Former San Francisco 49ers tackle, Bob St. Clair, passed away Monday at the age of 84. A member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame (1990) and the Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. 49ers Hall of Fame (2009), St. Clair spent his entire 12-year career as a member of the 49ers (1953-64).
"With the passing of Bob St. Clair, the 49ers organization has not only lost an all-time great but one of our most ardent supporters," said 49ers Owner and Chairman John York. "One of San Francisco's favorite sons, Bob spent the better part of his life at Kezar Stadium and was quite happy to share memories of his high school days or his 49ers tenure in the beloved venue. I always looked at him as an immortal figure that possessed a tremendous joy for life and all things 49ers. We will continue to celebrate the spirit of Bob St. Clair as we remember all that he brought to this franchise and its fans. Our prayers and best wishes are with his family and friends."
The Hall of Fame offensive tackle was a nine-time All-Pro and was named to the NFL's 1950s All-Decade team.
A Bay Area native, St. Clair attended San Francisco Polytechnic High School and later began his college career at the University of San Francisco, where he remained until the school's football program folded in 1951. He completed his collegiate career at Tulsa and was later selected by the 49ers in the third round (32nd overall) of the 1953 NFL Draft. Interestingly, St. Clair was one of nine players from San Francisco's 1951 team to enter professional football.
St. Clair's illustrious career included five starts in the Pro Bowl and All-NFL selections in nine of his 12 professional seasons. He blocked for the 49ers "Million Dollar Backfield" as QB Y.A. Tittle and RBs John Henry Johnson, Hugh McElhenny and Joe Perry would all be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Popular among his teammates, he was nicknamed "The Geek" as a result of what some considered unusual lifestyle habits, such as eating all of his meat raw.
A three-time team captain (1957-59), St. Clair saw action in 119 games with the 49ers. While St. Clair was an exceptional blocker on offense, he was also used on defense in goal line situations throughout the early portion of his career. He contributed on special teams as well, where he was credited with 10 blocked field goals. St. Clair suffered an Achilles injury prior to the 1964 season and did not appear in a game that year. He subsequently retired.
Following his playing career, St. Clair served as the Mayor of Daly City from 1961-62, a period of great economic prosperity sparked by the construction of Interstate 280 and the related development of the city. When his political career came to an end, St. Clair went to work for Clover, one of the largest milk providers in Northern California, handling sales and public relations.
In 2001, after having played more than 180 prep and professional games in Kezar Stadium, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors named the venue's field in honor of St. Clair. He was born on February 18, 1931.