Joe Perry Enshrinement speech
Josephine Morbito (presenter):
I should like also to thank the people of Canton for your superb hospitality. It has truly been a football weekend to remember.
Like so many who have become great in a particular endeavor, Joe Perry might well have been outstanding in a completely unrelated field, had Had not World War II and the guiding hand of fate changed the circumstances that were to lead to the gridiron immortality. His first love was music and his chosen profession was to be engineering. And his first athletic triumphs were in track and field. He also was a fine basketball, baseball player and really embraced with football only on the sly because his mother had vetoed the sport because of the dangers that were involved. Once she had seen him play, she relented and became one of his staunchest fans.
Joe played at Compton Jr. College before entering the United States Navy. It was there that he was discovered by one of the 49er players, a John Woudenberg, tackle in the early years of '46 and '47. He quickly told the front office of course of his find.
There was a great deal of speculation as to whether a boy who had not played college ball would be good. But it did not take very long before we realized that that was not necessary at all; he showed very soon after putting on his San Francisco uniform. Joe became known as "The Jet" and he played pro football 16 seasons, 14 of them with the 49ers. The highlights of the most impressive statistical record is the fact that he gained 9,723 yards rushing, more than any other player, but one.
Now, Joe continues to serve as assistant coach and we in San Francisco are most proud of him, he deserves the best which he is receiving this weekend, for he never gave anything less than all of himself which was the best of all the years that he was with us.
Now generally you prepare for an occasion like this, well, I think I've been preparing for like five or six months. Each time I would write something, I would tear it up.
I think on an occasion like this it can only come from the heart. My only regret is that two people, my mother and Tony Morabito are not here to accept this for me today.