Bob Albo had one of the most unique stories in Bay Area athletics. A star in baseball and basketball at Cal, he could have signed with the New York Giants baseball team after graduation but instead decided to pursue a career in medicine. From there he began a long career in sports medicine with the Golden State Warriors, Oakland Raiders, Oakland Oaks and Oakland Seals. This is his story.
Robert James “Bob” Albo was born on May 8, 1932 in Oakland, California but moved to Berkley when he was young. He starred in basketball at Berkley High School where he led the team to the Tournament of Champions title in 1949. He served as president of his senior class and was its valedictorian. After graduation, he decided to pursue pre-med at the University of California, Berkley. Little did he know just how full his life would become.
When Bob Albo arrived at Cal in 1950, he immediately threw himself into academics and athletics. In those days, freshman were not allowed to participate with the varsity, so he waited for his moment to shine on the hardwood in basketball and on the diamond in baseball. As a sophomore in 1951-1952, he averaged 3.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.
He played better as a junior, scoring 8.9 points per game and averaging 7.7 rebounds. A captain as a senior, Albo averaged 11.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. He led the team to a 17-7 record as the Golden Bears
Meanwhile, he was proving to be excellent as a catcher for the baseball team. In his three years on varsity, Cal finished fifth, third and third in the conference standings. When he graduated in 1954, Bob Albo received Cal’s Jake Gimbel Award, given annually to the graduating senior who had the best combination of academics and athletics. Though he was offered a contract with the New York Giants, Albo turned down the offer to pursue a career in medicine. He stayed on as a graduate student for a year and coached the freshman basketball and baseball teams to undefeated seasons. Despite his early success as a coach, Bob Albo still felt that medicine was his calling.
Upon graduation, he enrolled in med school at the University of California, San Francisco. When he graduated in 1959, he stayed on as an intern with UCSF, rising to the ranks of professor of surgery. Eventually, his love of sports melded perfectly with his calling to medicine as he was hired to be the team physician for the Oakland Seals hockey team in the late 1960’s. From there he served as a team physician for the Oakland Raiders and the Golden State Warriors and was with both organizations when they won all of their world championships during that era, even when the Raiders moved to Los Angeles. He was even with the Oakland Oaks of the ABA during their two years of existence. He loved his time with each organization and established roots in the Bay Area, serving as a surgeon in the San Francisco Bay Area for more than 40 years.
In addition to his duties as a team physician for various sports franchises, Bob Albo also served as Chief of Surgery at Summit Hospital, a clinical professor at UCSF and Chief of Surgical Services for student health at his alma mater, Cal. After more than 40 years of service, Bob Albo retired in 2005 and passed away on February 21, 2011.