March 15, 1937|
|Died:||February 1, 2006
|Height:||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|Weight:||200 lb (91 kg)|
|High school:||Vallejo (CA)|
|NFL Draft:||1959 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2|
|AFL draft:||1960 / Round: 1|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
Born in Georgetown, Mississippi in 1937, Bass moved as a youth with his family in the Great Migration to California, where they settled in Vallejo. He had a brother, professional athlete Norm Bass and a sister, Dorothy. Many migrants from the South were attracted to the jobs in defense-related industries and other opportunities.
Bass played football and other varsity sports for Vallejo High School in the old North Bay League. Bass blossomed as a three-sport star at Vallejo High, where he ran for 3,690 yards and scored 68 touchdowns in 18 games. Bass scored a state-record 37 touchdowns in 1954, when he led the Apaches to an undefeated season at 9-0. The team averaged 54 points per game in 1954.
Bass went on to star at College of the Pacific, now University of the Pacific. Time Magazine described him as a "One-Man Show" in 1958, after he ran for 700 yards in six games to become the season's leading NCAA ground gainer, while passing for the Tigers as well. He was a 1958 All-American. As a senior in 1958, Bass led the nation in rushing with 1,361 yards, including a dazzling display in the season opener in Berkeley, where he gained 215 yards and scored one touchdown in the Tigers' win over a Cal team that would reach the 1959 Rose Bowl. Bass was named to The Pigskin Club of Washington, D.C. National Intercollegiate All-American Football Players Honor Roll.
After being taken by the Rams as the second pick in the 1959 NFL draft, Bass was selected for the Pro Bowl three times, in 1962, 1963, and 1966. He rushed for 1,000 yards in a season two times (1962 and 1966). He finished his career with the Rams in 1969 with 5,417 yards rushing, the most among active players.
Following his retirement, he did some work with the NFL alumni association. He also made appearances in TV commercials. He worked as a color analyst on Rams radio broadcasts from 1977 to 1986. He also worked as executive director of the Greater Norwalk Chamber of Commerce (1990-2004). He died at his home at age 68 in Norwalk, California.
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