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Friday, July 10, 2020

How quickly did San Francisco realize that Candlestick Park was a debacle?

Subscription required, but this is fantastic.

In the Chronicle on May 15, 1960, a Giants official anonymously conceded the heating system’s uselessness, but it was in an article about a much different problem. The article appears to be the first instance of the phrase “Cardiac Hill,” which was used to describe the brutal climb that was required to enter the ballpark at all. Just a month after Candlestick opened, columnist Art Rosenbaum coined the phrase while writing about a rumor that the Giants were going to be forced to consider a $1 million “traveling sidewalk,” among other improvements.

If you think the term “Cardiac Hill” was a cutesy, playful moniker, consider this headline from the very next day:

6th Cardiac At Park

Or this opening paragraph from May 28, 1962:

Cardiac Hill claimed its 15th heart victim yesterday since Candlestick Park opened, and the fifth of the current season.

If you’re looking for that, “Heyyyy, wait a minute” moment, it happened about a month after the park opened. The ballpark was literally killing people. It was cold, and the promised heating system didn’t work. In June 1960, The Californian — a magazine created by Wolfe, the ostensible plaintiff of that would-be taxpayers’ suit — published an article with the title, “The Giants Ball Park: A $15 Million Swindle.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 10, 2020 at 06:23 PM | 29 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: candlestick park

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   1. puck Posted: July 10, 2020 at 09:11 PM (#5962210)
Whatever happened to Steve Treder? Seems like a thread for him.
   2. depletion Posted: July 11, 2020 at 01:00 AM (#5962240)
"literally killing people"? I went there a handful of times in the 1980's and it didn't seem that bad. Bring a sweater or a jacket: big deal. I can't imagine who would have thought that a heating system for an open air, 45,000 seat stadium would be economical though.
   3. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: July 11, 2020 at 01:09 AM (#5962242)
I went there a handful of times in the 1980's and it didn't seem that bad. Bring a sweater or a jacket: big deal
It could definitely get below "sweater' weather on cold windy nights. Never felt like my life was in danger. Of course, I was still in elementary school during the early 80s, so might not have been at prime risk age for a cardiac event. Mid 50s with cold swirling wind (wind chill often enough in the 30s) at the end of night games was not uncommon.
   4. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 11, 2020 at 01:15 AM (#5962244)
The microclimates in San Francisco amaze me. I’ve visited several times and love the area. I remember doing the Alcatraz tour about 10 years ago, and the weather on one side of the Alcatraz island — which is what, maybe 3 or 4 square city blocks? — was completely different than the other side.
   5. Mayor Blomberg Posted: July 11, 2020 at 01:20 AM (#5962247)
There was indeed a reason for the old Croix de Candlestick. I recall the jacket I brought not being enough for the final innings of a week-end day game, as well as nearly having to leave a concert in Golden Gate park becasue of the cold.
   6. Howie Menckel Posted: July 11, 2020 at 01:32 AM (#5962250)
The microclimates in San Francisco amaze me.

try going up the mountain 'by rail' in Palm Springs.
   7. ramifications of an exciting 57i66135 Posted: July 11, 2020 at 03:53 AM (#5962263)
"literally killing people"? I went there a handful of times in the 1980's and it didn't seem that bad. Bring a sweater or a jacket: big deal. I can't imagine who would have thought that a heating system for an open air, 45,000 seat stadium would be economical though.

yes, literally.
The article appears to be the first instance of the phrase “Cardiac Hill,” which was used to describe the brutal climb that was required to enter the ballpark at all

   8. Dolf Lucky Posted: July 11, 2020 at 05:57 AM (#5962267)
And today the park looks like a war zone...
   9. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: July 11, 2020 at 06:17 AM (#5962268)
The worst sunburn I ever got in my life was at a breezy cool day game at Candlestick.

If I'd gone to Cleveland Municipal Stadium the following day, Chief Wahoo would have told me to tone down the racism.
   10. Mefisto Posted: July 11, 2020 at 09:32 AM (#5962280)
I was colder at a night game at Candlestick in August than I was skiing Mt. Rainier in January.
   11. asinwreck Posted: July 11, 2020 at 10:50 AM (#5962284)
The wind inside the park was truly remarkable.
   12. Mefisto Posted: July 11, 2020 at 11:23 AM (#5962289)
I once saw the wind blow the pitcher's hat off. It blew all the way to the CF fence.
   13. Howie Menckel Posted: July 11, 2020 at 11:42 AM (#5962291)
Stu Miller says hi (from the grave)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Stu Miller, the former Giants pitcher who committed perhaps the most famous balk in All-Star game history, has died. He was 87.

he is most remembered for his All-Star game performance at windy Candlestick Park in 1961. He was called for a balk in the ninth inning which helped the AL score the tying run. Miller got the win in extra innings but the headlines the next day proclaimed “Miller Blown off Mound.”

“The next day in the paper there was a banner headline: ‘Miller Blown off Mound,'” he recalled in a 2007 interview with The Associated Press. “They couldn’t have made it any bigger. They made it out to be like I was pinned against the center-field fence. It wasn’t about Mays scores winning run but ‘Miller Blown off Mound.'”

Miller entered the game for the National League trying to protect a 3-2 lead with runners on first and second and one out in the ninth. With Rocky Colavito at the plate, Miller relieved Sandy Koufax.

