On the 75th anniversary of the Redskins’ first title

December 13, 2012

“Lift a paean of praise to Sammy Baugh,” began Shirley Povich’s column in The Post 75 years ago today. “Pay him your tributes, sound your huzzahs. And shout his name loudly. For it was Slingin’ Sammy Baugh, sweet Sammy from Sweetwater, Tex., who stood out there on brutally frozen Wrigley Field this afternoon and almost with each rise and fall of his long right arm brought to Washington the National League football championship.”

Yup, that’s right, it’s the 75th anniversary of Washington’s 28-21 win over Chicago for the city’s first pro football title. Well, Wednesday was, anyhow. And appropriately, that win came with Baugh operating, Povich wrote, as “virtually a one-legged football player.”

“Early in the second quarter, vicious Bears who knew that top top the Redskins they had to stop Baugh all but paralyzed him with a wicked tackle,” Povich wrote. “Bruised hip? Injured leg? Huh, those were trifles compared to what had happened to his pitching hand. Because there across the palm was a deep gash that cried for attention, but on the Redskins’ bench the trainer was nor informed.”

Baugh was also wearing rubber-soled basketball shoes for the first time in his life, since the frost-coated field made cleats useless. He still managed to go 17-for-34 and toss three touchdowns.

“How well he did his work is pretty evident,” Povich concluded. “When they call the roll of football heroes, the name of Samuel Adrian Baugh will be hovering near the top.”

 

Povich also wrote for A1 on that day, although as seen above, there were some other stories competing for attention.

“In a wild, frenzied battle for points on the frozen turf of Wrigley Field, the deft arm of Slingin’ Sammy Baugh prevailed today and Washington’s Redskins emerged as the champions of the National Football League,” the A1 dispatch began. “From the stabbing efforts of Baugh’s rapier-like heaves, the big, bruising Chicago Bears, champions of the West, reeled and stumbled and finally yielded to the Redskins, 28 to 21. It was a triumph of Baugh over brawn, of East over West.

“Huddled in the stands, Spartan-like, in the sub-freezing temperature that hovered around 20 degres were 15,878 football fans who had heard tell of Baugh and the Redskins and saw for themselves today. It was a disappointingly small crowd, but it was a lot of football that they witnessed.”

Povich, I believe, was the only Post writer in Chicago for the game. Which is probably how we’d handle a Super Bowl run 75 years later. But the Sports section also carried an AP dispatch from the victorious locker room.

“The Washington Redskins, who won the national professional football title today by defeating the Chicago Bears, had almost as hard going in their dressing rooms after the game as they did on the frozen field earlier in the afternoon,” the AP wrote. “Several hundred of the 3,000 Washington fans who came here for the battle pushed past police at the doors of the Redskin quarters and proceeded virtually to mob members of the victorious club.”

Meanwhile, owner George Preston Marshall told the AP that he expected a profit of about $20,000 from the 1937 title-winning season.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things DC sports at the DC Sports Bog.
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Dan Steinberg · December 13, 2012