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Sammy Baugh

Becomes Redskins First Round Draft Pick

Selected by the Washington Redskins in the first round of the 1937 college football draft, Baugh felt he would warm the bench. There were no passing quarterbacks in pro football and he doubted any team would take a chance with him. When baseball scout, Rogers Hornsby, came calling, Baugh signed on to play third base for the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals changed him to shortstop and sent him to their minor league franchise in Columbus, Ohio. Subsequently, the Cards sent Baugh to their Rochester, New York farm team where he played shortstop behind Marty Marion. Marion became a Cardinal regular while Baugh looked at changing sports.

Baugh called Redskins owner George Preston Marshall and told him he decided to try pro ball for one year. The Redskins had moved from Boston to Washington in 1937 and sought novel ways to recruit new fans. Marshall thought it was a great gimmick to bring a Texas cowboy quarterback to play in the nation's capital so he gave Baugh a shot. Those were the days of leather cap helmets that offered little protection. It was not until the John T. Riddell Company, researching using plastics for army helmets, developed a prototype for football players that evolved into standard headgear in the 1940s.

Marshall paid Baugh $8,000, but he got his money's worth. After practicing for only a week with the Redskins, he led the team to a 13-3 victory over the powerhouse New York Giants. In their inaugural season in Washington, Baugh led the Redskins to a National Football League (NFL) championship over the heavily favored Bears at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Each Bears player in the championship game received $122.78.

Baugh played a full sixty minutes of football, seeing action both as an offensive quarterback and defensive back. His professional football record for best career punting average (41.1 yards) and best single season punting average (51.4 yards in 1940) remain unbroken today. His pass completion average of 70.3% stood from 1945 until 1982. In 1943, he became the only NFL player to lead the league in passing, punting and interceptions.

Related Biography: Football Player Ki Aldrich

Ki Aldrich watched Baugh play junior high school football from the sidelines in Temple, Texas. Later Aldrich became Baugh's college and professional football teammate. He gained fame after a college career at TCU and as a first round draft pick by the Chicago Cardinals. He went on to play for the Cards in 1939 and 1940. In 1941 he joined Baugh and played professionally two seasons for the Washington Redskins before joining the Navy during World War II. He returned to play for the Redskins from 1945 to 1947 and then retired.

Charles C. "Ki" Aldrich was born in Temple, Texas June 1, 1916. He became a standout college center for the Texas Christian Horn Frogs. His pass interceptions in the team's 1937 Cotton Bowl victory over Marquette won him an Outstanding Player designation. He captained the 1938 team to a national championship 11-0-0 record and a Sugar Bowl victory with Heisman Trophy winner Davey O'Brien at quarterback. A three time All South-west Conference Center he was named to the All-American team in 1938 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1960. Aldrich died March 12, 1983.

Awards and Accomplishments

1935 Named to All-Southwest Conference Team
1936 Named to All-American Team; All–Southwest Conference
1937, 1940
1943, 1945
1947, 1949
Named NFL All-Pro
1943 Only NFL player ever to lead league in passing, punting and interceptions
1951 Inducted College Football Hall of Fame
1963 Inducted Pro Football Hall of Fame
1999 Inducted Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame

The Washington Redskins was Baugh's only professional team. He played in the nation's capital from 1937 until 1952. Baugh was selected as an NFL All-Pro in his rookie year, 1937, and in five later years: 1940, 1943, 1945, 1947 and 1949.

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsFootballSammy Baugh Biography - Discovers Sports In Temple, Texas, Moves To Sweetwater, Texas, Recruited For College Career At Tcu