Five dif­fer­ent paths to great­ness bring these cham­pi­ons to­gether

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - SPORTING GREEN - By Matt Kawa­hara

Har­ris Bar­ton didn’t ex­pect to be drafted by the 49ers. He worked out for plenty of other teams be­fore the 1987 NFL draft. And his visit with then-49ers of­fen­sive line coach Bobb McKit­trick, who came to see him at the Univer­sity of North Carolina, was dif­fer­ent.

“We walked around cam­pus,” Bar­ton re­called last week. “I showed him the li­brary, the Dean Smith au­di­to­rium. Ba­si­cally that was it.”

But the 49ers did draft Bar­ton, with that year’s No. 22 over­all pick, and the right tackle went on to play 10 sea­sons for them — mak­ing a Pro Bowl, pro­tect­ing two Hall of Fame quar­ter­backs and win­ning

three Su­per Bowl rings.

Bar­ton, 54, will be in­ducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame on Mon­day. It’s an­other un­ex­pected de­vel­op­ment, he said, made sweeter by the com­pany he keeps in the 2018 class.

“I re­mem­ber watch­ing Matt Cain’s per­fect game,” Bar­ton said. “I re­mem­ber what Brandi Chas­tain did for women’s sports all around the coun­try.

“I re­mem­ber Tim Har­d­away and the War­riors, when they weren’t the War­riors. And John McVay ac­tu­ally drafted me at the 49ers. It’s quite an honor to be in­volved with those four.”

Here’s a closer look at this year’s in­ductees:

Matt Cain: That Cain’s in­duc­tion comes less than eight months af­ter he pitched in his last ma­jor-league game re­flects the right-han­der’s im­pact on the Giants and their three-World-Se­ries-ti­tles-in-fiveyears run.

Cain was 20 when he reached the ma­jors in 2005. From 200613, he av­er­aged 32 starts and 209 in­nings. He pitched 211⁄3 in­nings with­out al­low­ing an earned run dur­ing the 2010 post­sea­son, and started all three se­ri­esclinch­ing games when they won an­other ti­tle in 2012.

On June 13, 2012, Cain pitched the 22nd per­fect game in MLB his­tory in a 10-0 win over the Astros at AT&T Park. His 14 strike­outs that night marked a ca­reer high.

“I think the big­gest thing is I was ex­tremely just in the mo­ment,” Cain said last week. “It was just one of those days where you were as even-keel as you could be. I was kind of along for the ride, it felt like.”

Cain ranks among the top 10 Giants pitch­ers in starts (331) and strike­outs (1,694) and is one of four play­ers to play at least 10 years in the ma­jors all with San Francisco.

“I think be­ing away from it has made me re­al­ize how dif­fi­cult the game is, and how much I ap­pre­ci­ate the years I had my health and all of that,” Cain said. “It was tremen­dous times.”

Brandi Chas­tain: She was orig­i­nally a for­ward in a dec­o­rated col­lege ca­reer at Cal and Santa Clara and was part of the U.S. Na­tional Team that won the in­au­gu­ral Women’s World Cup in 1991.

But she was cut from the na­tional team be­fore the 1995 World Cup. And when she was in­vited back, it was as a de­fender.

“In that mo­ment I had to choose,” Chas­tain said. “Do I have per­sonal pride and say, ‘No, this is who I am, I’m a for­ward and a goal-scorer,’ or did I want to be on the team? I wanted to be on the team. And I fig­ured I could use my ex­pe­ri­ences as a for­ward to help me as a de­fender.”

Chas­tain went on to win two Olympic gold medals, a silver medal and an­other World Cup with the U.S. team. And she be­came an iconic fig­ure — by scor­ing a goal.

Af­ter mak­ing the gamewin­ning penalty kick in the 1999 World Cup fi­nal at the Rose Bowl, Chas­tain re­moved her jer­sey and sank to her knees in cel­e­bra­tion.

“The mo­ment was pure joy,” Chas­tain said. “It was ela­tion, it was in­san­ity, it was re­lease that the game was fi­nally over and we had won. It was a pose of con­fi­dence and ac­knowl­edg­ment that this was a life spent do­ing some­thing that had been achieved.

“Now, I hope that what it gives peo­ple is a picture of what the pos­si­bil­ity could be.”

Tim Har­d­away: Grow­ing up in Chicago, Har­d­away played a lot of one-on-one bas­ket­ball — which meant plenty of con­tact and no ref­er­ees.

“You had to de­velop a move to get open and get a clean shot,” Har­d­away said.

