The Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame inducted four new members Thursday, welcoming Tim Brown, Walter A. Haas Jr., Brent Jones and Dave Righetti to their ranks during a dinner at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco.
Righetti was born and raised in San Jose, but spent 11 of his 16 seasons on the East Coast with the New York Yankees. He came back to the Bay Area to pitch for both the A’s and Giants before ending his playing career in 1995. In 2000, he rejoined the Giants as the club’s pitching coach just as they moved to what is now AT&T Park on the shores of McCovey Cove.
Thirteen years and two World Series championships later, Righetti is still going strong as he mentors one of the best pitching staffs in baseball, and he said making a name for himself in the Bay Area has been a huge thrill.
“When I left all the guys my age were [Joe] Montana and [Ronnie] Lott and all those guys,” he said. “[They were] becoming mega stars in that era, and Chris Mullin of course. They pop into your head and you think, hey I want some of that, too, in a sense. And to be able to be part of that and to be here in the Bay Area with that makes me feel good.”
Jones also grew up in the Bay Area, in Santa Clara, and attended Santa Clara University before being drafted away from home. He was picked by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1987 draft, but he was traded to the 49ers before playing a game for the Steelers and spent his entire 11-year career in red and gold.
He made the Pro Bowl four times and won three Super Bowls with San Francisco. He had a hard time picking just one highlight from his time as a player. One recurring experience stuck out in his mind, however.
“The thing that I miss the most is being introduced and running out onto the field for a home playoff game,” he said. “Where it’s so loud you can’t hear yourself think. To know the relationships with the fans and your friends and your family and just the goose bumps that you get, that’s the one thing that you can’t replicate with anything.”
Brown was picked in the first round of the 1988 NFL Draft by the Raiders, and spent 16 of his 17 years as a pro with the team, both in Los Angeles and Oakland. He made nine Pro Bowls while scoring 105 touchdowns. He currently has the fifth-most receiving yards for a career with 14,934 and is fifth all-time in receptions with 1,094.
Haas, the great-grandnephew of Levi Strauss, was born in San Francisco and purchased the A’s in 1981, at a time when there was a chance the team might leave Oakland. He oversaw a period of success for the A’s in which they won five division titles and the 1989 World Series.