Pro Football Hall of Famer and legend died on Monday at the age of 84.
St. Clair, a 6’9” offensive tackle was an anchor of the 49ers from 1953 to 1963. His size, speed and toughness made him one of the most agile and effective blockers on both running and passing plays. He also was used on goal line defenses and on special teams where his height helped him block field goals. St. Clair blocked an incredible 10 field goals during the 1956 season.
“Bob was a true hero of the game and represented the many great values that the game teaches. He was a dedicated teammate, a true competitor, and a passionate and caring leader, to his community as well as his team.” stated Hall of Fame President David Baker. “We are deeply saddened by his passing but he will be forever remembered in Canton as one of the all-time greats of the Game. All of us who love the great game of football stand on the shoulders of men like .”
His larger-than-life personality and a penchant for eating raw meat earned him the nickname “The Geek.” In a 2000 online chat on the Hall’s website he explained how the moniker came about.
“Because of my eating habits! There was a movie that came out with Tyrone Power where he was locked in a cage and called ‘geek.’ They used to throw live chickens in there and that's where it came from,” he responded to a fan’s question. He then added, “However, I only let my friends call me that!”
St. Clair was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame as an “old-timer” in 1990 after more than two decades of eligibility. Soon after his election, he convinced Hall officials to change the term “old-timer.” The category was renamed and remains known as the Seniors category. Current bylaws stipulate a senior as a player who finished his career more than 25 years ago.
St. Clair had the unique distinction of playing his high school, college, and pro football career in the same stadium. San Francisco’s Kezar Stadium was his home field throughout high school at San Francisco Polytechnic High School, while at the University of San Francisco, and throughout his entire 11-year career with the 49ers after the club selected him in the third round of the 1953 draft.
The longtime 49ers captain had an intimidating presence on the football field that helped him earn first- or second-team All-NFL acclaim nine times and elected as a starter in five Pro Bowls.
St. Clair’s football career was cut short after he battled back in 1963 to recover from an Achilles tendon tear only to suffer a second injury to the tendon.
Following his career, he used the same traits like commitment, integrity and excellence for a successfully career in business. He also served as the mayor of Daly City, California.
A thankful and appreciative St. Clair shared his emotions on the Hall’s front steps during his enshrinement in 1990. He closed the memorable speech by thrusting his fist in the air and exclaiming, “I want to thank you very much, all of you, for making my day in the sun so memorable!”
St. Clair recently had another “day in the sun” when he and teammates Hugh McElhenny and Y.A. Tittle were presented with their new Hall of Fame Ring of Excellence during an on-field halftime ceremony at Levi’s Stadium this past November. VIDEO: 49ers legends receive new HOF ring>>>
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