Sammy Baugh’s death leaves a gaping hole in the list of living pro football Hall of Famers. But there’s no doubt he lived the way he wanted–and signed plenty of autographs along the way.
Sammy Baugh was one of pro football’s first true superstars at the quarterback position. Truth be told, though, he was more than just a one-trick pony. Baugh’s best years came when players were expected to be a little more versatile.
He lived long enough so that even retirees don’t remember him as a player, but Baugh’s status as an NFL icon is secure. Those who follow pro football history were glad for the times he made himself available for autographs. Asking him to sign his nickname wasn’t always a good idea, though.
“Fans always ask me to put ‘Slinging Sammy’ on what they wanted autographed, and I say, ‘Hell, no. I’ll sign it the way I want to sign it,’.” said Baugh, pausing to spit tobacco juice into a plastic cup. “I hated that damn Slinging Sammy’.”
Baugh’s autograph is the only one sitting in the offices of NFL Films President Steve Sabol, who saw Baugh play as a young boy and was enthralled later in life to study old films and see him passing on first down–the first quarterback to make it a regular practice.
in the last several years of his life he wasn’t able to sign autographs, but his son David responded to each one, telling fans his father could no longer hold a pen.
He lived out his years on a remote hilltop in Texas, more than willing to greet anyone who could find him, including one Ft. Worth Star-Telegram reporter who told of Baugh’s easy-going nature when it came to making autograph deals.