds the Redskins career TD passes record with 187.

That just seems crazy that it still stands to this day. You usually see those type of team records broken over the generations.


first contract squabble(that I know of) RB Battles stopped playing because he didn't get a 250 dollar raise and this was one of the best RBs at the time. 2750-3000 or 3000-3250, while Baugh made 8 or 9k

the ball was changed to be flatter or leaner. It was more round and harder to pass.

Baugh has records in NFL title games that aren't Supes but if they were counted as such, he'd probably have many more records. One that might not be obvious from a passer- an 85 yard punt in title game.

Defenders were allowed to keep hitting QBs after the pass as long as the play was going on and Baugh took beatings. There's famous stories about people twisting his legs in piles, cleating his hand so he'd miss a quarter but he'd throw for 4 TDs that game, and doing all sorts of stuff to him when people weren't looking.

told his coach to sign black players after he flat out refused and banned black players from the Redskins.

was going to play pro baseball but the team he was going to sign with had one of the best shortstops in MLB.

Redskins fans took trains to go see him play some away games. "legend has it" 10k, 15k, 5k....would go to watch him

Back then teams punted on 3rd down(QB punted) as the D didn't expect it and this would pin them near their endzone. Baugh was a master of this and many today think punting into the corner is a lost art.

Speaking of Baugh was what soldiers during WWII liked to do to pass time away-anything to lift their spirits should be noted but, apparently Baugh-talk was a considerably common conversation. some did it to jabber and just kinda hide away their fear and nerves busying their minds on another topic.

Ever read of guys drawing plays in the dirt in a title game? That's Baugh.

Baugh was a poor coach (W-L)because he hated city life and was a country boy. After playing he was miserable travelling city to city and it just wasn't him. He coached the Jets IIRC. There was single wing and double wing formations that Sammy drew up that eventually "everyone" used. He may very well have been a fine coach.

Redskins lost 73-0 in a title game and many still think they threw the game. Redskins just played terrible though.

Best conversation ever between coach and NFL player(correct me if I'm wrong on the wording)

coach:I hear you're a pretty good passer

baugh:I reckon I can throw

(not believing really that anyone could pass with accuracy the coach said:) hit the Wide Receiver in the eye with your pass

baugh:which eye?

flutie and others that were "too small" to play QB. That started with the 6-2 Baugh that was taller than most in the league then

A true Legend and a guy who will leave a lasting mark on the NFL forever. RIP Sammy. Another Redskin great to watch over the team. :rolleyes: for the memories

Great player for TCU and the Redskins. Did so much for the game.

Just a great FOOTBALL PLAYER. :football:

His NFL single season punting avg. record of 51.4 in 1940 will never be broken IMHO.


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