I have very fond memories of Candlestick Park, so on the last night of this venerable ballpark I wanted to reflect on some of my many moments of the Stick.
Being an East Coast kid, San Francisco seemed so far away, I remember watching
“the catch” and seeing my the Giants lose playoff games as Montana and crew seemed so unbeatable. So the first opportunity that I had as a professional photographer, I took the chance to fly out to that exotic location for a Vikings, Niner playoff game. I remember that walk in from what would be right field in the baseball configuration and down the 1st base line into the 1st base dugout to set-up before the game. Seeing #16 in person for the first time was a thrill, heck this was Joe Montana in his home ballpark. The home town boys blew out the Vikings that day, it was my first taste of what would be many in SF. Every year after that I probably made 2 or 3 trips out there, if you ever watch the highlight of Matt Bahr kicking the Giants into the Super Bowl in the 1991 NFC Championship game, there is a young kid wearing a yellow Champion Sweat shirt pumping his fist acting like a complete amateur as Bahr snuck it inside the left upright
The couple years that followed were a couple of NFC Championship games vs the Cowboys. It was so surreal being in my young 20’s and flying out the coast for the biggest games of the year between two Titans. The star power in those games was unreal, to many names to mention. The trip was always eventful, a good dinner in the city, we always stayed at the hotel the 49ers were in the night before, possible the Hyatt in Burlingame, an early trip to the stadium and those local 1:00pm starts were perfect. The first half , the field was soaked in sunlight and the sun would just hang over the south end zone, Words cant describe what that 49er red and gold uniform looked like in that beautiful light. You really couldn’t help but sit in the end zone with your 600mm and a few bricks of Fuji Provia 100 and wait for something to happen. The second half had pockets of light that you could play with and the game would end in full shadow right before night time set in. After the game was another trek into the city for another dinner and that a drive to the airport to for that red eye flight back east yearning for another trip back. Some other highlights:
Having my 600mm lens snapped in half by Jerry Rice during a Jets game in 1998, I believe there was a Garrison Hearst 96 yard TD run on overtime for a 49er win.
Seeing Darryl Strawberry for the Dodgers launch balls into the upper deck during batting Practice in 1993. Yes I did a few Giant games also.
Montana to Jerry Rice
Steve Young to Jerry Rice
Hearing and seeing Leonard Marshall blind side Joe Montana in the NFC Champ Game and then hearing the crowd chant Joe as he lied on the field.
Photographing Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Steve Young, Roger Craig, Ronnie Lott, Charles Haley, John Taylor etc,
I was able take one last lap a couple of weeks back and it brought back such great memories. Seeing the sun creep over the field for one last time was sad indeed, as I drove away from the stadium that day I left knowing that I was part of some amazing days here