The Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame introduced its newest members Tuesday as former Raiders coach and player Tom Flores, former Stanford and 49ers receiver Gene Washington, former Cal men’s basketball star Kevin Johnson and golfer George Archer were honored at a dinner in San Francisco.
Washington made the NFL’s Pro Bowl four times in his career, and broke reception records for Stanford and the 49ers. He said his induction reminded him of something another NFL legend said.
“Jim Brown said something years ago about athletes being like gladiators, and the older I become, I think the more that’s true,” Washington said. “I must have learned this at Stanford, but I think it was Homer’s ‘Illiad’ or the ‘Odyssey,’ one of the warriors said the most important thing in the life of a warrior was after he was gone, would they call my name?
“So being inducted in to the Hall of Fame here, that takes care of that. Somebody will call my name later on.”
Flores was the first Hispanic quarterback and coach in the NFL, and led the Raiders to two Super Bowl titles as a coach and owns another ring from his playing days with the 1969 Kansas City Chiefs.
He said things have changed a lot since his first game with the Raiders, in 1960 at Kezar Stadium.
“No one even knew who we were,” he said of his early playing days. “We didn’t even have a home in those days, so to be acknowledged enough and honored enough to go in is quite a thrill.”
Archer, who died in 2005, won 12 PGA Tour events, including the 1969 Masters, grew up in San Francisco and often returned to The City with his family while traveling the world as a player. He was represented by his wife, Donna, at Tuesday’s ceremony.
“I think that San Francisco is such a fabulous sports town,” Donna Archer said. “The accomplishments of the athletes in different sports in San Francisco are really amazing when you think about it. And to have George in that lineup, it’s a dream come true.”
Johnson, now mayor of Sacramento, revitalized Cal basketball in the late 1980s, helping the Golden Bears end a 52-game losing streak to rival UCLA and leading them to a postseason berth for the first time in 26 years with berths in the NIT in 1986 and ’87.