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George Marshall and Sammy Baugh in the 1940s; Baugh in action; Marshall at a game. (AP; Getty Images; File Photo)

Team Report

Letters from Hall of Fame quarterback Sammy Baugh and owner George Marshall reveal the Redskins' early struggles on -- and off -- the field

It started with a few jerseys. But now, Samu Querishi and Valerie Grissom consider their home an unofficial Redskins museum, jampacked with what might be the largest-ever collection of team memorabilia. Megan Rossman/The Washington Post
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By Samu Qureshi and Valerie Grissom
Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hotel Roosevelt

Sixteenth St. at V and W

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Washington, D.C.

Dearest Mona,

I have been laying in bed listening to the first game of the world series. It was a good game, but I had quite a difficult time keeping my eyes open.

The Redskins won Mon. nite but we received lots of injuries -- some of them quite serious. I hope some of the boys recover in time for the Giant game Sunday. "Turk" was relieved of being line coach -- he was replaced by Herman Ball. It was quite a popular move as far as the boys were concerned. They like Herman, but detest Turk.

I am getting awful tired and old for football -- seems I can't get rested. I suppose it's for young men, and you couldn't exactly call me a freshman at this time ...

Be sweet and remember I love you. Tell the boys I'll be awful glad to see them.


Sam is Sammy Baugh, the National Football League Hall of Famer and legendary Redskins quarterback from 1937 to 1952, who died in December at age 94. Baugh wrote the letter on Oct. 5, 1949, from his usual room during football season at the Hotel Roosevelt on 16th Street in Northwest Washington, to his wife, Edmonia, who was home at their ranch outside Rotan, Tex.

The Redskins were beginning a rough season, in the midst of a decades-long slide and facing the twilight of Baugh's momentous career. Ball, who replaced Albert Glen "Turk" Edwards, would see another promotion in a few short weeks -- he became head coach after volatile team owner George Preston Marshall dismissed Vice Admiral John E. "Billick" Whelchel after seven games. The Redskins concluded the 1949 season with a poor 4-7-1 record, a departure from the team's recent glorious past, in which Baugh led the franchise to five Eastern Division championships and two NFL championships in its first nine seasons in Washington (1937-1945).

The story of the early Redskins begins with Marshall, a businessman who inherited the two-store, Washington-based Palace Laundry from his father in 1919 and transformed it into a multimillion-dollar company of 57 stores. After establishing himself, Marshall bought an NFL franchise in 1932 and placed it in Boston, where the team played as the Braves before Marshall renamed the team the Redskins in 1933 and moved the team's home stadium from Boston's Braves Field to Fenway Park.

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