|Sammy Baugh was born on a farm near Temple, Texas March 17,
1914. When he was 16, the family moved to Sweetwater, Texas and he
attended Sweetwater High School where he played quarterback for the
After high school, Baugh attended Texas Christian University
where he threw 587 passes in his three varsity seasons for 39
touchdowns. Baugh was named an All-American in 1935 and 1936. In the
spring of his senior year, Redskins owner George Preston Marshall
offered Baugh $4,000 to play with the franchise. As expected, Baugh
was drafted in the first round of the 1937 NFL Draft by the
Washington Redskins. He signed a one-year contract with the Redskins
and received $8,000, making him the highest paid player on the team.
Baugh had what many consider to be the greatest single season
performance by a pro football player during 1943 in which he led the
league in passing, punting and interceptions.
was inevitable that a big, strong, good-looking athlete would
attract attention in Hollywood, and in 1941 Republic Pictures
approached him about starring in a serial for them. He liked the
idea and signed up for King of the Texas Rangers. In 1941, he made
$6,400 for starring in a 12-week serial as a dark-haired Texas
Ranger named Tom King. The episodes ran in theaters as Saturday
matinees and was a rousing success. Republic wanted Sammy to make
more of them, but although he said that he had fun doing it, acting
was not something he was particularly interested in and he turned
down the offer. He wanted to go back to playing football. Robert
Duvall patterned the role of Gus McCrae in the television series
Lonesome Dove after Baugh, particularly his arm movements, after
visiting him at his home in Texas in 1988.
In 1952 Baugh retired from professional football after 16 seasons
with the Redskins. He was inducted into the Professional Football
Hall of Fame in 1963. Although he didn't play football again, he did
coach college and pro teams He became head coach at Hardin–Simmons
University where he compiled a 23–28 record between 1955 and 1959.
Baugh was the first coach of the New York Titans of the American
Football League in 1960 and 1961 compiling a record of 14-14. He was
an assistant at the University of Tulsa in 1963 under head coach
Glenn Dobbs. At Tulsa, he coached All-American quarterback Jerry
Rhome. In 1964, Baugh coached the AFL's Houston Oilers and went
4–10. Baugh retired from the sport in 1968.
After retiring from football, Baugh and his wife Edmonia Smith moved
to the the Double Mountain ranch near Rotan Texas, where they had
four boys and a girl. Edmonia died in 1990, after 52 years of
marriage to Baugh, who was her high school sweetheart. According to
his son, Baugh derived far more pleasure from ranching than he ever
had from football, saying that he enjoyed the game, but if he could
live his life over again, he probably wouldn't play sports at all.
Baugh's health began to decline after the death of his wife. During
his last years, he lived in a nursing home in a little West Texas
town called Jayton, in Kent County Texas.
Sammy Baugh died on December 17, 2008 after numerous health issues,
including Alzheimer's disease, at Fisher County Hospital in Rotan,
Texas. He is interred at Belvieu Cemetery in Rotan. He was the last
surviving member of the inaugural 1963 class of the Pro Football
Hall of Fame.