Rest in Peace Cleveland Elam

Sad new that Cleveland Elam passed away. He was part of a short-lived but great defensive line in the late 70s that was nigh unstoppable. He, along with Skip Vanderbundt, Cedrick Hardman, and Tommy Hart formed the Gold Rush. A defensive line that waylaid opposing QBs at will. In 1976 he had 17.5 sacks, and was part of the Ram game that Tommy Hart recorded 6 sacks in one game. The team ended up with 10 sack that game. He had 4 strong years with the Niners and got hurt in Detroit, which cut his career short.

Other than that, I’m out of town for the weekend. Pismo Beach! Taking the dirt bikes out for fun while my wife works.


About unca_chuck

Lifelong SF 49ers and SF Giants fan
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49 Responses to Rest in Peace Cleveland Elam

  1. unca_chuck says:

    Woo hoo . . . !

  2. Del Mar Dennis says:

    My early years with Moms at the ‘Stick were during the “Gold Rush” heyday. I was taught at an early age that “Defense wins Championships.” As much as I like to “Throw the goddamn ball” on every single down, I’m a defensive guy at heart. Always have been. It’s no coincidence that Ronnie Lott is my all-time favorite Niner. Love Ronnie. Used to wear his #42 jersey to the games at the ‘Stick…

  3. Del Mar Dennis says:

    I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but one more time isn’t going to hurt…The night I broke my left hip and was carted off in the ambulance to Doctors Hospital I was wearing, you guessed it, My red #42 Ronnie Lott jersey.

    Being the wise ass that I am, I’m sure I fibbed and told at least one hospital worker that I broke my hip making a bone-crushing tackle out on the field. That sure sounds a helluva lot better than the truth — falling down in the bathroom.

  4. phil fan says:

    I didn’t know much about football or the Niners back then but remember the Gold Rush and name of Skip Vanderbundt for some reason. Prolly because they were able to put the hurt on the Rams regularly. Anything from LA I hated. Still do come to think of it

  5. phil fan says:

    Maiocco had this to say about Goldson recently in evaluating the safeties:

    Locks: Donte Whitner, Dashon Goldson, C.J. Spillman.
    Looking good: Trenton Robinson, Colin Jones.
    Work to do: Cory Nelms, Michael Thomas, Mark LeGree, Ben Hannula.

    It’s tempting to put Goldson on the “looking good” list because if he does not sign his one-year franchise tender through several weeks of training camp and Spillman looks good, the 49ers could pull the $6.212 million tender. Of course, that’s a long shot. Jones’ special-teams ability makes him a favorite for a roster spot.

    I wouldn’t fuck with Baalkebaugh if I were him. They already yanked 22.5 Mil off the table. Can Goldson rally be that stoopid? Why yes he is. Moron

  6. Grumpy Guy says:

    I would not count out Thomas, at least for the practice squad, and maybe not even for the 53.

    Vanderbundt was not flashy, but he was good. We had some good LBs behind our front four: Vanderbundt, Frank Nunley, Dave Washington, and Willie Harper. More guys that we could play. The DBs, apart from Jimmy Johnson, were a little shakier. Mel Phillips was a damned good strong safety, but injury-prone. Bruce Taylor at CB was pretty good, but suffered in comparison to JJ. Free Safety and depth were sketchy at best. But overall our defense was really good in ’76. But our O-line was a patchwork after I believe 4 guys went on IR in training camp, and Plunkett got the hell beat out of him. We lost Willie McGee, our number two WR, to a horrific broken leg. And our kicker was just dreadful. Missed field goals cost us 3 or 4 games that year.

  7. Nipper says:

    You guys have memories like Elephants.

  8. rtfirefly says:

    Playing opposite Jimmy Johnson must have been a real nightmare. I remember him recalling his career with a remark like, “I was bored. No one would throw at me.”
    I remember the Gold Rush, Nunley and Vanderbundt. Two NFC Championship games, not the Ring but still a great team there for awhile.

  9. Grumpy Guy says:

    I remember reading somewhere that one year in the sixties, QBs over the course of the season threw into Jimmy Johnson’s area of responsibility just twice a game on average, something around 28 times all year – and completed something like 9 or 10 of them. IN A SEASON. And had several picked off. That dude was unreal. The original shutdown corner. And unlike Princess Deion, he could tackle too. Even later, when he was older, smart QBs went to the other side. Kermit Alexander was not terrible and neither was Bruce Taylor – but throwing at Johnson was a fool’s errand.

  10. Grumpy Guy says:

    Amusing Tebow news: he is the latest to travel to Dagobah and train with Jedi Master Tom House.–nfl.html

  11. unca_chuck says:

    Suck the big one he will . . .

  12. phil fan says:

    As I mentioned before I’m no gambler but found an article about how pro gamblers do it in sports. Something of interest for Flavor maybe:

  13. Berger says:

    Unca Chuck thinks Nate Scierholtz is a piece of shit. Unca is a piece of shit. Unca is a stuid man!

  14. snarkk says:

    I thought VanderBundt was a linebacker?…

    • Grumpy Guy says:

      Yeah, He was an OLB, started outside opposite Dave Washington in ’76 with Nunley in the middle. Willie Harper struggled through some injuries and did not get his starting job back until around ’78 I think. Pretty solid foursome there.

