LeBaron on a 1953 Bowman football card
|Date of birth:||January 7, 1930|
|Place of birth:||San Rafael, California|
|Date of death:||April 1, 2015(aged 85)|
|Place of death:||Stockton, California|
|Height:||5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)|
|Weight:||168 lb (76 kg)|
|High school:||Oakdale High School|
|NFL draft:||1950 / Round: 10 / Pick: 123|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
Edward Wayne LeBaron, Jr. (January 7, 1930 – April 1, 2015) was an American football quarterback in the 1950s and early 1960s in the National Football League for the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys. He played college football for the College of the Pacific. He also was an executive vice president of the NFL's Atlanta Falcons.
LeBaron was born in San Rafael, California and graduated from Oakdale High School in Oakdale, California, before moving on to the College of the Pacific (now the University of the Pacific) as a 16-year-old.
He played college football under Amos Alonzo Stagg and Larry Siemering from 1946 to 1949, lettering all four years and achieving All-American honors as a senior, after his team registered an undefeated season (11-0), led the nation in total offense (502.9 yards a game) and set an NCAA single-season record of 575 points. He was a two-way, 60 minute player, as a quarterback on offense, safety on defense, and punter on special teams. He also played one year of baseball as a catcher.
He left the school after re-writing many of the football records: career touchdowns (59), touchdowns in a season (23), longest punt (74 yards), most yardage off interception returns in a game (119), most times leading the team in total offense (3).
LeBaron was commissioned in the Marine Corps reserves while in college and served as a lieutenant in the Korean War after graduation. He was wounded twice and was decorated with the Purple Heart. For his heroic actions on the front lines, he was awarded the Bronze Star. Due to his diminutive size, 5 feet, 7 inches, and leadership skills from his military service, he was sometimes known as the "Littlest General".
In 2008, he was inducted into the United States Marine Corps Sports Hall of Fame.
Washington Redskins (first stint)
He returned to the NFL in 1952 after a two-year commitment to the United States Marine Corps as a lieutenant, when he was discharged after being wounded in combat. He replaced future hall of famer Sammy Baugh in the starting lineup after the fourth game and received All-Rookie honors at the end of the season. The next year he was limited with a knee injury and also shared the starting position with Jack Scarbath.
Calgary Stampeders (CFL)
In 1954, the Canadian Football League raided the NFL talent to improve its level of play. LeBaron signed with the Calgary Stampeders along with his Redskins teammate Gene Brito, because his college coach Larry Siemering was named the team's head coach. He registered 1,815 passing yards, 8 touchdowns and 24 interceptions during the season. He also played defensive back and punter. He decided to return to the NFL at the end of the year, after the team fired Siemering.
Washington Redskins (second stint)
On December 9, 1954, he re-signed with the Washington Redskins. In his seven seasons with the Redskins he started 55 of a possible 72 games at quarterback (he played in 70 of those 72 games). He was also the primary punter for his first three seasons with Washington (punting 171 times for a total of 6,995 yards in five seasons). He was the league's top-rated quarterback in 1958. He announced his retirement to focus on his law practice at the end of the 1959 season.
After not being able to participate in the 1960 NFL draft during their inaugural year of existence, the Dallas Cowboys traded their first round draft choice in the 1961 NFL Draft to the Washington Redskins in exchange for Le Baron, convincing him to come out of retirement to become the franchise's first starting quarterback. He started 10 of 12 games in 1960, with rookie Don Meredith and Don Heinrich starting the other two. He also scored the Cowboys' first-ever touchdown in their first exhibition game against the San Francisco 49ers, on August 6 in Seattle. He set a record for the shortest touchdown pass in league history, with his throw to receiver Dick Bielski from the 2-inch line against the Redskins on October 9, 1960.
LeBaron started 10 of 14 games in 1961, with Meredith starting the other four. He only started five games in 1962, splitting time with Meredith. He started the first game of the 1963 season, but was replaced permanently by Meredith for the rest of the season.
He retired at the end of 1963, after playing 12 seasons, throwing for 13,399 yards and 104 touchdowns and being selected for the Pro Bowl four times in 1955, 1957, 1958, and 1962. He is the shortest quarterback to ever be selected to the Pro Bowl. He was also known as an elusive scrambler and great ball-handler.
LeBaron became a football announcer for CBS Sports after his NFL career, and worked as an announcer from 1966 to 1971. He had obtained a law degree during his off-seasons from football, and practiced law after his football career. He was also the general manager of the Atlanta Falcons from 1977 to 1982 and executive vice president from 1983 through 1985. LeBaron was an avid golfer and continued to play golf in his retirement.
He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1980, into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in 2004 and was a charter inductee into the Sac-Joaquin Section Hall of Fame in October 2010. He died on April 1, 2015.
- "Eddie LeBaron". National Football Foundation. Retrieved October 19, 2013.
- "Whatever happened to... Eddie LeBaron". Washington Redskins. Retrieved October 19, 2013.
- "FOOTBALL AND AMERICA: The Korean War". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
- Eddie LaBaron. - Pro-Football-Reference.com.
- 1960 Dallas Cowboys: Passing. - Pro-Football-Reference.com.
- 1961 Dallas Cowboys: Passing. - Pro-Football-Reference.com.
- 1962 Dallas Cowboys: Passing. - Pro-Football-Reference.com.
- 1963 Dallas Cowboys: Passing. - Pro-Football-Reference.com.
- "Top 10 Moments in the Giants-Cowboys Rivalry". The New York Times. Retrieved October 19, 2013.
- "THE NFL ON CBS ALL-TIME ANNOUNCERS LIST (Year-By-Year)". CBS Express. Retrieved October 19, 2013.
- "Whatever happened to... Eddie LeBaron". Washington Times. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
- "Greatest Redskins". NFL.com. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
- "Hall of Fame Inductees". Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved October 19, 2013.
- "Sac-Joaquin Section announces inaugural Hall of Fame class". The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved October 19, 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Eddie LeBaron.|
- Eddie LeBaron at Pro-Football-Reference.com
- LeBaron in The Korean War
- From War Hero to NFL QB, Eddie LeBaron Had A Successful Journey
- Gallery of Eddie LeBaron football cards