Samuel Adrian Baugh or popularly known as Sammy Baugh is a star quarterback of the Texas Christian University and an excellent passer for the Washington Redskins of the National Football League. Baugh was born in Temple, Texas on March 17, 1914. In this article, we are going to know more about the career of Sammy Baugh and how he became the sports legend that he is today.
In 1934, Sammy Baugh became the starting tailback of the TCU Horned Frogs, where he managed to lead the team into a 29-7-2 record over the next three seasons, and hiss amazing skills, Baugh got him included in All-American teams in 1935 and 1936. And he finished his college football career with a passing record of 39 touchdowns and 3,384 yards.
However, baseball was Baugh’s first love. He even said that his famous nickname, which is “Slingin’ Sammy,” came from his fantastic throwing ability when he was the third baseman of the TCU baseball team, and not for his passing prowess on the football field. After Baugh graduated from the TCU, he decided to join the Pampa Roadrunners, a semi-professional baseball team. When they were at a tournament in Denver, Colorado, a man named Rogers Hornsby decided to sign Baugh to a baseball contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. After that, he was sent to the minor leagues to play with the Columbus Red Birds in Columbus, Ohio.
After his stint with the Columbus Red Birds, Baugh was then sent to play with the New York Red Wings, which happens to be St. Louis’s other top farm club. This is the time when he noticed that he was receiving little playing time; that is why he felt unhappy with his prospects, and decided to turn to professional football instead.
When the Washington Redskins decided to move from Boston to Washington during the 1937 season, they decided to offer Sammy Baugh a $4,000 contract to leave baseball. Eventually, he was offered $8,000 to join the team, and he received it. Baugh enjoyed an extraordinary rookie season, where he managed to set a record of 81 passes for 1,127 yards. Baugh led the NFL in passing and succeeded in driving the Redskins in achieving a league title.
During the 1940s, Baugh leads the NFL in passing five more times, and at one time, he managed to hold every NFL single-game, season, as well as career passing record. In 1942, Baugh led the Washington Redskins to another championship, and he was hailed as first player to ever make four-interception in one game as a defensive back.
During the 1945 season, he had a 70.3 passing completion percentage, which topped the NFL records and remained in the top five until 2014. Sammy Baugh was included in the all-NFL team seven times. Baugh became so popular and his fame reached the peak in 1941, where he even got to star in a Republic Studios movie serial entitled King of the Texas Rangers.
The Washington Redskins honored Sammy Baugh’s career by declaring November 23, 1947, as the “Sammy Baugh Day.” During Baugh’s professional career, he managed to pass a total of 21,886 yards during his professional career, and his jersey number, #33, was later retired by the Washington Redskins.
Before his sixteenth and final season at the NFL, Sammy Baugh was hired as a part-time assistant coach at Hardin-Simmons University. And we he retired from the NFL, he decided to be a full-time assistant coach at the Hardin-Simmons, and in 1955, he was appointed as the head coach. He spent five seasons with the team before being hired as the second coach of the American Football League in 1959. This move challenged the NFL’s monopoly on professional football. Baugh coached the New York Titans, where he managed to compile a 14-14 record. From 1962 to 1963, he became the assistant coach at the University of Tulsa and Oklahoma State University.
During the spring of 1964, Baugh accepted the job to be an assistant coach of the Houston Oilers of the AFL. However, he was eventually elevated to head coach, where he replaced Frank “Pop” Ivy.
After finishing the 1966 season, Sammy Baugh decided to retire from coaching and became the full-time owner of his 7,667-acre cattle ranch named Double Mountain Ranch, which was located near Rotan in Fisher County. From time to time, he worked as an individual scout for the Detroit Lions of the NFL.
In 1969, several journalists hailed Sammy Baugh as the best college quarterback of all time. He was also inducted to the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame as well as the Helms Athletic Foundation College Football Hall of Fame. Aside from that, he was also inducted in the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame, and in 1963, he became a charter inductee in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Over the years, Baugh was always named as one of the greatest football players on several colleges and NFL lists.
On December 17, 2008, Baugh died at the age of ninety-four at Fisher County Memorial Hospital in Rotan. He was the last surviving member of the original 1963 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees.