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Candlestick Park

By Wikipedia

Candlestick Park (colloquially, The 'Stick) is an outdoor sports and entertainment stadium located in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. Through various naming rights deals with corporations, it has been called 3Com Park, and, most recently, Monster Park. Bay Area residents have continually called it Candlestick regardless of what announcers and sportswriters have been forced to call it.

At a glance...
Facility statistics
Location 602 Jamestown Avenue
San Francisco, California
Broke ground 1958
Opened April 12, 1960
Last Giants Game September 30, 1999
Replaced Seals Stadium
Replaced by Pacific Bell Park (Giants, 2001)
Owner City of San Francisco
Operator City of San Francisco
Surface Bluegrass (1960-70)
Artificial Turf (1971-78)
Bluegrass (1979-)
Construction cost $15M
Architect John Bolles
Candlestick Park (1960-1995; 2008-)
3Com Park (1995-2002)
San Francisco Stadium at
Candlestick Point (2002-2004)
Monster Park (2004-2008)
San Francisco Giants (MLB, 1960-2000)
San Francisco 49ers (NFL,1971-)
Oakland Raiders (AFL, 1961)
Seating capacity
43,765 (1960), 42,553 (1961), 42,500 (1965),
58,000 (1972), 59,080 (1975), 58,000 (1976),
62,000 (1989), 58,000 (1993)
Football: 70,207
Left Field - 330 ft
Left-Center - 397 ft
Center Field - 420 ft
Right-Center - 397 ft
Right Field - 330 ft
Backstop - 73 ft

Left Field - 335 ft
Left-Center - 365 ft
Center Field - 400 ft
Right-Center - 365 ft
Right Field - 335 ft
Backstop - 65 ft
Foul Territory - Very large

The stadium is situated on the western shore of the San Francisco Bay. Due to its location next to a hill, strong winds often swirl down into the stadium creating interesting playing conditions.

The surface of the field is natural bluegrass, but from 1971 to 1978 it was replaced by artificial turf.

Fierce Winds

Mark Twain has been attributed as saying "The coldest winter I ever saw was the summer I spent in San Francisco." And that was before the Giants resorted to giving out pins to fans who stayed until the bitter (cold) end of an extra inning game (the pins, which were first distributed during 1983, read "Vini, Vidi, Vixi" - "I came, I saw, I survived"). Even in the summer, when it was 90 degrees just 35 miles south in San Jose, a jacket or even something heavier was often needed at Candlestick.

As a baseball field, the stadium was best known for the windy conditions that often made life difficult for outfielders trying to catch fly balls. During the 1961 All Star game, Giants pitcher Stu Miller was forced into a balk by a gust of wind that actually blew him off the mound by the fierce winds. Two years later, wind picked up the entire batting cage and dropped it 60 feet away on the pitcher’s mound while the New York Mets were taking batting practice.

Park History

Ground was broken in 1958 as the new home of Major League Baseball's San Francisco Giants, which was moving west from New York. The team played in old Seals Stadium until their new park was ready.

The Giants officially named their new stadium Candlestick Park on March 3, 1959. In 1971, the NFL's San Francisco 49ers became tenants as well. Richard Nixon threw out the first ever baseball on the opening day of Candlestick Park on April 12, 1960. The Oakland Raiders played their 1961 American Football League season at the stadium.

The Beatles performed their last live commercial concert at Candlestick Park on August 29, 1966.

Fly to Candlestick Park!
If you have Google Earth installed, click here to be "flown" to Candlestick Park . (If you do not have it installed, get it from Google. It allows you to view virtually anywhere on Earth in 3D using satellite imagery.)

The stadium was enclosed during the winter of 1971-1972 for the 49ers, with stands built around the outfield. The result was that the wind speed dropped marginally, but often swirled around throughout the stadium. Candlestick Park has the distinction of being the sole remaining NFL stadium that started life as a baseball only facility that later had a football field added. Previous baseball parks that had been converted to house football included parks such as Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, and Milwaukee County Stadium. This accounts for the stadium's odd oblong design that leaves many seats on what was the right field side of the stadium behind the eastern grandstand of the stadium during football games. Candlestick also has the dubious distinction of being the last NFL football stadium where upper deck supports obstruct the sightlines from the prime first deck seating.

Candlestick Park!
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Rock the House

Although Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Barry Bonds played extensive portions of their careers in Candlestick and six World Series games have been played there, without a doubt the most memorable event for Giants fans at Candlestick was on October 17, 1989 during game 3 of the 1989 World Series against Bay area rivals the Oakland A's. Just before the game was to start, the "Loma Prieta" earthquake (measuring 7.1 on the Richter Scale) hit the Bay Area. Amazingly, no one within the stadium was injured, but minor structural damage did occur to the stadium. The World Series between the Giants and Oakland Athletics was delayed for ten days as a result as the overall structural soundness of the stadium (and of Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum as well) was checked by engineers and the area was allowed some time to recover.

In 1999, the Giants moved to a new downtown ballpark, Pacific Bell Park, leaving the 49ers as the lone professional sports team to use the stadium. The final baseball game pitted the Giants against their arch-rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and occurred on an unseasonably hot day.

