Candlestick Park: Thanks for the Memories

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Candlestick Park: Thanks for the Memories

Fans have cheered on the 49ers at Candlestick Park since 1971

Fans have cheered on the 49ers at Candlestick Park since 1971

Will Moon '14

Fans have cheered on the 49ers at Candlestick Park since 1971

Will Moon '14

Will Moon '14

Fans have cheered on the 49ers at Candlestick Park since 1971

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          If you haven’t heard by now, the 49ers and their fans are saying farewell to Candlestick Park, the place the team has called home for the last 40 years. With the 2014 season set to take place in the brand new Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, San Franciscans and sports fans nationwide look back at all of the unforgettable memories the windy stadium housed.

         The Stick first opened its doors in 1960 for the San Francisco Giants, who had been playing in the quaint Seal’s Stadium (where the Potrero Shopping Center stands today) just two years after moving out west from New York. Over those next few years, Candlestick would make history- not only housing Hall of Fame greats like Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, and Willie McCovey, but also hosting The Beatles’ last-ever commercial concert in 1966.

          The 49ers joined the Giants in 1971 after playing more than a decade at Kezar Stadium, and have since created some of the greatest moments in all sports history with five Super Bowl championships and football legends like Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Ronnie Lott, Steve Young, and many more.

           Current SHC students will recall the Stick’s more recent moments: the Niner’s thrilling playoff victory over the New Orleans Saints in 2012 capped by a breathtaking touchdown from Alex Smith to Vernon Davis, or even last year’s NFC Divisional win over the Green Bay Packers in which rookie quarterback Colin Kaepernick set a new record with 181 rushing yards. That being said, older generations can recall far more spectacular games, like the 1982 NFC Championship, in which Dwight Clark stretched out to make a miraculous touchdown catch on a high pass from Joe Montana that sealed the 49er’s victory over the Dallas Cowboys and sent them to the Super Bowl. Since then, “The Catch” has made Sports Illustrated’s list of top 50 greatest moments in sports history.

          Countless fans cherish their own memories, but few can cherish more than SHC’s own (English teacher and former Emerald Moderator) David Pardini ‘84, who worked for nine years as a vendor at both Giants and 49ers games, which he still recalls as “the best job [he’s] ever had”. Through good seasons and bad, Pardini always enjoyed the lively, sometimes frustrated and often drunken atmosphere fans brought to the park. Among his favorite memories was the Crazy Crab, the Giant’s ill-fated anti-mascot who became the scapegoat for the team’s horrible season in 1984, suffering heavy abuse from both the players and fans.

           After an important victory of their division rival Seahawks, the Niners will play their final game at Candlestick against the Atlanta Falcons on Monday, December 23, and hope to go out with a bang. Despite its freezing fog, unforgiving winds, unreliable plumbing, and worn-down seats (which can now be purchased in pairs for a modest $749), The Stick was our house, and it will be missed.

Share your favorite memories of Candlestick in the comment section below! 

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