A.K.A. 3Com Park & Monster Park
San Francisco, California
Tenants: San Francisco Giants (NL); San Francisco 49ers (NFL)
Opened: April 12, 1960
Last Giants game: September 30, 1999
Current status: Still used for football
Surface: Bluegrass (1960-1970; 1979-1999); artificial (1971-1978)
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, baseball)
Architect: John Bolles; Chin and Hensolt (engineers)
Construction: Charles Harney
Owner: City of San Francisco
Cost: $15 million
San Francisco Giants tickets:
Location: In the southeast corner of San Francisco at Candlestick point. Left field (NW), Giants Drive; third base (SW), Jamestown Avenue and Bay View Hill; first base (SE), Jamestown Avenue, Candlestick Point, and San Francisco; right field (NE), Hunters Point Expressway and San Francisco Bay.
Dimensions: Left field: 330 (1960), 335 (1968); left-center: 397 (1960), 365 (1961); center field: 420 (1960), 410 (1961), 400 (1982); right-center: 397 (1960), 365 (1961), 365 (1982); right field: 330 (1965), 335 (1968), 330 (1991), 328 (1993); backstop: 73 (1960), 70 (1961), 55 (1975), 65 (1982), 66 (1985); foul territory: very large.
Fences: 10 (wire, 1960); 8 (wire, 1972); 12 (6 canvas below 6 plexiglass, 1975); 9 (6 canvas below 3 plexiglass, 1982); 9 (wire, 1984), 9.5 (fence posts, 1984); 8 (canvas, 1993).
On a beautiful morning in 1957, San Francisco Mayor Christopher showed New York Giants owner Horace Stoneham around Candlestick Point, the projected site for a Giants ballpark. What the Mayor knew and, presumably, Stoneham didn't was that although Candlestick Point can be lovely on a summer morning, it is usually one of the coldest, windiest and foggiest places in the country on a summer night. Fog rolls in over parts of San Francisco on most summer evenings and Candlestick Park was built in one of those parts. During the 1961 All Star game, Giants pitcher Stu Miller was blown off the mound and, in 1963, New York Mets Manager Casey Stengel took his squad out for batting practice, only to watch a gust of wind pick up the entire batting cage and drop it 60 feet away on the pitcher’s mound. Willie Mays led the league in home runs three times while playing half his games at "the 'Stick." However, the wind always blows in from left field there, and many people think Mays would have hit 800 homers if he’d played somewhere else. Lefthanded hitters, on the other hand, got the benefit of the "jetstream" to right.
Although Candlestick Park was built for the Giants, the Beatles played their last concert ever there on August 29, 1966, and the NFL’s 49ers have won so many Super Bowls since they moved there in 1971 that the sign in the parking lot said, "Home of the Super Bowl Champions," with almost no mention of the primary tenants. Richard Nixon threw out the first ball at the first game ever at the 'Stick, on April 12, 1960, then proclaimed it "the finest ballpark in America." Bill White, who later became the National League president, got the first hit there. The Giants' Gaylord Perry and Cardinals' Ray Washburn threw no-hitters there on the same weekend - on September 17 and 18, 1968. The Los Angeles Dodgers and the Giants staged a memorable playoff for the National League pennant there in 1962, complete with a controversy over the Giants watering down the infield to slow down basestealer extraordinaire Maury Wills. Mays broke the all-time National League home run record at Candlestick Park on May 4, 1966, and he got his 3,000th hit there on July 18, 1971.
Six World Series games have been played at Candlestick Park, but the most memorable October event there was the World Series game that wasn’t played. That was on October 17, 1989, when an earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter Scale preempted what was to have been Game 3 of the 1989 Bay Bridge World Series against the Oakland A’s. As houses crumbled, highways buckled and bridges collapsed, Candlestick Park stood strong - with 62,000 people packed inside it, none of whom were injured. In 1993, under a new group of owners led by former Safeway head Peter Magowan, some significant changes were made to the park to make it more fan friendly. More games were played during the day, the food was improved and a new bleacher section was built in left field which was closer to the action.
