On July 12,1958 I went to my first major league baseball game with my dad at Seals Stadium.
I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. As a boy, I intensely loved baseball and became an instant fan when the Giants moved to San Francisco. My dad took me to Seals Stadium to see the Giants play the Milwaukee Braves. The Braves had won the World Series in 1957 and fielded great players like Hank Aaron, Eddie Matthews, Joe Adcock and two immortal pitchers, Warren Spahn and Lew Burdette.
The Giants had Felipe Alou, Orlando Cepeda, Johnny Antonelli, and the great Willie Mays. Willie was my boyhood hero.
I never got to go to a Seals game. I was only eight years old when I saw the game in 1958; however, I can vividly remember that experience. Antonelli pitched for the Giants and Spahn pitched for the Braves. The Giants won 5-3. The big blow for the Giants was Cepeda’s three-run home run in the fifth inning.
I remember the green walls, the green grass, the enthusiastic crowd of over 22,000 people, the big clock tower, the center field scoreboard and the Hamm’s Beer mug emptying and refilling. The whole place smelled like beer and cigars. It was wonderful.
I sat in the right field bleachers. I remember in my child’s mind being very concerned when Milwaukee’s Joe Adcock hit a home run to right field in the second inning. Adcock’s home run went over my head and out of the stadium. I remembered walking on the street behind the right field grandstands when I entered Seals Stadium. I wondered what happened when the ball went outside the stadium. Did it hit someone on the sidewalk or hit a car?
I got to go back to Seals Stadium a couple of more times in 1959. It was a magical place for a boy who loved baseball. Over the years, my dad and I went to many games at Candlestick Park. It was not until I became an adult that it dawned on me how wonderful Seals Stadium was and how cold and awful Candlestick could be.
I’ve always been fascinated by the Seals and Giants history–probably because much of it occurred in my childhood and teenaged years.
The picture below is of me in my first San Francisco Giants’ hat in 1959 playing baseball on a foggy stretch of beach near the Cliff House in San Francisco.
I revisit that long gone era in my new novel “Last of the Seals” coming in April. See the videos below and click on the links on the right side of the blog to revisit that era.