May 24, 2015


Latest News

The lights are going down on Candlestick Park

San Fran to bid farewell to historic stadium

The players' entrance at Candlestick Park in San Francisco is seen from outside the building.
This Oct. 14, 2012 file photo shows fans cheering at Candlestick Park during the first half of an NFL football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants.
A stairwell leads down to the lower stands at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.
In this Sept. 25, 1981 file photo, police and security guards take a brawling baseball fan (centre) into custody as members of the Los Angeles Dodgers (lower right) are splashed with beer during a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers' Reggie Smith (not shown) had gone into the stands and was ejected. The Giants and Dodgers and their fans have one of the longest and most passionate rivalries in American baseball, beginning with their first meeting as National League rivals in 1891 and following the move of both teams to California in the 1950s.
In this Aug. 22, 1965, file photo from Candlestick Park, San Francisco Giants pitcher Juan Marichal (27) swings a bat at Los Angeles Dodgers catcher John Roseboro (top left) as Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax (rear right) tries to break it up.
Candlestick Park is dimly lit during a power outage before an NFL football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Pittsburgh Steelers in December 2011.
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson takes the field during a preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park in August 2013.
San Francisco 49ers' Jewel Hampton (33) celebrates his fourth-quarter touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings during a preseason game at Candlestick Park in August 2013.
A second power outage occured during the second half of the game between the San Francisco 49ers and Pittsburgh Steelers in December 2011.
Michael Crabtree (15) of the San Francisco 49ers smiles as he runs in for a touchdown against the St. Louis Rams in the second quarter of their game at Candlestick Park in November 2012.
Frank Gore of the San Francisco 49ers waves a 49ers flag after they beat the St. Louis Rams 26-0 at Candlestick Park in December 2011.
San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis (85) leaps over St. Louis Rams free safety Rodney McLeod (23) and St. Louis Rams middle linebacker James Laurinaitis (55) after a pass reception in the first quarter at Candlestick Park on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin celebrates with fans after a ten-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter against the Green Bay Packers in September 2013.
The San Francisco 49ers enter the stadium before their NFC Championship game against the New York Giants at Candlestick Park in January 2012.
San Francisco 49ers' Vernon Davis (85) climbs a television stand to celebrate his first-quarter touchdown against the New York Giants during their NFC Championship game in January 22 2012.
Dallas Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey (left) is congratulated by David Buehler after kicking the winning field goal against the San Francisco 49ers in a September 2011 game. The Cowboys won 27-24.
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck celebrates his touchdown in the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park in September 2013.
San Francisco 49ers' Michael Crabtree (15) scores a third-quarter touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals at Candlestick Park in December 2012. The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Arizona Cardinals, 27-13.
Fans observe a moment of silence for Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis, who passed away October 8, 2011, at a game the following day between the San Francisco 49ers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
San Francisco 49ers' starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) scores a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins in the fourth quarter of a December 2012 game. The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Miami Dolphins, 27-13.
An American flag unfurls on the field during to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks prior to the NFL season home-opener between the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, September 11, 2011.
The players' entrance at Candlestick Park in San Francisco is seen from outside the building. - Eric Risberg / The Associated Press
This Oct. 14, 2012 file photo shows fans cheering at Candlestick Park during the first half of an NFL football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants. - Don Feria / The Associated Press files
A stairwell leads down to the lower stands at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. - Eric Risberg / The Associated Press
