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Celebrating Sammy Baugh's 101st Birthday

RELATED LINKS:–That Time When Met Sammy Baugh
Slingin', Swingin' Sammy Baugh

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What might be most impressive about the career of Slingin' Sammy Baugh, the legendary Redskins quarterback, defensive back and punter who would have celebrated his 101st birthday today, is that it spanned 16 years.

That type of longevity in the league – at the time a record – was remarkable considering his somewhat wiry body type (6-foot-2, 182 pounds) playing a vulnerable position with just a leather helmet for protection. And yet he seemed fearless on the field.

Baugh, who passed away in 2008, could do it all. He earned his nickname passing, zipping the ball with pinpoint accuracy enough where the Redskins, in a league built on running the football, tested teams' pass defenses first. The forward pass soon became an integral play in the sport.


He used his legs for more than just scrambling out of the pocket. Baugh could also kick and play defense, recording 31 career interceptions and tallying a 45.1-yard career punting average. His 51.4 average in 1940 remains an NFL record.

A Texas Christian University product, Baugh learned the fundamentals of the short passing attack from his head coach Dutch Meyer at TCU, dumping the ball off to his tailback and keeping defenses on their toes. He threw the ball mostly from the seams, not the laces, which he admitted gave him more control.

In 1937, the year the Redskins drafted him, Baugh completed 81 passes and led the league with 1,127 yards passing. He still holds Redskins records for touchdown passes (187) and completion percentage in a season (70.3)

A charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Baugh led the Redskins to five title games and two championships and his No. 33 jersey is the only one the Redskins have retired.

And while his nickname developed at TCU, where Baugh fired bullets from third base and shortstop as a college, and then Minor League, baseball player, he solidified it with the Redskins.

Maybe his best – and most telling -- game came on Nov. 14, 1943 against the Detroit Lions.

Baugh threw four touchdown passes, intercepted four passes and boomed an 81-yard punt.

He may have had the "Luck of the Irish" being born today, but with his incredible talent, he didn't need it.



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