Football 101: No. 8, Sammy Baugh
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The other day, my friend Michael Schur was trying to explain the extraordinary nature of Shohei Ohtani, who is one of the best hitters and one of the best pitchers in baseball. He said something to this effect: That would be like someone being the best quarterback and best defensive back in the NFL at the same time.
Sammy Baugh was the best quarterback and best defensive back in the NFL at the same time.
On the side, he was also the league’s best punter.
Yes, of course, these were the early days of professional football, it was a very different game. But here’s the thing: There was something modern about Sammy Baugh, something timeless. He’s the one player of his day you could put in any era and just know that he would be a star.
When Sam Baugh was in the eighth grade, he played for a very good junior high school football team in Temple, Texas. After the season ended, his coach said with some regret: “You know, it’s a shame you’re graduating. With you, we’d probably have the best junior high school football team in the whole state of Texas.”
So, Baugh purposely failed English to stay in the eighth grade. He redshirted himself.
His junior high team didn’t lose a single game the next year.
That’s how badly the guy wanted to win.
Baseball was Baugh’s first love. Well, that’s not exactly right