I heard on the radio that yesterday, February 12, was the 75th Anniversary of the very day that George Preston Marshall moved his Boston Redskins NFL franchise to Washington, D.C. That might be the most important day in the local history of the 20th Century.
The District’s fathers would love to see Daniel Snyder move the team to DC. Financial, political and traffic issues are obstacles enough to hinder the effort, but the ex-mayor (of all people) does not help the cause when he tweets that the team sucks. smh on that one.
Washington was a baseball town with the Nationals’ (Senators’) Walter Johnson dominating the field. The Nats won their first of two straight World Series appearances in 1924 when they beat Babe Ruth and the New York Yankees. Washington blew a 3-1 Series lead in 1925 and lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Senators fell on hard times the following decade. The 1937 campaign was their third losing season in four years.
The Redskins took the town by storm, winning the NFL title under Hall of Fame coach Ray Flaherty and led by Hall of Fame player Turk Edwards and rookie sensation Sammy Baugh who was an outstanding defensive back and punter. Baugh was a pretty good quarterback, too.
Nearly a century later, the Washington Capitals are setting up to do to the Redskins what the ‘Skins did to the Nationals—give the locals something better to cheer for.
Washington might be fighting back. For only the second time in his ownership, Daniel Snyder left his front office set-up intact for a third season. Despite on field results and dumb quarterback decisions, the Mike Shanahan-Bruce Allen team brought good structure to the team’s contracts and they have made astute roster moves in 2010 and 2011. This will pay off with a competitive team. I’m not guaranteeing Super Bowls until they find the next Sammy Baugh.
Michael Richman, the Redskins Historian, wrote the story of the 1937 championship game with the Chicago Bears that appeared February 10 on Redskins.com. Richman is the author of The Redskins Encyclopedia.
Local blogger and sportswriter Rich Tandler penned a book about the team, The Redskins Chronicle, A Journey of the History of the Washington Redskins 1937-2008.
And no, I was not compensated to plug these books. Both are in my personal library, however.
Go take a look. We’ll be here when you get back.
Top – World Champion Washington Redskins, Wikipedia Commons
Inset – An aerial view of traffic jam on 14th Street and Wall, Washington, DC, 1937, from Historic Photos Documenting the Evolution of Transportation in Cities.