75 for 75: Bob St. Clair Field

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"75 for 75" is an article series from the 49ers Museum highlighting legendary moments in 49ers history as part of the team's 75th Anniversary celebrations in 2021.

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January 19, 2001

Bob St. Clair enjoyed a storied career at Kezar Stadium. The San Francisco native played in a record 189 games there with three local teams: Polytechnic High School (located directly across the street from Kezar), University of San Francisco and the 49ers. After spending his entire NFL career with the 49ers from 1953 to 1963, St. Clair played 17 football seasons and more games at Kezar Stadium (pro, college and high school) than any other player.

At 6-foot-9 and 265 pounds, St. Clair was a frightening presence at right tackle. He earned five Pro Bowl berths and was a devastating blocker for a series of Pro Football Hall of Fame running backs, including Joe Perry, Hugh McElhenny and John Henry Johnson.

Built in 1925, Kezar Stadium had a number of oddities and St. Clair knew all about them, including the dirt-filled tunnel that led from the locker rooms to the field. He used that to his advantage and shared sage advice with new teammates. 

"Always take the field first," St. Clair said. "You want to kick up plenty of dirt and dust in that tunnel for the visiting team." 

St. Clair's dining habits added to his mystique. He was well known for eating raw meat at lunch and dinner.

"We'd go out to a restaurant and he'd order a steak and tell the cook to just run it over the flame," said McElhenny. "He also ate raw liver. Sometimes when you were sitting with him and he was eating that, it was kind of gross."

San Francisco selected St. Clair in the third round (32nd overall) of the 1953 NFL Draft and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990. In 2001, the City of San Francisco renamed Kezar Stadium's playing surface "Bob St. Clair Field" in honor of its native son.

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