Remembering Slingin’ Sammy

When you think of sports records that might never be broken, former Redskins quarterback Sammy Baugh, who passed away Wednesday at the age of 94, might have a mark that will stand the test of time. Baugh is the only player in NFL history to throw four touchdowns in a game and record four interceptions. Not tossing four interceptions, but he intercepted four passes. Imagining a player coming up with four interceptions in a game is tough. Now try to imagine Kurt Warner or Drew Brees doing it, while throwing four touchdowns.

And there are even more anecdotes out there about one of the greatest players in NFL history.

From the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Baugh’s marketability when he came into the league :

    Marshall realized he had more than just a football player; he had a personality that could sell football. And that they did as “Slingin’ Sammy” woke up the football world with his passing skills as he revolutionized the NFL during his 16 years with the Redskins. An astute businessman with a keen sense for the promotion of his product, Marshall signed Baugh to a personal services contract. Clause (3) of Baugh’s 1938 contract read:
    (3) In addition to the compensation hereinbefore set forth, each of the parties hereto shall receive fifty per centum (50%) of all moneys paid for endorsements, personal appearances, performances in theaters and movies, etc. by party of the second part during the term of this contract. It is herby understood and agreed between the parties hereto that the party of the first part shall have the right to make engagements for the party of the second part for such endorsements, personal appearances, performances in theaters and movies, etc.; and the part of the second part hereby agrees to fulfill such engagements upon the terms and condition set forth in this paragraph (3).

From the Los Angeles Times on Baugh’s confidence:

    That game was sweet revenge for a 73-0 humiliation of the Redskins by the Bears in the 1940 NFL championship game. Playing at Griffith Stadium in Washington, 10 different Bears players scored 11 touchdowns. The Redskins, who had defeated the Bears 7-3 on the same field three weeks earlier, botched a scoring opportunity early in the game when the usually reliable receiver Charlie Malone dropped a Baugh pass on the goal line. At the time, the Bears had scored only seven points, and the outcome of the game was still in doubt.
    Someone later asked Baugh if the result would have been different had Malone not dropped the pass.
    “Sure,” Baugh said. “The final score would have been 73-6.”

From the New York Times on Baugh’s toughness:

    Baugh matched his finesse with toughness.
    “One time there was a defensive lineman who was coming down on me with his fists closed. A couple of plays later, I found a play we could waste and I told our linemen to just let him come through.
    “The guy got about five feet from me, and I hit him right in the forehead with the ball. He turned red and passed out. It scared the hell out of me.”

From the New York Daily News on Baugh’s accuracy :

    No one before him was as accurate a passer as Baugh, who made the transition from single wing tailback to T-formation quarterback his rookie season in 1937. At Baugh’s first practice with the Redskins, according to legend, coach Ray Flaherty explained, “When the end cuts way down here, Sam, I want you to hit him in the eye.”
    Baugh replied, “Which eye, coach?”

From the Fort Worth Star Telegram on his legacy at Texas Christian:

    “He’s the greatest quarterback who ever lived and the greatest punter. Other than that, he wasn’t any good,” said author Dan Jenkins, TCU’s sports historian who as a boy watched Baugh play at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
    “He took Dutch Meyer’s offense to the NFL and won two world championships. He practically invented the aerial game.
    “His legacy, his fame have certainly been a wonderful thing for TCU.” has a video tribute to Sammy Baugh.

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