Friday, December 19, 2008


In this Dec. 15, 1936 file photo, Sammy Baugh, backfield star of Texas Christian University, is demonstrating his sidestepping ability in Dallas. Baugh, who set numerous passing records with the Washington Redskins in an era when NFL teams were running most every down, died Wednesday night, Dec. 17, 2008 his son said. Baugh, who was 94 and had numerous health issues, died at Fisher County Hospital in Rotan, Texas, David Baugh said. (AP Photo/JFL, File) (Jfl - AP)

Sammy Baugh 1945

Sammy Baugh


Sammy Baugh was the last surviving member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's inaugural class of 1963.

After starring at Texas Christian University, "Slingin' Sammy" played with the Redskins from 1937 to 1952, leading them to the NFL title in his rookie season and again in 1942.

FUNERAL SET FOR MONDAY (December 22, 2008)

ROTAN, Texas (AP) — Funeral services for Hall of Fame quarterback Sammy Baugh are scheduled for Monday.

Weathersbee-Ray funeral director Doug Ray said Thursday that Baugh's service will be at 2 p.m. at the First Baptist Church in Rotan. Burial will follow at Belvieu Cemetery. Family visitation is scheduled for 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home.

"Slingin' Sammy" Baugh, one of the league's best passers in an era when most offenses were geared toward the run, died Wednesday night at 94.

The Texas native played for the Washington Redskins from 1937-52, leading them to the NFL title his rookie season and again in 1942. Baugh was the last surviving member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's inaugural class of 1963.

Commentary: Baugh's stories reflect a life lived to fullest
NFL star also played baseball, had show on TV

By JOHN McCLAIN Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle

Dec. 18, 2008, 8:46PM

Source and credit: www.chron.com

When I learned that Slingin’ Sammy Baugh had died Wednesday, I reminisced about the most entertaining night of my life.

In July of 1998, I spent the night with Baugh at his ranch in West Texas. What a trip down memory lane.

Samuel Adrian Baugh, an All-American at TCU and Washington’s first-round pick in 1937, was a storehouse of sports and entertainment knowledge.

Green Bay receiver Don Hutson had died in June of 1997, leaving Baugh as the last surviving member of the original, 17-member class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame that was inducted in 1963.

I recruited Baugh’s friend, Cowboy Bill Lamza Jr., to set up the interview with Baugh at his ranch outside Rotan, an 8,000-acre spread at the base of Double Mountain.

Baugh, who got his nickname from a Fort Worth sportswriter because of the way he threw a baseball from third to first, was a cussing, golfing, domino-playing legend whose extraordinary career included experiences with more memorable characters than Benjamin Button and Forrest Gump combined.

Baugh was 84 when Lamza introduced me to him on the porch of his ranch house. I turned on the tape recorder and listened to Baugh’s stories while he and Lamza played dominoes for hours.

Set 13 league records

Baugh’s career in the NFL has been well-documented. In 2007, the NFL Network voted him as the most versatile player in history. He was an outstanding quarterback, safety and punter during a 16-year career with the Redskins that ended after the 1952 season.

When Baugh retired, he owned 13 NFL records.

At one point, Baugh showed me around his house. He had a small trophy case. I asked him which award he valued most. He opened the door, reached into the back and pulled out a certificate for his first hole-in-one.

Every weekday, Baugh got in his car and drove 20 miles to Sweetwater to play golf. On weekends, he stayed home to watch football and golf. He loved peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. He ate them almost every day.

Fans would send items for him to sign. They’d be addressed to Slingin Sammy Baugh, Rotan, Texas — no address and no zip code. Just about everybody in West Texas knew where he resided because he’d owned the ranch since 1941.

Every two weeks, his daughter-in-law would come to his house and line up the items for him to sign. He signed “Sam Baugh” because it was quicker. She made sure every item was signed and returned to sender.

No matter how hard the Hall of Fame tried to get him to return to Canton or how many award banquets he was invited to, Baugh never went anywhere unless he could return home and sleep in his bed every night.

Memories of the minors

Baugh’s minor league baseball career was almost as interesting as his 16 years with the Redskins. He regaled us with stories about playing in the St. Louis Cardinals system with players who would become members of the legendary Gashouse Gang.

