When the 49ers are mentioned, there is no doubt that names like Montana, Rice, Young, Brodie, Tittle, Lott, and Clark are at the height of conversation. Joe Montana is the face and name of the 49ers after leading them to four Super Bowl titles during the 1980s.
But what about the men who played key roles in San Francisco’s success over the years, but who might not ever set foot into the NFL Hall of Fame unless they show up unannounced? Which players would make the list of the "San Francisco 49ers' Best Players Without a Bust" (Hall of Fame bust, that is!)?
Here is a look at San Francisco “greats” who are long overdue for some recognition.
Gene Washington, WR, 1969-77
When you think of great San Francisco receivers, Jerry Rice, Dwight Clark, and John Taylor immediately come to mind. Washington, though, is a receiver who contributed greatly to the team’s success during his tenure.
Although he isn’t in the NFL Hall of Fame and doesn’t have his number retired, he finished his San Francisco career with 60 touchdown receptions and gained almost 7,000 yards.
Freddie Solomon, WR, 1978-85
Much like Washington, Solomon was a steady performer for the 49ers over his eight-year stint with the team. Solomon was on the “glory” teams in the early '80s when Montana emerged as the savior of the franchise.
Solomon was durable, dependable, and ended his San Francisco career with 371 receptions, 5,846 yards, and 48 touchdowns. Those numbers might never get his number retired or land him in the HOF, but his contributions to the 49ers can’t go unnoticed.
Ray Wersching, K, 1977-87
It’s hard to believe that the man who is the second-leading scorer in San Francisco history doesn’t have his number retired with the franchise, but such is the case with Wersching. He leads the franchise in career field goals (190) and extra points (409), and he is second in career points to Jerry Rice with 979. Not bad for a guy who looked like he should be a baker or a pizza maker, not a kicker.
Kermit Alexander, DB, 1963-69
Ronnie Lott gets all the San Francisco love when it comes to defensive backs, but Alexander is someone who deserves accolades of his own. Lott is the career leader in interceptions for the 49ers with 51, but Alexander isn’t far behind with his total of 36. Alexander is also the career leader in fumbles recovered for the 49ers (23).
Garrison Hearst, RB, 1997-2003
Joe Perry and Roger Craig have more total career rushing yards for the 49ers than Hearst. However, a little-known fact about Hearst is that he is the all-time leader in rushing yards per game for San Francisco. Hearst averaged 75.3 rushing yards in every game that he played for the 49ers, which blows the doors off comparable figures posted by Perry (55.7) and Craig (58.4).
Hearst rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his first three seasons with San Francisco.
Jeff Garcia, QB, 1999-2003
Garcia will never be mistaken for Montana or Steve Young, but he succeeded Young in 1999 and went on to post very solid numbers for the 49ers over the next five seasons. Garcia ranks fifth in career wins for the 49ers behind Montana, Young, John Brodie, and Y.A. Tittle. Anyone who can be mentioned in the same breath with those impressive quarterbacks isn’t half bad.
For his San Francisco career, Garcia completed 61.4 percent of his 1,449 completions and threw for more than 16,000 yards.
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