Hall of Famer Bob St. Clair dies at 84


Hall of Fame offensive lineman Bob St. Clair, who spent 11 seasons with the 49ers from 1953 through 1963, has died after a brief illness.  He was 84.

A third-round draft pick (32nd overall) from Tulsa, St. Clair served for three years as a team captain and made it to five Pro Bowls.

He blocked for the team’s “Million Dollar Backfield.”  In 1956, St. Clair used his height to block a whopping 10 field goals.  Those efforts helped qualify him for the All-Decade team of the 1950s.

St. Clair also was once kicked in the face while trying to block a punt by Hall of Fame quarterback Norm Van Brocklin.  St. Clair made the play, but he lost five teeth.

“I went over to the sideline and they shoved cotton in my mouth and until it got so bad I had to take Novocain in my mouth, but I kept playing,” St. Clair said in 2010.

Via his biography at the Hall of Fame website, St. Clair was an unusual character, with habits that included eating raw meat.  Late in his playing career, St. Clair served as the mayor of Daly City, California.

The San Francisco native entered Canton in 1990, as part of the class that included Franco Harris, Jack Lambert, Tom Landry, Ted Hendricks, Bob Griese, and Buck Buchanan.

The last line of St. Clair’s enshrinement speech often pops up in NFL Films productions with this simple message:  “I want to thank you very much for making my day in the sun so memorable.”

Condolences to the family and friends of Bob St. Clair, whose contributions to football at the dawn of the TV era helped make the game what it has become.

15 responses to “Hall of Famer Bob St. Clair dies at 84

  1. RIP to a true football pioneer! Lost 5 teeth and kept playing… They don’t make men like that very often.

  2. St Clair played in the real men football era not today’s soft game.

    I’m amazed because with all the concussions he had he should have been dead 35 years ago.

    RIP my friend.

  3. When Nomelling would decide to play offense as well as defense which he often did, the two made the most feared offensive tackle comb0 in the league. They didn’t mention that St. Clair was 6’9″, 265.

  4. That’s a tall HOF class. Buchanon, Lambert, St. Clair and Hendricks are all exceptionally tall for their positions.

    There are stories about how he used to employ playful little mind games, especially with rookies, just for chuckles.

    As for St. Clair, he was such a colorful personality in all his NFL Films spots, and it was so refreshing to see his pure joy and gratitude at being enshrined. A real good guy.

  5. Met Mr St. Clair as a child, an ambassador and champion of the NFL that help me become a football junkie – made me a 9er fan, till the cancer York showed up –
    Love Ya Kezar & SF 9ers!!

  6. A great at Polytechnic High, the University of San Francisco and the 49ers. A real San Franciscan. RIP.

  7. What a gentleman! Mr St Clair and Mr Nomellini were so special to us kids trying to get autographs. My favorite Niners along with Bryant Young…

  8. Sorry to hear of his passing – he was a fantastic player. RIP Bob, and condolences to his family.

    I will never forget the story of him being invited to the White House after his Hall of Fame induction in 1990. At the dinner for the inductees, the staff brought out his steak raw. Barbara Bush was mortified, and tried to have it taken back and cooked. St. Clair had to explain to her that he asked for it that way.

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