Blog # 14
Eddie Le Baron 1930 - 2015
One of my heroes just died. If you think Russell Wilson is too short for professional football, you don’t know about Eddie. At 5’ 7” and 175 pounds Eddie Le Baron led College of Pacific to an undefeated season in 1949. In his senior year Eddie passed for twelve touchdowns, punted for a forty yard average and intercepted nine passes from his defensive backfield position. He also averaged four yards per carry rushing. Eddie was named to three All American teams and was drafted in the tenth round by the (okay, I’ll say it for historical purposes) Washington Redskins. I saw Eddie play on two occasions when I was an aspiring football fanatic and never saw a more deceptive ball handler.
Before he could play pro ball Eddie went to Korea in 1950 as a U.S. Marine lieutenant. He was wounded twice and awarded a bronze star for bravery under fire and a purple heart.
Eddie played for the Redskins and Calgary Stampeders, and started at quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys during their first three seasons. He rushed for the first touchdown ever scored by the Cowboys. Eddie retired after eleven years as a pro quarterback. He was all-pro in four of those years.
During his off-seasons Eddie studied Law and practiced law after retiring from football. He became an NFL general manager and led the Atlanta Falcons for several years. When I saw the obituary I remembered that at one time professional athletes routinely served during wars and conflicts. Ted Williams, Moe Berg and Eddie come to mind. The sharing of the pain of military service by a cross section of our population is extremely rare today.