Here are the first times Bay Area sports legends were covered in the Chronicle

The athletes who make headlines today often started out as side notes in the stories of yesterday.

Joe Montana was not the biggest name the 49ers drafted in 1979 – James Owens of UCLA was. Montana answered questions in the Chronicle about his “erratic play” at Notre Dame after the 49ers drafted him over Stanford’s Steve Dils in the third round of the 1979 draft – this was a questionable decision at the time. (Though the idea that Walsh had to be talked into drafting Montana is a myth.)

“I may have a habit of getting a little lazy until things start to go wrong,” Montana said in May 1979. “Then I concentrate.”

That quote was in one of the first stories the Chronicle wrote about Montana.

We took a look back in the archives and dug up the first time the paper wrote about a variety of local sports legends – amateur and professional. Read through our slideshow to see them all.

Some of the first mentions were prescient, some were ironic, and some – in the cases of Steph Curry and Joe DiMaggio – required pronunciation guides and spell checks.

ALSO: San Francisco firsts: All of the city’s surprising historic moments

We mainly stuck to staff stories about the athletes, though in some cases wire reports were included too.

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