560 KSFO Radio
Baltimore Colts vs. San Francisco 49ers
Sunday, December 8, 1957
Featuring Bob Fouts and Lon Simmons
1957 was a watershed season for the San Francisco 49ers. On October 28, team founder and co-owner Tony Morabito died from a heart attack while watching his 49ers play the Detroit Lions at Kezar Stadium, a game San Francisco came from behind in to win. On November 10, the team lost, 37-24, to the Rams before the largest crowd to ever witness a pro football game, as 102,368 fans looked on at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Entering the final three weeks of the season, the Niners’ record was 5-4, with three Western Conference rivals — the Rams, Colts and Lions — battling them for the championship. In week ten at Yankee Stadium, the 49ers held off the New York Giants, 27-17, then returned home for a crucial home contest against the Baltimore Colts.
The Colts, led on offense by quarterback Johnny Unitas, running backs Alan Ameche and Lenny Moore, and end Raymond Berry, and with a bruising defense that featured Ordell Braase, Art Donovan, Don Joyce, Gene “Big Daddy” Lipscomb and Gino Marchetti, were an up-and-coming force in the NFL.
The 49ers, coached by Frankie Albert, were quarterbacked by Y.A. Tittle, with Hugh McElhenny and Joe “The Jet” Perry in the offensive backfield, and Billy Wilson and rookie R.C. Owens as the key receivers.
The number one draft choice for the 49ers in 1957 was quarterback John Brodie from just down the road at Stanford. While content to sit on the bench during most of his rookie year as Tittle’s backup, Brodie would nonetheless play a pivotal role for his team on this particular Sunday.
We join the action in progress through the facilities of 560/KSFO and the Golden West Radio Network, with a bit more than four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and the Colts leading the 49ers, 13-10. At the mike are Bob Fouts (father of future 49ers ball boy and NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts) and Lon Simmons, newly arrived at KSFO from KMJ in Fresno. Simmons plays backup to Fouts in 1957 before taking over the lead radio play-by-play spot, a job he would hold until KSFO lost the team’s broadcast rights to KCBS in 1980.
This portion of the broadcast, covering about twenty-six minutes in real time, includes several edits and audio dropouts during Baltimore’s final possession but captures each of the plays from scrimmage.
Without giving away the dramatic ending of today’s game, we’ll leave you with the news that the 49ers close out the season the following week with a 27-20 home win over the Green Bay Packers to finish with eight wins and four losses, good enough to tie Detroit for a share of the Western Conference title.
In a playoff at Kezar to determine who would go on to face the Cleveland Browns for the NFL championship, the Lions rallied past the 49ers, 31-27, after trailing 27-7 in the third quarter.
FOR YOUR LISTENING PLEASURE…
Colts vs. 49ers (December 8, 1957; 19 mins.):