1981

Frank "Frankie" Culling Albert
Frank "Frankie" Culling Albert
Frankie Albert enjoys the distinction of being the first player signed by the San Francisco 49ers for competition in the All-American Football Conference. That 1946 event was preceded by Albert’s starring performance as quarterback for Stanford University. There the triple-threat kicked, passed and ran his way to lead the Cardinals to victory in the Pacific Coast Conference and the Rose Bowl against Nebraska. Named All-American in 1940 and 1941, Albert’s AAFC years brought him many titles and records as will; at the top is his 1948 designation as Most Valuable Player. His total of 108 touchdowns is an AAFC record, and in 1949 he set a single-game record when he threw five touchdown passes against Cleveland. Most thrilling in his three years as the 49ers head coach was the 1957 8-4 season, which brought the 49ers as far as the NFL Western Division Playoffs.
Inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in 1991.
Plaque location: Stanford University
Vernon "Lefty" Louis Gomez
Vernon "Lefty" Louis Gomez
Salt Lake City Bees, 1928
San Francisco Seals, 1929
New York Yankees, 1930-42
Boston Braves-Washington Senators, 1943
Discovered on the sand lots of Richmond High School, 17-year-old "Lefty" Gomez’s next stop was the San Francisco Seals. His pitching debut there was a three-hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Following an eight-game winning streak, Gomez was sighed by the New York Yankees, where his career took off with the same incredible velocity of his famous fastball. Legendary is his unequaled 6-0 record, spread over five World Series. A pinnacle of his 13 seasons with the Yankees came in 1934 when, with his 26-5 record, Gomez led the league. At career’s end, he was more than .500 against every American League rival.
Inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in 1981.
Plaque location: AT&T Park
Robert "Bob" Bruce Mathias
Robert "Bob" Bruce Mathias
Stanford University, 1949-52
On August 6, 1948, 17-year-old Bob Mathias of Tulare High School competed in a grueling 10-event test of heart and muscle to become "the world’s greatest all-around athlete" at the Olympic Games decathlon. Four years later, the stronger and more experienced Mathias became the first ever to win the decathlon twice, setting a world record with 7887 points. Between his victories in London and Helsinki, Mathias competed in track for two years at Stanford University, and finally listened to football coach Chuck Taylor’s imploring to become a running back and kickoff return specialist. In the 1951 game deciding the conference championship, Mathias’ 96-yard kickoff return began Stanford’s victorious comeback.
Inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in 1981.
Plaque location: Stanford University
Francis "Lefty" Joseph O'Doul
Francis "Lefty" Joseph O'Doul
Seals, Yankees, Red Sox, Giants,
Phillies & Dodgers, 1918-34
"Lefty" O’Doul and San Francisco are synonymous. He was born here, raised here, and after 73 years, he died here. O’Doul won two major league batting championships, managed four Pacific Coast League pennant winners, and had 254 base hits with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1929 (a record as yet unmatched by any National League list). As manager of the San Francisco Seals, O’Doul was recognized as one of the finer strategists and talent developers, sending players such as Joe and Dominic DiMaggio and Larry Jansen to the majors. Called Japan’s "Father of Baseball," he brought the game to that country via barnstorming tours in the 1920s.
Inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in 1981.
Plaque location: AT&T Park
Helen Wills Roark
Helen Wills Roark
University of California, 1922-25
Considered one the best women tennis players of all time, "Little Miss Poker Face" began her remarkable career at the Berkeley Tennis Club. From her initial victories there, Helen Wills Roark moved swiftly to international renown, beginning at age 17 on the courts of Forest Hills. Included in her 16 years of conquests are eight Wimbledon and seven U.S. singles titles, 18 Wightman Cup matches, and dozens of other trophies. The first female to receive an athletic letter at the University of California at Berkeley, Roark was eminently responsible for revolutionizing the all-around power game for women.
Inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in 1981.
Plaque location: University of California, Berkeley
© 2008 Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame