Eddie DeBartolo, easily one of the most beloved former owners in all of professional sports was inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame last night. An interesting note is that he's the first non-player/non-coach ever inducted. As 49ers fans, I think it's safe to say we're not surprised. DeBartolo was certainly wildly appreciated during his time as owner, and considering some of the issues of team management in the last decade, he's probably even more appreciated now.
Two nights ago, a "star-studded" private event was held for DeBartolo that saw ALL the greats in 49ers history honoring the man who turned a down-trodden franchise into one of the greatest NFL dynasties of all time. For those interested, there was a Q&A with DeBartolo covering everything from the current 49ers to getting back into ownership to potentially entering Canton some day. I've heard rumors he's been trying to get involved in an LA ownership group, but who knows how that will play out. Even though he was not a player or coach, if he did get back into ownership, it would be odd seeing the 49ers face an Eddie DeBartolo-owned team. In the meantime, he's started a player representation firm among many other things. His firm actually represents DeSean Jackson and 49ers target Gosder Cherilus, so there's a decent chance McCloughan and Nolan could be across the negotiating table from a DeBartolo agent.
It's certainly good to see things working out so well for Eddie DeBartolo, although considering his business and sports successes previously, it's no surprise. DeBartolo will be introducing Fred Dean for the Hall of Fame later this summer and hopefully the near future will see Eddie DeBartolo being introduced by Carmen Policy or one of his former players as a Hall of Fame inductee.