Har­d­away’s move was the cross­over drib­ble. In five-plus sea­sons with the War­riors, it helped him make three All-Star teams and two play­off ap­pear­ances. Listed at just 6 feet and 175 pounds, Har­d­away got to 5,000 ca­reer points and 2,500 as­sists faster than any other NBA player ex­cept Os­car Robert­son.

With Golden State, Har­d­away was the “T” in coach Don Nelson’s fast-paced, high-scor­ing “Run TMC” of­fense. The trio of Har­d­away, Chris Mullin and Mitch Rich­mond spent only two sea­sons to­gether but left an im­pres­sion on War­riors fans. Mullin and Rich­mond will present Har­d­away at Mon­day’s cer­e­mony.

“With how much fun we had, how much ca­ma­raderie we had, it was a fam­ily,” Har­d­away said. “The way we played, peo­ple loved to see that. Don Nelson still doesn’t get enough credit for how the game has evolved to­day. That’s how we used to play back then.”

John McVay: In 1979, McVay joined the front of­fice of a 49ers team that had gone 2-14 the pre­vi­ous sea­son. In McVay’s first draft, the 49ers were eye­ing a quar­ter­back from Notre Dame: Joe Mon­tana.

With Mon­tana still avail­able in the third round, McVay placed a call to Ir­ish as­sis­tant coach Jim Gru­den, a for­mer as­sis­tant of McVay’s at Day­ton (and fa­ther of now-Raiders head coach Jon).

“I said, ‘We’re look­ing at Mon­tana.’ He’s not real big, but he’s very, very pro­duc­tive,’” McVay said. “I said, ‘What do you think about him?’ And (Gru­den) says, ‘Just take him.’ ”

The en­su­ing 49ers dy­nasty would be led by play­ers McVay’s front of­fice drafted (Mon­tana, Jerry Rice, Ron­nie Lott) or traded for (Steve Young). With the 49ers, McVay won five Su­per Bowl rings.

McVay played cen­ter in col­lege at Miami (Ohio). But he grav­i­tated to­ward coach­ing, in­flu­enced partly by play­ing for both Woody Hayes and Ara Parseghian at Miami. He was the head coach for Day­ton and for two-plus sea­sons with the New York Giants be­fore join­ing the 49ers as an ex­ec­u­tive.

“When I came here I said to my­self, ‘I prom­ise the coach is go­ing to have good play­ers,’ ” McVay said. “‘And hope­fully, if I can do a good job, he’ll have more good play­ers than he needs.’ ”

Har­ris Bar­ton: McVay used his first-round pick in 1987 on Bar­ton and says now: “I think it turned out great.”

Bar­ton started 134 games for the 49ers at right tackle, in­clud­ing a stretch of 89 straight. He was named an All-Pro in 1992 and 1993 and made the 1993 Pro Bowl.

The job of pro­tect­ing Mon­tana and, later, Young fell to an of­fen­sive line that in­cluded Bar­ton, Steve Wal­lace, Jesse Sapolu and Guy McIn­tyre. All won at least three Su­per Bowl rings.

“All guys that were con­sis­tent,” Bar­ton said. “We took a lot of pride in the way we op­er­ated and the way we worked and how hard we pre­pared. And we did it as a unit.”

As cham­pi­onship mem­o­ries go, Bar­ton’s fa­vorite is his first: Jan. 22, 1989, a 20-16 win over the Ben­gals, with Mon­tana cap­ping the game-win­ning 92-yard drive with a 10-yard touch­down pass to John Tay­lor — a drive that be­gan with Mon­tana at­tempt­ing to calm Bar­ton by point­ing out co­me­dian John Candy in the stands.

“Ev­ery time I watch that NFL Films high­light, I keep wait­ing for (Tay­lor) to drop it,” Bar­ton said. “But he never did. And he still hasn’t.”

Ge­orge Rose / Getty Images

Har­ris Bar­ton won three Su­per Bowl ti­tles with the 49ers, pro­tect­ing both Joe Mon­tana and Steve Young.

Michael Ma­cor / The Chron­i­cle 1994

Join­ing for­mer 49ers of­fen­sive line­man Har­ris Bar­ton in the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame will be (clockwise, from top left) Matt Cain, Brandi Chas­tain, Tim Har­d­away and John McVay.

Noah Berger / Spe­cial to The Chron­i­cle 2011

Lacy Atkins / As­so­ci­ated Press 1999

Lance Iversen / The Chron­i­cle 2012

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.