Sat, 23 Oct 2021

75 for 75: First 49ers Touchdown

San Francisco 49ers
21 Sep 2021, 05:44 GMT+10

Joe Hession

"75 for 75" is an article series from the 49ers Museum highlighting moments in the team's history as part of the franchise's 75th Anniversary celebrations in 2021.

-- September 8, 1946

Running back Len Eshmont scored the 49ers very first regular season touchdown in an unconventional fashion.

Playing in front of 35,700 fans at fog enshrouded Kezar Stadium in an All-America Football Conference game, the 49ers jumped out to a 7-0 lead over the New York Yankees early in the first quarter. They posted the first score in franchise history with an offbeat 66-yard play that began with a short pass from quarterback Frankie Albert to running back John Strzykalski. San Francisco Examiner Sports columnist Prescott Sullivan described the memorable touchdown to his readers in his own unique prose.

"It went this way: From his own 34-yard stripe, Albert wheeled back and whipped a flat pass to the chesty Johnny Strzykalski. The latter grabbed it on the 40 and then lateralled the hide to the fleet-footed Len Eshmont, who with the aid of some key blocking by (wide receiver) Alyn Beals went galloping down the north sideline another 60 yards to pay dirt."

Kicker Joe Vetrano added the point-after-touchdown, but that was San Francisco's only score. New York tallied three unanswered touchdowns to outlast the 49ers 21-7.

In 1957, Eshmont died unexpectedly at the age of 39. Later that season, the 49ers established their most prestigious honor, the Len Eshmont Award, presented annually to the player who best exemplifies Len's "inspirational and courageous play," a fitting tribute to the man who scored the 49ers first touchdown.

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