In Hogs Haven's ongoing Memorial Day tribute to all military personnel, we continue this series with a look at Eddie LeBaron, who served both our franchise and country alike with equal parts courage and grit.
The Redskins took Eddie LeBaron in the tenth round of the 1950 NFL Draft. Eddie was an unusual dual-threat in his first three seasons for the team, starting in more than half the games as the quarterback and punter. He even placekicked for the team on his way to winning the 1952 NFL Rookie of the Year. That same season, he served as the back-up quarterback in Sammy Baugh's last year in the Pros.
To this day, he is still the shortest quarterback (5'7") to ever play in the Pro Bowl, earning three berths in his seven seasons with the Redskins. Known more of as a fearless scrambler and ball-handler, his elusiveness and toughness even elicited a grumbling "you little rascal" from Eagles HOF linebacker Chuck Bednarik.
Eddie belongs to the Redskins' Ring of Fame, and was voted in as one of the 70 Greatest Redskins, and subsequently, the 80 Greatest Redskins.
In his seven seasons, Eddie passed for 8,068 yards with a 48.8 completion percentage. He threw 59 touchdowns and 88 interceptions, while running for 480 yards and 8 touchdowns. Eddie also kicked six extra-points in seven attempts (85.7%), and averaged 41 yards over 168 punts.
I would say that Eddie's military accomplishments dwarfed his Pro Bowls and NFL career that took place afterwards. The Littlest General helped earn his nickname by taking charge of a platoon at Heartbreak Ridge when it lost its commanding officer. He was awarded the Bronze Star for this act. In nine months of duty in Korea, he was wounded twice by shrapnel from artillery and mortar shells.
We salute and thank you, Mr. LeBaron, along with all service personnel, both past and present, for providing and protecting the freedom which we live under.