  15. unca_chuck says:

    And you can fix his swing. Bergs? Schierholtz is doing what this year? .250? Oooooh. He should be MVP. He;s barely a 4th OFer. Tell me more about his stance that you can fix. In fact why ain’t you Tom House, fixing Alex Smith’s footwork and Nate the Late’s swing instead of being a crackhead cracker in Reno? Your bullshit is laughable.

    • Berger says:

      How did Nate do this week-end? I made a positive comment about Nate. You made a petulant, shoot from the hip remark to debunk what I said. Then Nate had a great series. You got what you deserved. Get over it.

    • Berger says:

      BTW, Nate fixed his own swing. I doubt you noticed but he completely rebuilt his swing recently and has become a power hitter. Last year he dove for a ball while in a hot streak. He tried to play through it but ended up still injured at the end of the year. It killed his numbers.

  16. phil fan says:

    Rip job from the Chuckster. This must be spillover from Flavor’s One Flap Down blag…

    I like Flav but beesball leaves me cold. So no opinion to throw on da fire.

    Bergs I like too but hope to whip his butt in the Fantasy League comin’ up…

  17. Berger says:

    You going to Squaw Valley the next 4 Tuesdays? Starting a week from Tuesday the line up will be 7/31 – Guitar Shorty, 8/7 – Jimmy Thackery, and 8/14 – Coco Montoya. All shows are 6 – 8:30 and free. If you show up we can further discuss hitting technique!

  18. unca_chuck says:

    Was that injury retroactive to 2010? His breakout year batting .242?

    Wow. One good day = 5.5 years of mediocre? Wow. Man-crushes can be hard on some folks, I suppose. You can’t quit him, can you?

    If he has turned a corner, great. I reserve judgment based on one game. We’ve been down the road with Nate before. gets hot off the bench, they try to play him full time, and he goes 3 for August. If he was consistent, he would be a starter. Blanco and Pagan are both slumping as well, so he’s getting a look. He may stick, or he may revert to his usual swinging at pitches that hit his back foot.

    • Berger says:

      The swing and misses that used to hit him got him in the thigh. That was his old punch and Judy swing. He developed a power swing last year. If Nate has had a problem, it is he gets himself hurt crashing into walls and diving for fly balls. He then tries to play through it but usually ends up on the DL. If he can stay healthy, for once, I think he is our starter in RF.

  19. unca_chuck says:

    No, Nate gets hurt playing baseball for extended amounts of time. What happened in June? Still working on that power swing? Was he hurt then? 10 K’s and 6 hits? .183?

    He’s a streaky guy. Like Blanco and Pagan. They are all interchangeable at this point. None of them have shown enough consistency to be a starter. But both Blanco and Pagan have had more success than Nate. The year, and previous years.

    • Berger says:

      I’m looking at some stats and it says here he hit .250 in June. Problem is he slumped the month before and was only given about 30 ABs for two straight months. Here is a major difference between you and I, you rely on stats while I see an emerging player. Since I was an excellent hitter when I was young I do know how to break down a swing. For years I was mad at the Giants management for allowing some of our long armed hitters to stand on the plate. Nate was one of those hitters. It was just bad coaching. I doubt you stat guys noticed it even happening.

      • unca_chuck says:

        Stat guys? Gawwwwd. You are deluded as well as ignorant. Must be cool living in rose-colored glasses all day. The power of Bergs! Like I said, if you are all that as a coach, what the fuck are you doing in Reno?

  20. snarkk says:

    My point about Vanderbundt was he wasn’t a DLman, so he wasn’t technically part of the “Gold Rush”. That was Hardmann, Elam, Webb, and Hart, according to my extensive research, as well as memory, fading as it is…

  21. unca_chuck says:

    My memory’s a bit faded as well. I thought he played DE and Hart was the LB . . . but I could be confusing him with Harper . . .

  22. Berger says:

    The D-line was Hardmann and Hart at DE. Elam played DT and DE. Webb was a DT. Vanderbundt was defitely a LB, along with Wilcox and Nunley. I’m talking 1976, not sure what year you guys are musing? Two of my all time 49ers were on that defense, Wilox and Johnson.

  23. unca_chuck says:

    IIRC, Wilcox was retired by 76. He was bad-ass. This came up in reference to Cleveland Elam and his 4 season with the Niners. 75-78 if I ain’t mistaken.

  24. Berger says:

    You might be right about Wilcox. They had some guy named Washingon who I don’t remember too well. I’ll be right back, I’m going to go look it up.

    Yep, you nailed it. Wilcox retired after the ’74 year. It was Dave Washington. I don’t remember anything about him.

  25. unca_chuck says:

    Jimmy Johnson was nearly done by then as well. I think his last year was 76. Seeing him play with casts on both hands, and teams still wouldn’t throw to his side was nuts. He was the best cover guy hands down.

  26. unca_chuck says:

    Not like Bergs likes yours, Nipper.

    • phil fan says:

      Famous quote: “What did the inventor of the cotton gin (harvester) Eli Whitney say when he was drunk?”

      Answer; “Keep yer cotton pickin’ hands off my gin!”

  27. phil fan says:

    The blog’s warming up fer another season. Blogmeister’s well rested; some of the usual suspects are coming back around.

    Here we go…

  28. unca_chuck says:

    New post new post new post

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