- Candlestick Point and the cove in its embrace were named long ago after the indigenous candlestick bird. A member of the curlew family, the candlestick is a wading bird with long, thin legs and a body about the size of a chicken, according to nationally known ornithologist Henry L. Betten. At one time thousands of these birds inhabited the Bay Area, but they were nearly hunted to extinction by the 1950s due to the enormous demand for their delicate and delicious meat.
- San Francisco sold the naming rights to 3Com Corporation in 1995. The original deal was 6 months for $500k. In 1996, the deal was extended to January 2000 for $3.9 million. The naming rights deal ended in January 2002.
- The stadium was referred to as San Francisco Stadium at Candlestick Point from 2002 until 2004.
- In September 2004, Monster Cable Products, Inc., located just three miles from the stadium, bought the naming rights. The terms were estimated at $6 million for four years.
- Bay View Hill overlooked the park from behind third base.
- Fans could arrive by boat at a pier which extended from a parking lot south of the stadium into the San Francisco Bay.
- Before the bleachers were enclosed, so many fans would stream out of the bleachers in right-center when Willie Mays and Willie McCovey batted and crowd up against the flimsy cyclone fence that a white line was painted on the asphalt 20 feet behind the fence. Fans had to stand behind this line.
- The 59 posts once located every 20 feet or so on the outfield fence caused strange bounces - their tips extended 6 inches above the 9-foot wire fence.
- Hosted the 1984 and 1961 (I) All-Star games.
- Before the stadium was enclosed, wind blew in from left-center and out toward right-center. Once it was enclosed, the wind became a swirling monster, just as strong as before.
- Six Giants retired uniform numbers were displayed on white baseballs on the right-field fence.
- Maury’s Lake, the basepath between first and second was drenched before the game to make it more difficult for Dodgers speedster Maury Wills to steal second.
- Umpires protested the location of the foul poles (completely in fair territory) in the third inning of the opening game on April 12, 1960.
- The stadium was enlarged and fully enclosed in 1972 to house the NFL 49ers.
- Architect John Bolles’ boomerang-shaped concrete shell baffle behind the upper tier’s last row of seats and radiant heating were intended to protect the park from wind and cold. They didn’t work.
- In the winter of 1978-1979, the Giants ripped up their artificial turf and replaced it with grass.
- Was the coldest park in the majors, resulting in fewer home runs.
- The Croix de Candlestick pin was awarded to fans at the conclusion of night extra-inning games.
More on Candlestick Park:
Recommended Reading (bibliography):
- Inaugural Season: The San Francisco Giants and their First Season at Pacific Bell Park by Rob Dell'Ergo.
- Splash Hit! Pac Bell Park and the San Francisco Giants by Joan Walsh, C. W. Nevius, Larry Baer and Peter Magowan.
- Take Me Out to the Ballpark: An Illustrated Tour of Baseball Parks Past and Present by Josh Leventhal and Jessica Macmurray.
- The Ballpark Book: A Journey Through the Fields of Baseball Magic (Revised Edition) by Ron Smith and Kevin Belford.
- City Baseball Magic: Plain Talk and Uncommon Sense about Cities and Baseball Parks by Philip Bess.
- Diamonds: The Evolution of the Ballpark by Michael Gershman.
- Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebration of All 273 Major League and Negro League Ballparks by Philip J. Lowry.
- 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.
- The Story of America's Classic Ballparks (VHS).
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Aerial view of Candlestick Park © 1999 by Mike Smith.
View inside Candlestick Park from right field © 1999 by Ira Rosen.
View inside Candlestick Park from 1st base side courtesy of the San Francisco Giants.
Aerial view of the original Candlestick Park courtesy of Michael Moore.
Updated July 2007
Tickets to MLB All Star game, NCAA Basketball Tournament, College Football Bowl, NCAA Football, San Francisco 49ers, Paul McCartney and San Francisco Giants provided by Ticket Triangle.
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