I have a confession to make. The SportsLifer is a closet San Francisco Giants fan. There, it’s out. And I’m not just saying that either.
When I was in fifth grade, my family moved from the suburbs of New York to Daly City, California, outside of San Francisco. We knew the move was temporary. My father, an engineer, was assigned to install a data processing system at a Planter’s Peanuts packaging facility off Highway 101, not far from Candlestick Park.
(Two weeks after the move, parts of the Bay Area, including Daly City, had snowfall for the first time in more than 30 years….but that’s a story for another blog. )
The year was 1962, and the Giants were in a fierce pennant race with their arch-rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Giants and Dodgers, of course, had left New York for the West Coast five years earlier.
The Giants beat the Dodgers in a three-game playoff that year to win the National League pennant and a trip to the World Series. There they faced the Yankees in a thrilling, seven-game classic that wasn’t decided until Giants slugger Willie McCovey hit a vicious line drive right at Yankee second baseman Bobby Richardson with the tying and winning runs in scoring position to end the Series,
Left My Heart in San Francisco
Now I admit I’ve always been a Yankee fan, and was rooting for the Yanks to win that October afternoon at Candlestick Park. But I followed the Giants throughout that 1962 season, and through the years have watched them from afar, silently hoping they would one day win a championship for the beautiful city of San Francisco and for devoted Giants fans everywhere. Tony Bennett would say that I left my heart in San Francisco.
I suppose I first got hooked on the Giants when my father took me to a game at windy Candlestick back in 1962. That day I saw Willie Mays hit a grand slam and Juan Marichal defeat the Cubs. In later years, I saw the Giants earn an Opening Day win at Candlestick against the defending NL champion Padres in 1985, and beat the Dodgers on a chilly May evening several years later.
And I’ve been to the new home of the Giants twice—PacBell, SBC, AT&T, whatever—and saw two historic milestones, Bobby Bonds 500th career stolen base in 2003 (still the only player to hit 500 home runs and steal 500 bases) and Bonds 756th home run that broke Hank Aaron’s record in 2007.
I even saw Bonds hit a titanic three-run homer into the far reaches of the upper deck at Yankee Stadium in 2002. And watched Will Clark belt a pair of home runs as the Giants beat the Braves 23-8 at the old Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta.
Some of my best friends are Giants fans, including Mike, the winemaker, Glenn, a PR colleague, and Vince, a high school buddy. Heck I’m a huge fan of the New York Football Giants. That counts for something.
Oh yeah, almost forgot. I saw the Mets play in one of the original homes of the Giants, the Polo Grounds in New York, back in 1963. Bet I am one of the faithful few left who have seen three of the Giants home ballparks—the Polo Grounds, Candlestick and AT&T Park.
Add it all up, I qualify as a Giants fan. Way to go Giants. Wish I could have been there on Market Street for the parade.