Name: “Slingin” Sammy Baugh
Position: Quarterback, mostly.
Years played: 1937-1952
Hall of Fame class: 1963 Charter Class
NFL Top 100 overall: #14
(See statistics, highlights and more accomplishments listed below the write-up.)
Sammy Baugh, born March 17th 1914 played collegiately for the Horned Frogs (seriously) at Texas Christian University and was drafted in the first round (sixth overall) of the 1937 NFL DRAFT by The Washington Redskins the same year the team moved from Boston. Sammy Baugh played for The Washington Redskins from 1937 to 1952 and revolutionized the passing game. He was inducted into the 1963 charter class Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The nickname “slingin Sammy” was given to him by a Texas sports writer for his ability to throw a baseball but this name stuck with him in the NFL for the remarkable ways he could toss around the football. Luckily for Sammy he decided to stick with football after initially signing a contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. Baugh struggled as a hitter and found himself falling down the depth chart so he decided to give the NFL another shot and would quickly make a name for himself in the nation’s capital.
Baugh is credited for making the forward pass an integral part of the game, once thought of as a desperation play Baugh turned the forward pass into an offensive weapon in what has become a pass-happy league. This is a credit to Baugh’s uncanny accuracy and the great trust given by the Redskins coaching staff letting a rookie sling the ball around so much. Baugh more than earned that trust though since as a rookie he led the league in passing, he also led The Washington Redskins to their first NFL Championship putting up 335 yards and 3 TD’s against the Chicago Bears defense for a 28-21 championship win.
Baugh led the league in passing six times throughout his career, a feat which has thus far only been equaled by Steve Young.
Baugh was an accomplished passer no doubt but what made him so special was his versatility. In 1943 he led the league in passing (1,754 yards and 23 TD’s), punting (45.9 yard average) and interceptions (11). Think about that. It’s impressive enough to lead the league in passing but he also led the league at two other positions. In one of his most impressive and famous performances Baugh threw four TD’s and caught 4 INT’s in a 42-20 victory over Detroit. He was equally dangerous as a quarterback, defensive back and punter.
At the time of his retirement Baugh had set 13 NFL Records at three positions: quarterback, defensive back and punter. Two of Baugh’s records as a QB still stand, most seasons leading the league in passing tied with Steve Young and most seasons leading the league in lowest interception percentage (five). He is also fourth in highest single-season completion percentage (70.33), has the most seasons leading the league in yards gained (four) and also most seasons leading the league in completion percentage (seven).
As a punter he retired with the NFL record for highest punting average in a career (45.1 yards) and is still second all-time to Shane Lechler (46.5 yards). As a defensive back Sammy Baugh was the first player in league history to intercept four passes in a single game. And of-course, Sammy Baugh is the only player to ever lead the league in passing, punting and interceptions; a feat which will likely never be matched.
Sammy Baugh is widely considered to be one of the best overall players to ever step foot on the field in the National Football League and certainly deserves the nod as the greatest Washington Redskin of all-time. His #33 jersey is the only number officially retired by The Redskins organization.
• Pro Football Hal of Fame (1963)
• College Football Hall Of Fame (1951)
• 5× All-Star selection (1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942)
• Pro Bowl selection (1951)
• 7× First-team All-Pro selection (1937, 1940, 1942, 1943, 1945, 1947, 1948)
• 2× Second-team All-Pro selection (1938, 1941)
• 2× NFL Player of the Year (1947, 1948)
• 2× NFL Champion (1937, 1942)
• NFL record 6-time league passing champion (Tied with Steve Young)
• NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
• NFL 1940s All-Decade Team
• 1937 Cotton Bowl Classic MVP
• 70 Greatest Redskins
• Redskins' Ring of Fame
• Washington Redskins #33 retired
NFL Networks Top Ten Versatile players, #1
NFL Networks Top 100, #14
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