The San Francisco Bay Area is known for many things—some good and some bad unless you happen to be a resident of these parts.
In that case, there is no bad...just good, better, and seismic.
We've got the Golden Gate Bridge, the beautiful San Francisco Bay, the equally picturesque Oakland Hills, the two major earthquakes (1906 and 1989), the Gold Rush, the hippie histories penned in equal parts by activists in Berkeley and free-lovers in the Haight-Ashbury, and other landmarks of the architectural/natural/historical variety.
However, the figurative and literal landscape has never been known as a particularly sporting one.
This despite boasting six franchises from the four major American leagues—the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics from MLB, the 49ers and Raiders from the NFL, the Golden State Warriors from the NBA, and the San Jose Sharks from the NHL.
Nevertheless, the Bay Area isn't known as a breeding ground of legendary sports figures or a place steeped in athletic lore.
Which seems absurd when you group our best athletes together.
Before we get to the list, though, the criteria bear mentioning. Not in hopes of stifling disagreement, but for peace of mind.
What follows are the greatest 100 athletes to ply their trades in the Bay Area, ranked in order according to a highly subjective mix of (A) sheer ability; (B) personal and team achievements; (C) what he or she meant to the locals; (D) what he or she meant to a specific sport; and (E) the intangible factors that endear certain people to a city's population.
Full disclosure—these qualifiers give a substantial advantage to the San Francisco franchises where the market is split due to the dominance of the Giants' and Niners' over said market.
With those caveats on the table, let the carnage begin: