Candlestick Park, a name etched in the annals of baseball and sports history, stands as a symbol of the rich and varied sporting heritage of San Francisco. This iconic stadium, known for its unique challenges and memorable moments, has been the backdrop for some of the most significant events in Major League Baseball (MLB).
Stadium Facts about Candlestick Park
- Location: San Francisco, California
- Opened On: April 12, 1960
- Home Team: San Francisco Giants (National League), 1960-1999
- Stadium Nicknames: “The Stick”
- Dimensions: Left Field – 335 feet, Center Field – 400 feet, Right Field – 335 feet
- Capacity: Originally 42,500; expanded to over 60,000
- Attendance Record: 61,389 (1989 World Series)
- Surface: Grass
- Architect: John Bolles
- Owner: City of San Francisco
- Competitions: Hosted the 1961 and 1984 MLB All-Star Games, multiple playoff series, including the 1989 World Series
- Construction Cost: $15 million (1960)
Candlestick Park’s history is deeply interwoven with the fabric of San Francisco’s sporting culture. Opened in 1960, it was initially built as the home of the San Francisco Giants, who had moved to the city from New York in 1958. The stadium was among the first of the modern-style ballparks and was celebrated for its sleek design and magnificent views of the San Francisco Bay.
The Giants played their first game at Candlestick Park in 1960, marking the beginning of a new era for the team. Over the years, the stadium became known for its windy and cold conditions, which often played a significant role in the outcome of games, adding an extra layer of challenge for players and an element of unpredictability for fans.
Design and Features
Candlestick Park was initially hailed for its modern design, featuring an open and airy structure with unobstructed views of the playing field. The stadium’s location near the San Francisco Bay contributed to its notorious microclimate, characterized by strong winds and cool temperatures.
One of the unique features of Candlestick Park was its ability to host both baseball and football games, a versatility that added to its importance in the sports community of San Francisco. The stadium underwent several renovations throughout its lifetime to accommodate these dual purposes and to enhance the fan experience.
The most significant renovation occurred in the early 1970s, when Candlestick Park was expanded and enclosed to accommodate the San Francisco 49ers football team. This expansion significantly increased the stadium’s capacity and transformed its appearance and atmosphere.
While these changes made the park more versatile, they also intensified the windy conditions, as the enclosure trapped the cold breeze blowing in from the bay. Despite the challenges posed by the weather, Candlestick Park remained a beloved venue for its unique character and the memorable moments it hosted.
Candlestick Park offered a range of facilities to cater to its diverse audience. Concession stands provided a variety of food and beverage options, reflecting the culinary diversity of San Francisco. The stadium also featured merchandise stores, offering fans a chance to purchase memorabilia and support their teams.
The park was equipped with ample parking and accessible seating, making it convenient for fans to attend games. Despite its reputation for challenging weather conditions, Candlestick Park remained a favorite among fans for its authentic and unfiltered baseball experience.
Memorable Moments at Candlestick Park
- 1962 National League Tie-Breaker Series: Hosting the decisive Game 3.
- 1989 World Series: Known as the “Battle of the Bay” between the Giants and Oakland Athletics.
- 1971 NLCS: Giants hosting the Pittsburgh Pirates.
- 1961 and 1984 MLB All-Star Games: Showcasing Candlestick to a national audience.
- Last Game in 1999: An emotional farewell to the Giants’ long-time home.
Interesting Baseball History at Candlestick Park
- Juan Marichal’s No-Hitter: Pitched on June 15, 1963.
- Willie Mays’ 3000th Hit: A significant milestone achieved at Candlestick.
- Numerous Playoff Appearances: Hosting several critical playoff series.
- The Wind and Weather: The unique conditions that became synonymous with Candlestick.
- Famous Rivalries: Hosting numerous key games against the Dodgers, continuing a historic rivalry.
Aside from baseball, Candlestick Park was a versatile venue that hosted a variety of events. It was the home of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers until 2013, witnessing numerous memorable football moments. The park also hosted significant concerts, including The Beatles’ final full concert in 1966, and various other cultural and community events. Its role as a multi-purpose venue made it an integral part of San Francisco’s cultural and entertainment landscape.