Because we can only make fun of professional athletes for so long, here’s our preliminary list of the coolest Bay Area sports figures … leave your nominations.
10. Dale Davis: Now, choosing a “cool Golden State Warrior” is kind of like choosing an intelligent quote by George W. Bush; there just aren’t many options. With that said, Dale Davis was pretty badass scary. Our buddy B summed up Dale Davis best when he described him as “walking onto the floor like he’s wearing a beanie and has an AK-47 in one hand and a pistol in the other.” Plus, Davis totally got tasered by the cops.
9. Steve Young: He was the toast of the town. Actually, he probably still is (who comes close nowadays?). Everyone knows the story. Star quarterback, a well-spoken lawyer, good looking and single and to top it all off, he’s left-handed.
8. Tom Tolbert: He’s just like the guy next door. Except really tall and bald and probably reasonably wealthy by this point in his broadcast career. But what other KNBR guy would you willingly sit next to on a long airplane ride? Don’t say Rick Barry. Actually, how many Hall of Famers can say they are dorky like Rick “Fanny Pack” Barry? Our guess: not many.
7. Eric Byrnes: OK, Byrnesie doesn’t count as an answer to the KNBR question above. A Bay Area native and reckless outfielder, the former Oakland Athletic had a huge following while he played here. When he signed with the DBacks this winter, we’re pretty sure that a lot of Giants fans were left wondering why the Giants didn’t make a run at the hometown kid. But it’s ok. The Giants got Ryan Klesko. He runs. Sometimes.
6. Dusty Baker: C’mon, you gotta love the wristbands, sunglasses and toothpicks. Now, we loved Felipe Alou as much as anyone, but Dusty would have never escaped to the clubhouse for a glass of Merlot. He was too busy with his patented double-fist-pumps-into-the-air.
5. The A’s mid-90s clubhouse fraternity: Remember when Barry Zito, Jason Giambi, Eric Chavez, Mark Mulder and company were all the best of buds? No one played the boisterous underdog role better than those A’s teams. They even all lived in the same house. The locker room, blasting rock and roll, was full of fun-loving guys with long hair and scruffy beards.
4. Tyrone Hill: Just kidding. We’ll get to the ugly list next week.
3. Benito Santiago: The only catcher to date to consistently throw runners out from his knees. And the dude was suave. We heard stories about Benito washing his Hummer in the driveway of his house on the Peninsula. That’s normal enough, we suppose. But he washed his car every week, wearing only denim short shorts. Su-ave.
2. Ronnie Lott: He was one of the greatest, toughest Niners ever. His Super Bowl hit on Ickey Woods remains epic. But he reached elite levels of coolness during the 1985 season, when he decided to have his left pinky finger amputated rather than have surgery and miss some games. Now that’s a gamer.
1. Will Clark: What can you say about The Thrill? The sweetest swing in the game, the eye black, the country accent, the personality, the talent, the clutch ability. Will Clark was the guy on the late 80s-early 90s Giants teams. Mr. Clark, we salute you as the coolest guy. Maybe ever.