At a semipro all-star game in Denver, Baugh played against a Negro League all-star team that included Josh Gibson, Cool Papa Bell and Satchel Paige. He said it was the most talented team he ever saw even though the game ended with a bloody fight between fans and players from both teams.

Baugh told us about a 17-year-old rightfielder from an opposing team. He said the kid hit line drives you could hang clothes on. He said when he played third base, the kid would hit the ball so hard that Baugh could hear the planks coming out of the outfield fence faster than he could turn his head to actually see it.

The kid infuriated opponents because he’d turn his back to hitters and dare them to hit it to him. To antagonize opponents, the kid would stuff his glove in his pocket when the pitcher threw. Sometimes, the kid would do jumping jacks with the batter in the box.

Baugh asked the opposing manager why he let the kid act that way. The manager said the big boys with the major league team told him to leave the kid alone because he was going to make them a lot of money someday. That kid was Ted Williams.

A star magnet

Baugh was such a star in the NFL that Hollywood called.

He starred in a weekly series called King of the Texas Rangers. He crossed paths with Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and Duncan Renaldo, who became famous for his weekly television series, The Cisco Kid.

Actor Robert Duvall spent a few nights at Baugh’s ranch before he filmed the television miniseries, Lonesome Dove. Duvall based his Gus character on Baugh.

Of all his interesting experiences, Baugh loved football the most. When he walked off the field at Griffith Stadium for the last time, Redskins fans gave him a 10-minute standing ovation.

Now that he’s gone, many of us who admired him are still applauding.

PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME website source and link:
Class of 1963
Quarterback, 6-2, 182
(Texas Christian University)
1937-1952 with the Washington Redskins

Sammy Adrian Baugh. . .Two-time TCU All-America. . .No. 1 draft choice, 1937. . .Split career between tailback, T-quarterback. . . Premier passer who influenced great offensive revolution. . All-NFL seven years. . . NFL passing, punting, interception champ, 1943. . . Six-time NFL passing leader. . . Career records: 21,886 yards, 187 TDs passing, 45.1-yard punting average, 31 interceptions. . .Born March 17, 1914, in Temple, Texas. . .Died December 17, 2008, at age of 94.

Sammy Baugh arrived on the pro football scene in 1937, the same year the Redskins moved to Washington from Boston. The Texas Christian star was the team’s first round pick that year. Over the next 16 seasons “Slingin’ Sammy” not only helped establish the pro game in the nation’s capital, he also was a major influence in the offensive revolution that occurred in the late 1930s and early 1940s.

When Baugh first started with the Redskins pro football was largely a grind-it-out ground game. The forward pass was something to be used with caution, and never inside your 30-yard line, except in desperate situations. By the time Baugh was through, the forward pass was a primary offensive weapon. Obviously, such a change could not be totally brought about by one individual. But Baugh was the catalyst that changed the game. No one had seen a passer who could throw with such accuracy.

Baugh started his pro career as a single wing tailback and didn't make the switch to the T-formation until 1944. He won a record-setting six NFL passing titles and earned first-team All-NFL honors seven times in his career. Sammy also led the NFL in punting four straight years from 1940 through 1943. Extremely versatile, he led the NFL in passing, pass interceptions, and punting in 1943.

One of his best single performances came on “Sammy Baugh Day” in 1947 when he passed for 355 yards and 6 touchdowns against the Chicago Cardinals, that season’s eventual champions. Baugh, although highly competitive, was still comparatively easy-going and never lost his sense of humor. When the Chicago Bears defeated the Redskins, 73-0, in the famous 1940 NFL title battle, a Redskins end dropped a touchdown pass in the end zone. Reporters asked Baugh if the outcome would have been different had the pass been caught. "Yeah," Baugh answered, "It would have made it 73-7."

Baugh, perhaps greatest ever, dies at 94 Read the article: baltimoresun.com

My dad Mark "Mick" Hammel played in this preseason game as a Green Bay Packer end.

Slingin' Sammy Baugh is pictured on the program front cover. The roster was on the inside of the program as well as on the back. Both are pictured below.

The football articles below are memorabilia that I have about my beloved dad.

Click on the pictures of the programs and articles and they will enlarge.

Sammy Baugh is number 33 of the Redskins
My dad, Mark Hammel is number 15 of the Packers

Inside of the program above.

Don Hutson is listed as the Packer Backfield Coach.
He changed his mind and came out of retirement to play again. And this is referred to below in a letter from Packer Coach Curly Lambeau to my dad's high school football coach. That is the reason my dad was cut from the Packers before the season actually started.

My dad then went onto to Ohio State University with a football scholarship. He hitchhiked there and hitchhiked home. Just before going to the Packers he had gotten married and he was "homesick" he told me. He was rejected from the military because of his back. But he loved playing football. When he entered the hometown Huntington College after his short experience in professional football, he was ineligible to play football for one year. And the only years that they had a football team were the three years that dad did get to play there.

My dad went on to Coach Basketball in Indiana's high school level. He was hired to coach before he even went to college. There was a war going on...

Packer Coach Curly Lambeau refers to dad as made out of prewar rubber in above newspaper article.

Click on the articles and they will enlarge.

In the above article is included this text:

Hammel, Clark Shine

During the first stiff contact work Thursday on defense, two rookie lineman -- End Mark Hammel and Tackle Don Clark-- looked especially good along with Tiny Croft, 287-pound tackle, and Ben Starrett, who was used at an end spot as well as at blocking back. The big surprise of the session was the work of Hammel.

A comparatively small man, Hammel uses his 170 pounds to advantage. As the Packer coach put it, "...he seems to be made out of prewar rubber the way he bounces back after he is hit." The former Wabash (this is wrong - it shoud read Huntington player, which is high school) makes up for his lack of weight with plenty of speed. The ability he showed in the rough session was the fist major surprise of the young practice season.

(The last line in the article is missing the words: a play.)

The letter where Curly Lambeau cut dad from the Green Bay Packers
because Don Hutson came back from "retirement"
It is referred to at the end of the letter.

A source for more information on Sammy Baugh:
Sammy Baugh Biography - Discovers Sports In Temple, Texas, Moves To Sweetwater, Texas, Recruited For College Career At Tcu

From our files: Sammy Baugh: In Passing

Source and credit: www.csmonitor.com

From the October 14, 1948 issue of The Christian Science Monitor.

For years, forward passing was regarded as daring football. Fans usually liked passing because it was exciting to watch, and because danger rode with every attempt at it - danger of interception for the home team, and of completion for the opposition. Either way, passing was spectacular.

While the fans cheered it, however, fundamentalists insisted that it was not sound football. They regarded it as desparation play. Victories won on passes were sometimes termed "fluke" wins. Now the picture is different. The fellow who changed it is a drawling Texan, who proved that passing could be a science instead of a gamble.

Sammy Baugh did not aspire to football greatness as a boy. He wanted to be a baseball player. Just as the baseball major leagues are dotted with frustrated footballers, the football big time is sprinkled with fellows who wanted to play baseball. Sammy probably is the outstanding example.

When he was growing up on a Texas farm, heliked the sandlot game. Texas had good baseball weather, and Sam was determined to make the most of it. Football was not just something to try for the sake of variety, fun to dabble in but lacking in the solid virtues of baseball.

When he was of high school age, Sam retained much the same opinion of the two sports. At this time, the Baughs moved to Sweetwater, Texas, where Sammy went to high school. Tall and slim, Sam did not look much like a football player, but he went out for the team, anyway. He liked sports, and he watend to keep his hand in. If he had not subsequently achieved fame, it is unlikely that anyone who saw Sammy in high school football uniform would remember it now. He was unimpressive. At the time, he apparent lack of outstanding ability did not worry the young fellow, because everyone agreed he was a fine infielder on the high school baseball team.

After graduation, Sam had high hopes of making the major leagues. He joined an Abilene, Texas team as a third baseman, and sports fans continued to point him out as a fine prospect for organized baseball. Among the people who watched him and admired his work on the diamond was Dutch Meyer, baseball coach for Texas Christian University. Meyer thought that Baugh had natural ability as a hitter, and after some time he interested Sammy in going to Texas Christian. Meyer also was freshman football coach at TCU, but he is the first to confess now that he had no suspicions that Sammy Baugh might become a great football player. He knew Sam had played football, and figured he might fill in as a substitute on the freshman team in the baseball off-season.

