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Throwback Thursday: When Trent Baalke and Jim Harbaugh were hired

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We miss Harbaugh, but let’s bid a ‘solemn’ farewell to Trent Baalke

Yes, bringing up the start of the brief ‘resurgence’ of the San Francisco 49ers is going to have all of you flaming mad in the comments, but it’s being brought up due to the fact that same amount of hope and joy may be returning with the (potential) hiring of Kyle Shanahan and a new GM.

For some reason, this orchestra from the 1995 film Casino seems pretty adequate as I explain this.

in 2010, the San Francisco 49ers exited the season in embarrassing fashion. Picked at the start of the season to win the dismal NFC West, the 49ers came out much to what everyone was used to: flat, inefficient and uninspired. They began by getting destroyed in Seattle, and later had a disturbing Sunday Night Football contest where quarterback Alex Smith was booed heavily and chants of “We want Carr” rang out in Candlestick Park. It all led to the eventual firing of Mike Singletary and the pursuit of Jim Harbaugh.

Harbaugh was but a rumor. There was much speculation he’d be the one to go to the 49ers, however he was busy turning Stanford, another organization that was laughable within the Pac-12 into a feared powerhouse. Before any coach could be hired, 49ers owner Jed York took to the podium to say a general manager would need to be found.

York suggested he’d seek advice from several close to him, including uncle Eddie Debartolo, and shortly thereafter the names flew in. As time went on, rumors surfaced of one name: Trent Baalke.

Already in the organization, Baalke was thought to be a step backwards. Given the 49ers issues for the last few years, hiring within the organization was considered a terrible move. Baalke was hired anyway and the 49ers had a GM.

Next came Harbaugh. Fresh off an Orange Bowl win, Harbaugh was as close to a shoe-in for the job as any coach could have been. The Miami Dolphins tried to sweep in at the 11th hour to lure him away, but with Baalke pitching the 49ers and something great, Harbaugh eventually became head coach and a press conference announced.

Before anyone said anything, this is what was coming out: Baalke would have full control of the personnel and final say of the 53-man roster. Harbaugh would coach. Harbaugh could groom quarterbacks and his background as a player in the NFL would come be invaluable. The press conference answered all of our questions.

Here’s a video of the press conference introducing Baalke and Harbaugh.

And here’s the Niners Nation article with a full transcript.

It was a marriage that seemed to work from the outset. But as time went on things unraveled in explosive fashion. Baalke, York, and Harbaugh all found their relationship in shambles leading to the Big Three’s eventual dismantlement. Starting with ‘mutually parting ways’ with Harbaugh and later Trent Baalke being shown the door.

It should have been so sweet, but in the end, they screwed it all up.