The Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame on Friday announced its 2019 inductees.
The glittering selections from all corners of the sports spectrum include Dave Dravecky, Brad Gilbert, Jason Kidd, Keena Turner and Tara VanDerveer.
They need no introductions. But let’s do it anyway.
Dravecky pitched in the major leagues for eight years, helping the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants to postseason berths in 1984, 1987 and 1989. However, he is best known for a wrenching misfortune that came his way after the 1988 season.
Doctors discovered cancer in the deltoid muscle of his left (pitching) arm. The cancer, and half the muscle, was surgically removed. A doctor told him, “Outside of a miracle, you’ll never pitch again.”
Dravecky had to try. He missed the first four months of the 1989 season rehabilitating his arm. Incredibly, he returned to the Giants in August, beating the Reds with a huge Candlestick Park crowd roaring its approval. Unfortunately, his next game was his last. Throwing a pitch, the humerus bone in his arm snapped. He was not able to continue his career. Worse, in 1991, his left arm and shoulder had to be amputated. His faith and positive attitude has made him a fan favorite to this day.
Gilbert, born in Oakland into a tennis family, won the U.S. Amateur Hard Court Championship while attending Foothill College in Los Altos. At Pepperdine, he became an All-American. He turned pro in 1981. Gilbert — whose sister Dana played on the WTA Tour and whose brother Barr played in college — reached the quarterfinals in two Grand Slam events, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, in 1987. He won a bronze medal at the 1988 Olympics, then peaked with a No. 4 ATP ranking in 1990.
He represented the U.S. in Davis Cup competition, logging a 10-5 record.
He retired from competitive tennis in 1994, but was hardly idle. He coached Andre Agassi to six Grand Slam championships. Agassi called Gilbert “the best coach of all time.”
Jason Kidd was a basketball prodigy, picking up the game after playing soccer as a youngster. “As an eighth-grader, Jason Kidd was the talk of the town,” his high school coach Frank LaPorte told the San Francisco Chronicle. “He did things out there that even amazed (college) coaches.” Kidd took St. Joseph (Alameda) High School to two state championships.
The USA High School Player of the Year, Kidd surprised and disappointed legions of college recruiters with his decision to play at Cal. His first season (he was the national Freshman of the Year) he took the Bears to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16. As a sophomore, he helped Cal to its second consecutive NCAA appearance.
The Dallas Mavericks selected him second in the 1994 NBA draft, birthing a remarkable 19-year pro career: co-Rookie of the Year, five-time assist leader, 12-time All-Star, nine-time selection to the all-defensive team, and at age 37, an NBA championship with Dallas. In addition he won two Olympic gold medals with the U.S. team. He topped off his basketball odyssey with five seasons as a head coach.
Kidd was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018.
Keena Turner arrived in the Bay Area at a fortuitous time. Drafted by the 49ers in the spring of 1980, he joined a team that was about to become a powerhouse.
Born in Chicago, Turner played college football at Purdue, leading the Boilermakers in tackles for loss three consecutive seasons. He was making a name for himself as 49ers coach Bill Walsh was aching for defensive stalwarts. He selected Turner in the second round of the 1980 draft.
From his right outside linebacker position, Turner had two interceptions as a rookie. The following season he helped the 49ers win their first Super Bowl.
Smart, hard-hitting and durable, Turner missed only two games in his first seven seasons. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1984, when he and the 49ers earned their second Super Bowl victory. He played 11 seasons and wound up in a select club — he, Ronnie Lott, Joe Montana, Mike Wilson and Eric Wright are the five men who played on all four 49ers’ Super Bowl victories in the 1980s.
It’s difficult to tell which is more remarkable, Tara VanDerveer’s longevity or her ceaseless success. In 39 years as a college coach, she has won 1,036 games (884 during her 32 seasons at Stanford), two NCAA championships, 30 NCAA Tournament berths, 22 Pac-12 regular season titles.
A Boston native and a graduate of Indiana University, VanDerveer coached the U.S Olympic team to the gold medal in 1995-96, going undefeated in 52 exhibition games as well as the eight Olympic contests.
She has been national Coach of the Year four times, and has been Pac-12 Coach of the Year 15 times. GoStanford.com notes that VanDerveer has more victories to her credit than 341 of the country’s 349 women’s basketball programs. Amazing.
The inductees will be honored May 2 at the 40th Annual Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame Enshrinement Banquet at the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco.
The Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, was founded in 1979 by the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce’s Sports Committee and Lou Spadia, former president of the San Francisco 49ers. BASHOF has donated more than $4 million to more than 600 youth sports programs in the Bay Area.
Presenters for the honorees are:
Dravecky : Mario Alioto (Giants)
Brad Gilbert: (TBD)
Jason Kidd: Gordie Johnson (former coach of St. Joseph Notre Dame)
Keena Turner: (Eddie DeBartolo, Ronnie Lott, Joe Montana, 49ers)
Tara VanDerveer: Kate Payne (Stanford assistant coach)
To attend the event, contact Anthony Savicke (firstname.lastname@example.org)