SANTA CLARA -- Bob St. Clair, the 49ers hall-of-fame tackle who devoured raw meat and defensive lineman with equal gusto, died Monday in Santa Rosa at age 84. According to the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, St. Clair suffered complications from a broken hip he sustained on Feb. 24 at his home.
The towering offensive lineman -- he stood 6-9 and weighed 265 pounds -- blocked for the famed backfield of Joe Perry, John Henry Johnson, Hugh McElhenny and Y.A. Tittle, each of whom was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
St. Clair followed them, reaching the hall in 1990.
"Just getting nominated was a tremendous honor, " St. Clair told The Bee. "But the biggest thrill for me about this whole process is that my old teammates - Y.A. Tittle, Hugh McElhenny, Joe Perry and Leo Nomellini - made a big pitch in my behalf."
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Perry and Johnson passed away in 2011.
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,” owner John York said in a statement. “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 nicknamed "Geek" because of his odds habits, including eating raw meat, which he began doing as a child. St. Clair once said his grandmother would give him scraps of the meat she'd prepare for dinner.
“She’d be chopping pieces of chicken or meat and she’d throw pieces to me and the dog, and I would fight over it,” he told 49ers.com in 2010.
From that point on, St. Clair preferred his red met uncooked and reveled in the way his habit would intimidate teammates.
"I would eat it raw, preferably cold, and those guys would always move away from me when I was eating," he said.
Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at sacbee.com/sf49ers.