The 23rd inductee into the Edward J. DeBartolo Sr., San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame was honored numerous times over the weekend by the five-time Super Bowl champion franchise.
A weekend of festivities was put together to combine the team's annual Alumni Weekend and Hall of Fame celebrations. Players and coaches from various decades all were represented in honoring the remarkable career of one of the most versatile and talented players in 49ers history, Gordy Soltau.
"I think it's so important to understand the history of the team and all the great players all the way back from Gordy Soltau to the guys who are here now," CEO Jed York said at the team's Saturday night HOF induction dinner presented by Devcon Constuction Inc.
Soltau, a three-time All-Pro and Bowler from 1951-53, led the 49ers in scoring for all nine of his seasons with the franchise.
Because of his success both on and off the field, the 49ers were proud to honor such a classy individual and talented player.
In turn, Soltau enjoyed his weekend-long celebration which included a Friday bocce ball tournament with fellow 49ers alumni, a Saturday night private dinner and a halftime celebration speech during last Sunday's 49ers game.
"It's awfully exciting," Soltau told TV49 at his induction dinner. "It's great to see a lot of old teammates. Doing this at the same time as alumni week really puts the frosting on the cake."
York was quick to point out the numerous accolades Soltau accomplished in both his personal and professional careers. http://blog.49ers.com/2012/10/15/gameday-story-original-throwback/ The 49ers select HOF members who displayed outstanding contributions to the team's success and embodied the spirit and essence of the proud franchise.
Soltau fit the bill perfectly.
"When he retired, he had the most points in 49ers history (644)," York said. "You look at the things he's done for the NFL – starting the alumni chapter in the Bay Area, just all the things he's been a part of – he's helped the 49ers grow throughout the decades."
The weekend was especially moving for 49ers Vice President of Football Affairs, Keena Turner, an 11-year veteran linebacker who won four Super Bowls with San Francisco.
"It's exciting for us to welcome back our illustrious alumni group," said Turner, who oversees the team's Player Engagement Program and also works in tandem with former teammate, Guy McIntyre, San Francisco's Alumni Relations Director. "We never have enough of them; I wish we could get them all back."
The alumni festivities were well-attended by the team's former players, a group that included Hall of Fame tackle Bob St. Clair, a six-year teammate of Soltau.
Perhaps no player was more outspoken about Soltau's inclusion into the HOF than St. Clair, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, who was known for his blocking, both on offense and on special teams when he blocked several field goal attempts during an 11-year career with the 49ers.
"This is what Gordy so well deserves," said St. Clair, who wore his red 49ers HOF blazer to the evening dinner. "Gordy Soltau should have had it immediately. Of course the 49ers Hall of Fame has only been in existence for a few years, but Gordy was so well-deserving. He was a leader."
St. Clair referenced Soltau's willingness to kick extra points and field goals as one of the many reasons his former teammate belonged amongst the 23 HOF members. St. Clair also praised his former teammate for being the first ever President of the NFL Alumni Association's San Francisco chapter.
St. Clair even recalled what made Soltau great as a kicker, a position not many of his peers would dare try in the 1950s.
"He wasn't a side-winder like a soccer kicker – he kicked straight ahead," St. Clair said of Soltau, a player who caught 249 passes for 3,487 receiving yards and 25 touchdowns to go with 70 made field goals.
"He very seldom missed," St. Clair added.
The 49ers, themselves, didn't miss with Soltau's inclusion in the HOF.
With the Soltau's addition, the 49ers have highlighted the team-first play that makes San Francisco a special place to play.
"There aren't many people who embody the 49ers like Gordy does," York said.
Players who have recently wrapped up their playing careers appreciated those contributions from players like Soltau in the 1950s, too.
"We all respect each other," former Pro Bowl and Super Bowl champion defensive tackle Dana Stubblefield said.
The recent retirees all understand what it means to be all about the team, something Soltau was certainly known for during his proud career.
"That's just what being a part of the 49ers is – it's being one of those guys who will do whatever it takes to get the job done and win a football game," Stubblefield said.
The future home of the San Francisco 49ers has been selected as a finalist to host Super Bowl L in 2016. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell revealed the news on Tuesday, saying the new Santa Clara Stadium is vying with South Florida to become the site of the NFL's 50th Super Bowl.
The announcement was well-received by 49ers Chief Executive Officer Jed York, who has spearheaded the team's effort to open the new Santa Clara Stadium next to team headquarters in time for the 2014 season.
"We are excited to bid for the first Super Bowl in the Bay Area since January of 1985," York said in a statement. "Nothing brings a region together like a Super Bowl. Now we have to work together to show the new stadium in Santa Clara will put on a great show."
The Bay Area hasn't hosted a Super Bowl since the 49ers defeated the Miami Dolphins 38-16 at Stanford Stadium in Super Bowl XIX.
The Bay Area and South Florida will present their bids for Super Bowl L at the NFL owners' meetings in May 2013, before a vote is held to pick a winner. The runner-up of the Super Bowl L vote will then contend with Houston to become the site of Super Bowl LI.