Sammy went out for football as a freshman, but he failed to establish a reputation as a good football player. Francis Schmidt, head football coach, attributed Sammy's so-so play to the fact that he was too slim for football, anyway. For the first time, however, the easygoing Baugh was unwilling to ride along on that excuse. That freshman year he developed something more important than a reputation, he developed a determiniation to become more than a mediocre football player. He was beginning to get football fever, to feel that the autumn game was more than a change of pace from baseball.

It became obvious to Sammy that he did have a natural ability to pass. He watned to develop it, but he realized that he would have to become a better all-around player in order to make the passing count.

During his sophmore year, Sam studied the game of football. He spent hours on the fundamentals of the game, trying to imagine himself in every position on the team(he played quarterback) and in every conceivable situation. The team as a whole, and how it should operate - this was what Sammy had to know in order to do a good job of quarterbacking. He assimilated facts, and he began, gradually, to put his knowledge to work on the field. At first his play was marred by extreme nervousness. But he stuck to it and, as he saw theory work out on the field, developed self-confidence.

Sammy Baugh was a fine, workmanlike quarterback when he reported to his coach at the beginning of junior year. As serious practice got under way, he proved that he could punt well too, and he gave every indication of being a calm player, sure of what should be done in every situation.

Having painstakingly built the groundwork, Sammy was ready to reap the rewards. His passing, always his strong point but worthless without all-around basic ability, came into its own. It seemed to unhappy rivals of TCU that Baugh just couldn't miss. While fans screamed themselves hoarse, Baugh passed TCU into the Sugar Bowl. Even then he had no idea of how good he really was, and few other people guessed it.

After graduation from TCU, Same figured still that he might find a steadier, more dependable job in baseball. He played a season in the minor leagues. The next year he returned to football, hoping that his passing arm would enable him to make good with the professional Washington Redskins.

Since then, football fans have had occasion to be very thankful for Sammy's decision. His amazing marksmanship changed passing from a desparation measure to good, sound football. In 11 years of professional play, he has netted 15,000 yards for the Redskins on passing alone. Again and again his passes have been touchdown throws. As he himself admits, he is getting a little old now for the rugged game of football, being 34. There is talk of replacing him with a recent graduate of college football. But in a sense, Sammy cannot be replaced. He was a trail blazer, a pioneer, and the fellow who comes after will be treading a well-marked path.

At this link is an audio talking about Sammy Baugh:

Here is a part of the article:

LUBBOCK, Texas -- Slingin' Sammy Baugh, the ultimate three-way threat who revolutionized the use of the forward pass as a Hall of Fame quarterback for the Washington Redskins, died Wednesday night. He was 94.

Baugh, who had numerous health issues, died at Fisher County Hospital in Rotan, according to his son, David Baugh. He said his father had battled Alzheimer's disease and dementia for several years and recently had been ill with kidney problems, low blood pressure and double pneumonia.

"It wasn't the same Sam we all knew," his son told The Associated Press. "He just finally wore out."

Another article about Sammy Baugh:

NFL record-setter Slingin' Sammy Baugh dies at 94

By Betsy Blaney

The Associated Press

Thursday, December 18, 2008, 8:21 a.m.

LUBBOCK, Texas -- People never forgot Slingin' Sammy Baugh.

Every day as many as four letters arrived at the West Texas ranch the pioneering quarterback called home.

Baugh, whose use of the forward pass took him to the Hall of Fame after a career with the Washington Redskins, died Wednesday night. He was 94.

The letters came from young and old. Some asked for an autograph from Baugh (pronounced Baw). But in the last several years of his life he couldn't oblige them.

His son David Baugh responded to each one, telling fans his father could no longer hold a pen.

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett even wrote to Baugh, and like so many others "just talked about how he was an inspiration in their lives," David Baugh told The Associated Press. "He did a lot of things pretty good, not just as an athlete. He was a good rancher, roper. He was a pretty good man."

For the full article: www.washingtonpost.com

At the following link you can see:
Gone, not forgotten
Notable sports deaths of 2008.


My dad died May 10, 2007 and was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. But I do not believe that he had AD. He had some form of dementia, just not AD. He always knew me to his dying breath.

I love you Dad.

Maybe, Sammy and you can talk some football.

I wrote about my dad at these posts:








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