September 4, 1989
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�-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."