My annual Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame ballot arrived and this one didn’t have a lot of headline grabbers but enough to make it tough. I could pick a maximum of two in any category.
Gary Payton, among the best defenders ever in NBA history, was easy. So was wrestler Mark Schulz, Olympic and World Champion.
Football was a hard-to-figure category, with seven names, six of them 49ers: Eric Wright, John Taylor, Guy McIntyre, Brent Jones, Randy Cross and Carter. The other was Flores, who coached two Super Bowl winners with the Raiders, was a Raider assistant on another SB winner and Kansas City’s Super Bowl quarterback. Flores was an easy pick, too.
But the six 49ers? Taylor caught the winning pass in Super Bowl XXIII and made Jerry Rice’s life a lot easier. Wright was a shut-down corner. McInytre was an offensive lineman, stout but unspectacular. Jones was the Niners’ prototype pass-catching and blocking tight end. Cross was great at center and guard when the 49ers weren’t great in the late ’70s.
But I selected Carter because he very likely was the most unheralded and unappreciated 49er from 1984-92. Teams didn’t try to move the ball up the middle with Carter at the nose tackle. He was unspectacular except for that one pass interception he returned for a touchdown, like a redwood tree thumping down the field. Carter was truly an defensive anchor that allowed Lott and his buddies to poach passes and runs.
Carter won’t get the BASHOF nomination, however, for his sensational yet quiet play. He didn’t catch the ball or run with it, except for that rumble.