SAN FRANCISCO – Candlestick Park, San Francisco’s cold and windy workhorse stadium, is closing after more than a half-century of hosting sports, concerts and other events. Over the years, the park was home field for the Giants and 49ers and the site of some of their greatest triumphs.
But the “Stick” was also a fierce place, where whipping winds and fog from San Francisco Bay often made for chilly conditions for fans and players. The city-owned stadium is now set to be demolished for a planned housing, retail and entertainment development. Here are 10 defining moments in its history:
Richard Nixon was vice president. Willie Mays was a Giants slugger. Both were on hand for Candlestick’s opening day April 12, 1960, with Nixon throwing out the first pitch. The reinforced concrete stadium was built for the Giants, who had moved from New York two years earlier and initially played at Seals Stadium.
BEATLES LAST LIVE CONCERT
The Beatles held their last live concert at Candlestick in 1966. Paul McCartney apologized to the crowd for the weather, noting it was “a bit chilly.”
MAYS’ 3,000TH HIT
Giants center fielder Willie Mays joined an elite list of players with his 3,000th hit in 1970. Mays finished his career with 660 home runs, fourth on the all-time list, behind Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth.
Quarterback Joe Montana lofted a touchdown to Dwight Clark to win the NFC championship game in January 1982 and send the 49ers to their first Super Bowl. The 49ers won that year’s NFL title and four more through 1995.
Pope John Paul II held a Mass in 1987 for more than 70,000 people.
WORLD SERIES QUAKE
The 6.9-magnitude Loma Prieta earthquake hit as millions of TV viewers took in Game 3 of the “Bay Bridge World Series” between the Oakland Athletics and the Giants in 1989. The quake caused up to $10 billion in damage, but the park sustained only minor damage. After a 10-day postponement, the Athletics finished a sweep of the Giants.
A FOOTBALL RECORD
49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice caught two touchdown passes from Steve Young during a 1994 game to break Jim Brown’s long-held record of 126 career touchdowns.
GIANTS MOVE ON
In the early 1990s, the Giants appeared set to move to Florida. But an ownership group committed to keeping the team in San Francisco persuaded voters to approve a new, largely privately funded park. The Giants played their last game at Candlestick in September 1999 and moved into what’s now called AT&T Park the following season.
49ERS MOVE ON
Despite multiple renovations, Candlestick’s age began to show. The 49ers complained about rusty light towers, clogged concession-stand drains and other maintenance problems. Unable to reach a deal on a new stadium in San Francisco, the team looked 45 miles south to Santa Clara, where the team will play in the new Levi’s Stadium in Silicon Valley starting this year.
Nearly 50 years after the Beatles’ last live concert, Paul McCartney will take the stage for Candlestick’s final event. His “Farewell to Candlestick Park!” performance is scheduled for Thursday.
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