Worthiest candidate for the 2019 HOF senior committee (Round 3)? It's Baughan

Rick Gosselin

Round 3 of the Talk of Fame Network series of senior polls goes to a linebacker who went to nine Pro Bowls in the 1960s and didn’t even make the all-decade team.

We asked our listeners and readers to vote on this third slate of 10 candidates and former Eagles linebacker Maxie Baughan won by a wide margin with 36.3 percent of the vote. Denver cornerback Luis Wright was next with 20.3 percent of the vote, followed by Raiders cornerback Lester Hayes at 13.7 percent and Steelers defensive end L.C. Greenwood at 11.7 percent.

Colts cornerback Bobby Boyd, Chiefs guard Ed Budde, Packers safety Bobby Dillon, Dolphins safety Jake Scott, Chargers guard Ed White and 49ers wide receiver Billy Wilson all finished with single digit support.

“This third group in the series on senior HOF candidates illustrates the difficulty of the Senior Committee's job,” said Talk of Fame Network host Ron Borges. “Lester Hayes went to five Pro Bowls in 10 years, stuck like glue (literally) to receivers and was an intimdating presence on the corner. He started on two Super Bowl champions and once had 18 picks in a season (13 in regular season and 5 in the playoffs). He had eight interceptions in just 13 playoff games. He is a Hall of Famer.

“Yet he's probably third in my mind just from this list behind Maxie Baughan and my choice, 49ers' wide receiver Billy Wilson. Wilson had more catches than any other receiver in the decade of the 1950s on a team with the "Million Dollar'' backfield that ran the ball twice as often as it threw. Yet he led the NFL three times in receptions, twice catching 60 passes at a time when that was all but unheard of. Hall of Fame coach Don Shula said of him, `He is one of the few players from another era that could excel today.’ Sounds like a Hall of Famer to me. As does everyone on this list!”

But it was Baughan who prevailed in the voting.

A second-round draft pick by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1960, Baughan became a walk-in starter at outside linebacker for an NFL championship team and one of only three rookies selected to the Pro Bowl that season. He would go to the Pro Bowl in five of his six seasons with the Eagles, then was traded to the Rams. George Allen named him as his defensive captain and Baughan would go to the Pro Bowl in each of his first four seasons with the Rams.

There were five linebackers picked to the 1960s NFL all-decade team and Baughan wasn’t one of them, even though he had at least four more Pro Bowl selections than any of the five linebackers chosen. He joins former Steelers linebacker Andy Russell and former Rams quarterback Roman Gabriel as winners in the fist three polls of this senior series.


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