Sept. 29, 2008
BERKELEY - Craig Morton, an All-America quarterback for Cal in the early 1960s who set nearly every school passing record during his college career, has been elected to the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame, BASHOF president Thomas Martz announced Sunday.
The Class of 2009 also includes women's tennis legend Billie Jean King, football star Dave Casper and pitching great Gaylord Perry. They will be honored at BASHOF's 30th Annual Enshrinement Banquet on March 9, 2009, at the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco, joining 129 previous enshrinees. The dollars raised by the banquet and other BASHOF activities support "Help Kids Play Sports."
In his senior season at Cal in 1964, Morton earned first-team All-America honors and won the Pop Warner Award as the Most Valuable Player on the West Coast. A three-year starter, he finished his career with 4,501 passing yards, a Pac-8 record at the time and still among Cal's all-time leaders.
Morton was the fifth overall selection of the 1965 NFL Draft, taken by the Dallas Cowboys. He enjoyed an 18-year professional career that also included stints with the New York Giants and Denver Broncos. He remains the only quarterback in league history to start a Super Bowl with two different teams, the Cowboys in 1970 and the Broncos in 1977. In his next-to-last season, 1981, at age 38, Morton passed for more than 3,000 yards and 21 touchdowns.
Morton, now a major gifts officer in the Cal Athletic Development Office, was inducted into both the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame and National Football Foundation Hall of Fame in 1992.
Apart from ranking as the top women's player of her era and winning 12 Grand Slam events, including six Wimbledon and four U.S. Championships, Billie Jean King was an innovative leader in advancing the women's game. She was a major influence in the formation of the professional Virginia Slims Tour and the Women's Tennis Association. In 1973, she campaigned successfully to secure equal prize money for women at the U.S. Open. Her celebrated victory over 55-year-old Bobby Riggs in a $100,000 "Battle of the Sexes" challenge match earned further respect for the quality of women's tennis.
Nicknamed "The Ghost" after the cartoon character also named Casper, Dave Casper played 10 seasons for the Oakland Raiders, establishing himself among the NFL's most dangerous receivers while playing tight end. He made famous the "Ghost to the Post" play with his spectacular catches and was selected to play in five Pro Bowls. He was a member of the Raiders' Super Bowl champion teams of 1977 and 1981, and scored the team's first touchdown on a pass from Ken Stabler in the 32-14 win over the Minnesota Vikings in 1977's Super Bowl XI.
Gaylord Perry began his 22-year major league career with the San Francisco Giants in 1962. Before the decade had ended, he and Juan Marichal had formed a one-two pitching punch comparable to the Dodgers' Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale. Perry's breakout season was 1969, when he finished with a record of 21-8, the first of four 20-plus winning seasons he would enjoy. He won 134 games in 10 years with the Giants, a record second only to Marichal's. Those wins included a no-hitter against the Cardinals in 1968. In his travels after leaving the Giants by trade in 1972, he would win Cy Young trophies in both leagues, accumulate 314 career victories and notch 3,534 strikeouts. Perry was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 1991.
These four athletes were elected by a panel of 70 Bay Area journalists and broadcasters. For reservations and further information on BASHOF's Enshrinement Banquet, please contact the BASHOF office at 415-296-5607 or visit www.bashof.org.