04/12/1960 Cardinals 1, Giants 3
Umpires Jocko Conlan, Augie Donatelli
  Ken Burkhart, Ed Vargo
Managers Bill Rigney, Giants
  Solly Hemus, Cardinals
Starting Pitchers Sam Jones, Giants
  Larry Jackson, Cardinals
Ceremonial Pitch San Francisco Mayor George
Christopher and Richard Nixon
Attendance 42,269
Batter Joe Cunningham (pop out)
Hit Bill White (single)
Run Don Blasingame
RBI Orlando Cepeda
Single Bill White
Double Willie Mays
Triple Orlando Cepeda
Home Run Leon Wagner
Grand Slam Ernie Banks (04/14/1960)
IPHR Eddie Bressoud (05/07/1960)
Stolen Base Bill White
Sacrifice Hit Jim Davenport
Sacrifice Fly Tommy Davis (04/19/1960)
Cycle Richie Zisk (06/09/1974)
Win Sam Jones
Loss Larry Jackson
Shutout Johnny Podres, Ed Roebuck
Save Ben Johnson (04/14/1960)
Hit by Pitch Dick Drott hit Jim Davenport
Wild Pitch Mike McCormick (04/13/1960)
Balk Jack Sanford (06/09/1960)
No-Hitter Juan Marichal (06/15/1963)
Primary research by Jim Herdman & David Vincent
Courtesy of Retrosheet

Name Changes

Candlestick Park was named for Candlestick Point, a point of land jutting into the San Francisco Bay. Candlestick Point is itself named for the indigenous "candlestick bird" (Long-billed Curlew), once common to the point.

The rights to the arena name were licensed to 3Com Corporation from 1995 until 2002. During that time the park became known as 3Com Park. In 2002 the naming rights deal expired, and the park then became officially known as San Francisco Stadium at Candlestick Point. On September 28, 2004, a new naming rights deal was signed with Monster Cable, a maker of cables for electronic equipment, and the stadium was renamed Monster Park. Many people erroneously assume the Monster Park name is associated with Executives at the latter are doubtless happy with the misunderstanding while execs at the former might have done well to insist on calling it Monster Cable Park.

The City of San Francisco had trouble finding a new naming sponsor due in part to the downturn in the economy, but also because the stadium's tenure as 3Com Park was tenuous at best. Many local fans were annoyed with the change and continued referring to the park by its original name, and many continue to do so to this day, regardless of the official name. Freeway signs in the vicinity were recently changed to read "Monster Park" as part of an overall signage upgrade to national standards on California highways.

A measure passed in the November 2, 2004 election states that the stadium name will revert back to Candlestick permanently after the current contract with Monster Cable expires in 2008. This highlights San Francisco's extreme distaste for corporate naming, especially of this particular venue. The stadium is still almost universally referred to as Candlestick Park despite the name change by both locals and the media. The Monster Park moniker is confined to the 49ers front office and a few national broadcasters just as the 3Com name was years before.

Related Books on Ballparks
The Ballpark Book: A Journey Through the Fields of Baseball Magic by Ron Smith and Kevin Belford.
Ballpark: The Story of America's Baseball Fields by Lynn Curlee
Ballparks: A Panoramic History by Marc Sandalow and Jim Sutton.
Ballparks by Robert Von Goeben and Red Howard.
Ballparks: Then & Now by Eric Enders.
Baseball Vacations: Great Family Trips to Minor League and Classic Major League Ballbarks Across America by Bruce Adams and Margaret Engel.
Blue Skies, Green Fields: A Celebration of 50 Major League Baseball Stadiums by Ira Rosen.
Diamonds: The Evolution of the Ballpark by Michael Gershman.
Fields of Dreams: A Guide to Visiting and Enjoying All 30 Major League Ballparks by Jay Ahuja
Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebration of All Major League and Negro League Ballparks by Philip J. Lowry.
Joe Mock's Ballpark Guide by Joe Mock.
Lost Ballparks: A Celebration of Baseball's Legendary Fields by Lawrence S. Ritter.
Roadside Baseball: A Guide to Baseball Shrines Across America by Chris Epting.
Take Me Out to the Ballpark: An Illustrated Tour of Baseball Parks Past and Present by Josh Leventhal and Jessica Macmurray.
The Ultimate Baseball Road-Trip: A Fan's Guide to Major League Stadiums by Joshua Pahigian and Kevin O'Connell.
Video: Story of America's Classic Ballparks
Video: Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns

Economics of Stadiums
City Baseball Magic: Plain Talk and Uncommon Sense about Cities and Baseball Parks by Philip Bess.
Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit by Joanna Cagan and Neil deMause.
Public Dollars, Private Stadiums: The Battle over Building Sports Stadiums by Kevin J. Delaney and Rick Eckstein.
Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums by Roger G. Noll and Andrew Zimbalist.

General Stadium Reference:
Sports Staff of USA Today. The Complete 4 Sport Stadium Guide. Fodor's, 1996.

Stadium Design and Financing References:
Philip Bess. City Baseball Magic: Plain Talk and Uncommon Sense about Cities and Baseball Parks. Knothole Press, 1999.
Joanna Cagan and Neil deMause. Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit. Common Courage Press, 1998.
Mark S. Rosentraub. Major League Losers: The Real Cost of Sports and Who's Paying for It. HarperCollins, 1997.
Kevin J. Delaney, Rick Eckstein. Public Dollars, Private Stadiums: The Battle over Building Sports Stadiums. Rutgers University Press, 2004.
Roger G. Noll and Andrew Zimbalist. Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums. Brookings Institution, 1997.
Dean V. Baim. The Sports Stadium as a Municipal Investment. Greenwood Publishing, 1994.
Stadia: A Design and Development Guide by Geraint John and Rod Sheard. Architectural Press, 2000.
Michelle Provoost, Matthjis Bouw and Camiel Van Winkel. The Stadium: Architecture of Mass Sport. NAI Publishers, 2000.

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Candlestick from space!

USGS Photo

Year by Year statistics: for Candlestick Park

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