In 2009, the San Francisco 49ers established the Edward J. DeBartolo, Sr. 49ers Hall of Fame, automatically inducting all players enshrined in Canton or those who had their jersey retired. In 2010, Jerry Rice and the Morabito brothers were inducted. Rice was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010, and had his jersey retired the same year, thus delaying his enshrinement in the 49ers Hall of Fame for one year. In 2011, the 49ers inducted Roger Craig and R.C. Owens.
Now that we are past the automatic entrants, in order to be considered for induction, candidates "must have displayed one or more of the following qualifications: outstanding production and performance on the field, key contributions to the team’s success, and/or the embodiment of the spirit and essence of the San Francisco 49ers."
In looking at the current 49ers, there are plenty of players that could find themselves in the mix for a spot in the team Hall of Fame after they retire. Patrick Willis and Frank Gore would appear to be virtual locks to earn entry into the 49ers Hall of Fame. Justin Smith has been a dominant force on the 49ers defensive line for the last four seasons. If he can get another couple years of dominance, he would seem to be a strong candidate.
Vernon Davis would seem to be building a very solid case for induction. He is climbing the 49ers all-time charts, sitting 12th in receiving yards and ninth in receiving touchdowns. He is 1,392 yards back of Brent Jones on the tight end list and two touchdowns ahead of him. It is not an easy comparison given the differences of their teams, but it still tells us something.
It's a bit harder projecting some of the younger guys, although NaVorro Bowman got off on the right foot last season. Who do you see on the current 49ers emerging as candidates for the team Hall of Fame? Any sleepers?