33rd Annual Charity Golf Classic/Gordy Soltau Memorial Tournament and Awards Banquet | June 12, 2015 | TPC Harding Park, San Francisco
Come join us for the 33rd Annual NFL Alumni Charity Golf Classic and Awards Banquet on June 12, 2015 at beautiful TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, honoring San Francisco 49er Dennis Brown and Oakland Raider Lincoln Kennedy. This year’s tournament is also being remembered as the Gordy Soltau Memorial Tournament, in honor of our beloved San Francisco 49er and NFL Alumni Northern California Chapter co-founder Gordy Soltau, who passed away last October.
Honoring the Memory and Legacy of Gordy Soltau (1925-2014)
We lost a pillar of the Northern California NFL Alumni Association, and the at-large community of NFL veterans as well, with the passing of Gordy Soltau last October. Along with his playing excellence as an early San Francisco 49er, not well-known is the critical role that Gordy played in the establishment of a Players Association that would stand up for player rights and benefits.
Gordy’s all around athletic versatility was developed as a youth growing up in Duluth, Minnesota, where he excelled in many sports: football, baseball, track, hockey and skiing. During the middle of World War II, when Gordy graduated from high school, he enlisted in the United States Navy and was part of the Navy’s first class of frogmen (The Navy Seals today) specializing in underwater demolition. He saw action in Europe and behind the lines in the Pacific.
During Gordy’s nine seasons as a 49er, he was the team’s leading scorer with 644 total points coming from 25 touchdowns and 70 field goals. In addition, Gordy led the NFL in scoring twice in 1952 and 1953 and was a three-time All-Pro selection in 1952, 1953 and 1954.
Off the field Gordy was a pioneer in advancing benefits for NFL football players, serving as the first player representative for the 49ers. In 1954, when the NFL was comprised of only 12 teams, many players had grievances with the owners and wanted to start a “Players Association.” The owners objected, even threatening to cut players who participated in this new association. However, in 1954 Gordy was among 6 representatives, one each from 6 of the 12 NFL teams, who held their first meeting in Philadelphia. This was the beginning of an NFL Players Association. Bert Bell, commissioner of the league, was invited but didn’t come. There were three major issues at hand:
1. The league should establish a pension plan.
2. Players should be paid for exhibition games during training.
3. Team owners should provide playing shoes. In 1954, players had to furnish their own shoes.
It took 4 years for the owners to address the issues. It wasn’t until 1962 that the owners put money in a pension plan for players. Over time, the Players Association gradually disintegrated. Then in the early sixties Vic Matland, a close friend to Art Rooney, came up with a plan and the philosophy “Caring For Kids” that owners could live with. The Players Association changed this to “The NFL Alumni Association.”
Gordy played a major role along with Alyn Beals, Eddie Forest, Bruce Bosley and Norm Standee in establishing The Northern California Chapter of the NFL Alumni Association.
In tribute of Gordy Soltau’s service to our country, his dedication to his family, friends and teammates, and his passion for the NFL Alumni’s Caring for Kids mission, there will be a full Honor Guard Flag salute to start the tournament.
This Year’s Player Honorees