Remembering Sammy Baugh
December, 18, 2008
If you come straight to the baseball page, you might have missed the news: Sammy Baugh died. A few snippets of his obituary:
Baugh was the best all-around player in an era when such versatility was essential. In 1943, he led the league in passing, punting and defensive interceptions. In one game, he threw four touchdown passes and intercepted four as well. He threw six touchdowns passes in a game twice. His 51.4-yard punting average in 1940 is still the NFL record.
"There's nobody any better than Sam Baugh was in pro football," Don Maynard, a fellow West Texas Hall of Famer who played for Baugh, said in a 2002 interview. "When I see somebody picking the greatest player around, to me, if they didn't go both ways, they don't really deserve to be nominated. I always ask, 'Well, how'd he do on defense? How was his punting?'"
Baugh's reputation blossomed as a star high school football, baseball and basketball player in Sweetwater. It began to grow during his college days at TCU.
It was there that he picked up the nickname "Slingin' Sammy" -- but it wasn't for his passing. It was for the rockets he fired to first base as a shortstop and third baseman.
"Everybody thought I was a better baseball player growing up," he said in 2002. "I thought I was going to be a big league baseball player."