In this Sept. 25, 1981 file photo, police and security guards take a brawling baseball fan (centre) into custody as members of the Los Angeles Dodgers (lower right) are splashed with beer during a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers' Reggie Smith (not shown) had gone into the stands and was ejected. The Giants and Dodgers and their fans have one of the longest and most passionate rivalries in American baseball, beginning with their first meeting as National League rivals in 1891 and following the move of both teams to California in the 1950s. - Robert H. Houston / the Associated Press files
In this Aug. 22, 1965, file photo from Candlestick Park, San Francisco Giants pitcher Juan Marichal (27) swings a bat at Los Angeles Dodgers catcher John Roseboro (top left) as Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax (rear right) tries to break it up. - Robert H. Houston / The Associated Press files
Candlestick Park is dimly lit during a power outage before an NFL football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Pittsburgh Steelers in December 2011. - Jeff Chiu / The Associated Press files
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson takes the field during a preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park in August 2013. - Jerry Holt / Minneapolis Star Tribune / MCT files
San Francisco 49ers' Jewel Hampton (33) celebrates his fourth-quarter touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings during a preseason game at Candlestick Park in August 2013. - Susan Tripp Pollard / Contra Costa Times / MCT files
A second power outage occured during the second half of the game between the San Francisco 49ers and Pittsburgh Steelers in December 2011. - Josie Lepe / San Jose Mercury News / MCT files
Michael Crabtree (15) of the San Francisco 49ers smiles as he runs in for a touchdown against the St. Louis Rams in the second quarter of their game at Candlestick Park in November 2012. - Jose Carlos Fajardo / Contra Costa Times / MCT files
Frank Gore of the San Francisco 49ers waves a 49ers flag after they beat the St. Louis Rams 26-0 at Candlestick Park in December 2011. - Nhat V. Meyer / San Jose Mercury News / MCT files
San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis (85) leaps over St. Louis Rams free safety Rodney McLeod (23) and St. Louis Rams middle linebacker James Laurinaitis (55) after a pass reception in the first quarter at Candlestick Park on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013. - Paul Kitagaki Jr. / Sacramento Bee / MCT files
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin celebrates with fans after a ten-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter against the Green Bay Packers in September 2013. - Jose Luis Villegas / Sacramento Bee / MCT files
The San Francisco 49ers enter the stadium before their NFC Championship game against the New York Giants at Candlestick Park in January 2012. - Josie Lepe / San Jose Mercury News / MCT files
San Francisco 49ers' Vernon Davis (85) climbs a television stand to celebrate his first-quarter touchdown against the New York Giants during their NFC Championship game in January 22 2012. - Nhat V. Meyer / San Jose Mercury News / MCT files
Dallas Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey (left) is congratulated by David Buehler after kicking the winning field goal against the San Francisco 49ers in a September 2011 game. The Cowboys won 27-24. - Ron T. Ennis / Fort Worth Star-Telegram / MCT files
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck celebrates his touchdown in the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park in September 2013. - Josie Lepe / Bay Area News Group / MCT files
San Francisco 49ers' Michael Crabtree (15) scores a third-quarter touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals at Candlestick Park in December 2012. The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Arizona Cardinals, 27-13. - Susan Tripp Pollard / Contra Costa Times / MCT files
Fans observe a moment of silence for Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis, who passed away October 8, 2011, at a game the following day between the San Francisco 49ers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. - Jose Carlos Fajardo / Contra Costa Times / MCT files
San Francisco 49ers' starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) scores a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins in the fourth quarter of a December 2012 game. The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Miami Dolphins, 27-13. - Nhat V. Meyer / San Jose Mercury News / MCT files
An American flag unfurls on the field during to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks prior to the NFL season home-opener between the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, September 11, 2011. - Ray Chavez / Oakland Tribune / MCT files

