As Frank Baur looks back on the year he went from All-America
quarterback to just a name on the waiver wire, he can find some
solace in what he thought was the worst day of his life. Baur
vividly remembers the morning in August 1990 when, as an
undrafted rookie quarterback in the New York Giants' training
camp, he was summoned to coach Bill Parcells's office. "Frank,
you have the size, strength and ability," Parcells told Baur.
"All you need is some experience, and behind Phil Simms and Jeff
Hostetler, you won't get it here."
A year earlier the 6'5", 214-pound Baur had, with Lou Holtz and
Ernie Davis, adorned the cover of SI's college football preview.
Coming off a terrific junior season at Lafayette (he'd thrown
for 2,621 yards and 23 touchdowns, and led all NCAA divisions in
passing efficiency), SI predicted he "could be one of the top
three quarterbacks taken in next spring's NFL draft." But after
being cut by the Giants, he was crushed. Crying throughout the 1
1/2-hour drive home to Wilkes-Barre, Pa., "I even had the guys
in the tollbooths in tears," says Baur.
Though Baur was plagued as a senior by tendinitis in his
throwing elbow, he still passed for 2,177 yards and 15
touchdowns and earned a trip to the Hula Bowl. "During practice
before the Hula Bowl I tried to throw a deep in-cut, and the
ball just died at the receiver's feet," says Baur. "I got
labeled as a guy who didn't have any zip on my ball."
In 1991 Baur was selected by the San Antonio Rough Riders of the
World Football League but injured his right shoulder in training
camp and never played a down. In '92 he signed with a minor
league team that folded before its first game. Between '92 and
'95, still clinging to his dream of playing in the NFL, Baur
worked odd jobs while serving as the off-season quarterback for
a pair of fellow Wilkes-Barre natives: the Ismail brothers,
Raghib and Qadry. In '95, at age 30, Baur gave up his dream of
playing pro football.
Now 33, Baur works as an investment operations analyst for
Franklin Mutual and resides in Andover, N.J., with his wife,
Cheryl, and their 18-month-old daughter, Julia. On his way to
work Baur passes by the fields at Fairleigh Dickinson where the
Giants trained nine years ago. "At first it was hard to let go,"
says Baur, who will be inducted into Lafayette's Hall of Fame in
November, "but every time I drive by those fields I think back
to the time when I was a Giant for a few weeks. I got a shot
that not a lot of people had."
COLOR PHOTO: RON KINMONTH (COVER)
COLOR PHOTO: CHUCK SOLOMON
Driving home after the Giants cut him, "I even had the guys in
the tollbooths in tears," says Baur.