The NFL's San Francisco 49ers gave two baseball Hall of Famers from the San Francisco Giants a chance to say good-bye to their old home ballpark Monday night. With Candlestick Park facing the wrecking ball once football season ends, Willie Mays and Willie McCovey (seated in the photo) stopped by for the Niners-Falcons game to pay their respects to what was the Giants' Bay Area-home from 1960 through the 1999 season.
John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that Giants president Larry Baer wanted to have his team play the Dodgers or Athletics in an exhibition game at the Stick next spring, but figured it wouldn't work. So he offered to have Mays and McCovey come to Candlestick for a final official appearance during football season.
Mays took the opportunity to pretend he was a high-school quarterback in Alabama again, pantomiming his teenage moves on the field in a private moment. McCovey "half-jokingy" recalled the moment when Bobby Richardson of the Yankees snared a line drive off his bat in Game 7 for the last out of the 1962 World Series. The Giants wouldn't get that close to a championship for another 40 years, and wouldn't win for another 48 seasons — after they had moved into a new park.
Candlestick was revolutionary in its design, built to be modified for baseball or football, preceding other stadiums that came along later in the 1960s. Unlike the gorgeous AT&T Park, where the Giants play now, Candlestick was kind of homely (especially for baseball). But it certainly was home. McCovey said he wasn't feeling particularly emotional about it on Sunday, but probably would once they started to tear down the stadium.
"It was a wonderful thing at one particular time," Mays said of Candlestick Park, "and now it's obsolete."
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