A short story about Bob St. Clair, Andre Rodgers and Elvis records


Last week’s column on Bob St. Clair and the undefeated 1951 University of San Francisco football team — “The Best Team You Never Heard Of” according to the ESPN documentary showing this month — generated a lot of email and phone calls from readers who remembered St. Clair or that Dons team. Or had a father who did.

My favorite story was Herb Pousman’s.

Herb is 80 years old, retired, and has been living in Las Vegas for 14 years. When he was younger, he grew up in South Philadelphia — which has a certain amount of mean streets — and later owned a record shop there called the Blue Note. This would have been the late 1950s.

One day, when Bob St. Clair was in town because the 49ers were playing the Eagles, he and a couple of teammates — John Henry Johnson and Charlie Powell — came into the Blue Note looking for jazz records. Herb said he can vividly recall St. Clair reaching to the tallest shelf to pull down a certain jazz record because Bob. St. Clair stood 6-foot-7 and didn’t need a ladder.

Anyway, word must have spread around the league(s) that Herb Pousman stocked a lot of jazz and other records that were hard to find because during baseball season, when the Giants were in town to play the Phillies, Andre Rodgers came in.

Rodgers was a shortstop, the first ballplayer from the Bahamas to play in the big leagues, and he was an Elvis Presley fan. He came into the record shop with a familiar-looking teammate looking for Elvis records.

Before they left, Andre Rogers and his teammate said they would leave tickets for the record-shop owner and his wife at Connie Mack Stadium.

The next day before the game started, Herb Pousman said Willie Mays came over to where he and wife were sitting and said “Say, Hey!”