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Hall of Famer St. Clair dies at 84

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Pro Football Hall of Famer and longtime San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Bob St. Clair died Monday at age 84 after a brief illness.

St. Clair spent his entire 12-year career with the 49ers from 1953 to 1964, playing in 119 games. He was named to All-NFL teams nine times and made five starts in the Pro Bowl. In 1990, St. Clair was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“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,” 49ers owner and chairman John York said. “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.”

St. Clair was a Bay Area native who attended San Francisco Polytechnic High School and then played at the University of San Francisco with future NFL Hall of Famers Ollie Matson and Gino Marchetti on a team that went undefeated in 1951 before the school disbanded the program. He then moved on to Tulsa to finish his college career. In 1953, St. Clair was selected in the third round (32nd overall) of the NFL Draft.

With the 49ers, St. Clair played in front of the “Million Dollar Backfield” that included quarterback Y.A. Tittle and running backs John Henry Johnson, Hugh McElhenny and Joe Perry, all of whom were later enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The 49ers also used St. Clair on defense in goal-line situations early his career and on special teams. The 6-foot-9 behemoth was credited with blocking an amazing 10 field goal attempts in 1956.

Nicknamed “The Geek” by teammate Bruno Banducci because of some unusual habits that included eating raw meat, St. Clair suffered an Achilles injury before the 1964 season and retired.

“He came up with that name because there was a film where there was a character in a movie called, ‘The Geek,'” St. Clair said. “They put him in a cage and fed him live animals.”

Off the field, St. Clair served as mayor of Daly City, Calif., in 1961-62 and also on the city council and worked in public relations and sales for Clover, a milk provider in northern California. In 2001, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors named the field at Kezar Stadium, where he played more than 180 high school and NFL games, in his honor.


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