SAN FRANCISCO -- Tonight, Dwight Clark will make a point to walk to the spot of his famous game-winning touchdown, known only as The Catch, for probably the final time.

He will spend a moment reflecting on that special patch of grass in the far right corner of the north end zone at Candlestick Park, a thrilling memory he is reminded of daily even now, nearly 32 years later.

On Aug. 22, 1965 in Candlestick Park, San Francisco Giants pitcher Juan Marichal (27) swings a bat at L.A. Dodgers catcher John Roseboro as Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax, right, tries to break it up.

ROBERT HOUSTON / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FILES

On Aug. 22, 1965 in Candlestick Park, San Francisco Giants pitcher Juan Marichal (27) swings a bat at L.A. Dodgers catcher John Roseboro as Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax, right, tries to break it up.

"This will be the last time I'll be able to stand on that spot as far as I know," Clark said.

Joe Montana didn't expect to make it today, when The Stick says its last public goodbye after a run of Super Bowl success, baseball greats such as Willie Mays and home-run king Barry Bonds, the 1989 earthquake that interrupted the Bay Bridge World Series, and even The Beatles' farewell concert.

"It's going to be weird," Terrell Owens said before a game last month. "I'm glad I got an opportunity to be here."

The current 49ers (10-4) are determined to leave their mark on Candlestick's legacy by beating Atlanta (4-10) in the dilapidated stadium's last hurrah tonight in a rematch of the NFC championship game won by San Francisco.

"We feel that it's something special," safety Donte Whitner said.

Those who spent their most memorable years in the iconic venue -- with that recognizable boomerang-shaped concrete shell -- are sad to see it go. Even if the unpredictable swirling winds off the bay and bitter cold hardly made it a cosy home field.

Jerry Rice walked through the stadium several weeks back and soaked in the cheers from every direction, signed autographs and posed for photos.

"It's very difficult for me to come to games. Hearing those cheers again, I want to get back on that field," Rice said. "This is where everything started. It's sort of sad to see it coming to an end, because I know next year they'll be in Santa Clara."

The Niners will move into $1.2-billion Levi's Stadium at team headquarters, while Candlestick waits for its implosion day, likely in late 2014.

Everybody realizes it's time.

"I'll forever be grateful to have played on that field and shared that field with guys who are in the Hall of Fame and guys who have won championships for this organization," linebacker Patrick Willis said.

There's no debate that a dynasty was born with The Catch. Candlestick's top-10 football moments have been counted down during each home game this season, with The Catch at No. 1 for the regular-season home finale.

That six-yard touchdown reception with 51 seconds left sent San Francisco to a 28-27 win and its first Super Bowl.

"The funny thing is, I remember the play right before that I missed Freddie Solomon," Montana recalled this week. "I think I threw it about three feet over his head from five yards away. He was wide open for a touchdown. I always tell Dwight, 'Man, it's a good thing I didn't hit Freddie or The Catch would have never happened.' "

The 49ers next beat the Bengals for the first of the franchise's five championships.

"Oh, I think back on it all the time. I know what the play was; it was all diagramed," former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. said. "In the far end zone, was Dwight Clark's catch, which will probably go down in history.

"I don't think there's any question, as far as the San Francisco 49ers go and our Super Bowl runs and our history of success in the '80s and the '90s, it started with The Catch."

The 49ers shared Candlestick with the Giants until the baseball club moved into its downtown waterfront ballpark in 2000.

Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin attended games at Candlestick as a boy growing up in the Bay Area -- he was in the stands for Mays' 3,000th hit -- and enjoyed being a fan more than he did years later as a major leaguer with the Giants.

"Mike Schmidt was hitting and I was catching and he hit a pop-up over home plate that I really thought at first was going to end up near our dugout, then I thought it would end up over in the other dugout and it ended up right where I started, and I ended up catching it," Melvin said. "You'd follow the hotdog wrappers to try to figure out which way the wind was going."

49ers punter Andy Lee won't miss the wind,or much else about Candlestick after a decade kicking there.

"Bittersweet is probably the best way to put it because there are a lot of great memories that took place there," Montana said. "But everyone will admit that it's not the ultimate in a field you would want to be known for."

For all the problems at rundown Candlestick, those who consider it hallowed ground don't want to hear about the negatives, but the nostalgia.

"It was our dump, so we could talk bad about it," Clark said, "but we didn't want anybody else to talk bad about it."

 

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 23, 2013 C14

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.

Winnipeg Free Press | @WinnipegNews

May 24 12:44 pm

Japan-Canada trade talks stalled wfp.to/RTS

Winnipeg Free Press | @WinnipegNews

May 24 12:36 pm

New law allows police to crack down on Sunday/holiday bike routes wfp.to/RTo

Jessica B-U | @_jessbu

May 24 11:17 am

Drivers caught driving more than one block on these streets could earn $92 tickets: police.

Jessica B-U | @_jessbu

May 24 11:16 am

There won't be barriers advertising "local traffic only" anymore. Up to drivers to spot the street signs at intersections.

Jessica B-U | @_jessbu

May 24 11:14 am

Police remind of Sunday/holiday bylaw for Wellington Cres, Wolseley Ave, Lyndale Dr, Scotia. Only allowed 1 block to drive.

Scroll down to load more

Top