A calm day had turned windy, some of the harshest gusts Miller saw in the three years that Candlestick was his home park while he played for the Giants. He remembered Harvey Haddix chasing his hat around the infield and the flags nearly blowing off the poles.

“Just as I was ready to pitch, an extra gust of wind came along and I waved like a tree,” he said. “My whole body went back and forth about 2 or 3 inches. The AL bench all hollered balk. I knew it was a balk, but the umpires didn’t call it at first. I went ahead and threw the pitch and Colavito swung and missed. The umpire then took off his mask and motioned the runners to second and third.”

An error by third baseman Ken Boyer allowed the tying run to score.
   14. Astroenteritis Posted: July 11, 2020 at 12:24 PM (#5962296)
My only visit to Candlestick in 1980 was memorable for the shock of getting out of the car after reaching the parking lot. Had driven from Arizona and was wearing shorts and t-shirt. Needless to say, a change of clothing was in order. Thankfully that was the only night game of the weekend, but day games weren't warm, either.
   15. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 11, 2020 at 01:18 PM (#5962305)

In a perfectly apropos slice of San Francisco snobbery, he suggested that Municipal Stadium “could be applied to Tulsa or Toledo or Keokuck, Iowa.” Which is a little ironic, considering that Joyce Field in Keokuck looked pretty rad compared to what the Giants would actually get. But San Franciscans had no idea of the windy, concrete horrors that awaited them, so the names kept coming in. Suggestions included:

Horsehide Gulch
Marble Head Stadium (in honor of Lefty O’Doul)
Pacific Stadium
St. Francis Field
Seagull Park
Poppy Stadium
Rogues’ Gallery
Portola Field
Zephyr Park
DiMaggio Field
Oofty Goofty Stadium
About those last two: DiMaggio Field was supposed to be “not so much for big Joe, but for his humble parents, who incubated the most illustrious family in the annals of baseball.” And Oofty Goofty Stadium was a nod to a character from San Francisco’s more rambunctious history.

We coulda had Oofty Goofty Stadium!!!!! Rogue's Gallery sounds rad too.
   16. puck Posted: July 11, 2020 at 01:20 PM (#5962307)
So was "Cardiac Hill" something one climbed if walking from outside the parking lot?
   17. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 11, 2020 at 01:50 PM (#5962312)
More than one needs to know about Oofty Goofty:
Leonard "Leon" Borchardt (April 26, 1862 – death date unknown), better known as Oofty Goofty, was a German sideshow performer who lived in San Francisco, California in the late 19th century and Houston, Texas in the early 20th century.
. . .
Borchardt was covered from head to toe with road tar, into which horsehair was stuck. This gave him a savage and ferocious appearance. He was then locked in a cage, and people paid a dime to look at the “wild man” supposedly captured in the jungles of Borneo and brought to San Francisco at enormous expense. To add to the realism, large chunks of raw meat were poked between the bars by an attendant, and the "wild man" gobbled ravenously, occasionally growling, shaking the bars, and yelping, “Oofty goofty! Oofty goofty!”
. . .
Afterwards, according to an interview he gave in 1900, Oofty worked as baseball team mascot. After losing several games, members of the team kicked him and made him walk nearly a hundred miles back home.
Colorful character. Much more at link.
   18. Mayor Blomberg Posted: July 11, 2020 at 02:04 PM (#5962313)
Oofty should either be in a Michael Chabon novel or have originated from one.
   19. PreservedFish Posted: July 11, 2020 at 03:26 PM (#5962322)
try going up the mountain 'by rail' in Palm Springs.

I've taken the tram up San Jacinto; climbing up is on my bucket list.
   20. Jose Canusee Posted: July 11, 2020 at 10:24 PM (#5962371)
I had a Croix from an August night game that I have since lost, the weather wasn't that bad. Kevin Mitchell got the walk-off HBP in the 13th.
Looking at the boxscore my first thought was "Willie McGee playing for the Giants?". Then the Dodgers starting lineup with Juan Samuel, Gary Carter and Darryl Strawberry looked like a Mets reunion. John Candelaria, Eddie Murray and Kal Daniels were others better known for playing elsewhere.
The big bummer that day was that some lowlife had broken my window to steal my car radio when I was at work, it cost more to replace the window than the radio was worth, much less than what they fenced it for, and that window still doesn't seal tight. Yeah, I still have that car and I would occasionally hear pops of broken glass get sucked in when I vacuumed it even years later.
   21. phredbird Posted: July 11, 2020 at 11:59 PM (#5962379)
#6, #19:

yes, palm springs is famous for the tramway. it doesn't take you up mt. san jacinto, only up to the ranger station at the entrance to the san jacinto national park.

this tramway is at the foot of the range, at roughly 2,000 ft. and goes practically straight up. the station is at 8,000 ft. ... because the ranger station is technically in the city limits, palm springs has the greatest altitude differential of any town in the US, because palm springs proper is on the floor of the coachella valley, which is at about 200 ft. of elevation. anyway. from the ranger station (it's actually quite nice, with a decent restaurant and a bar and a souvenir shop etc.) the hike to the summit of mt. san jacinto is a 6 mile hike up to 10,800 ft., a really glorious trek that isn't particularly hard, but it is long and some spots are a bit rocky. when i go i pack enough for a lunch at the wellman divide, which is about 2.5 mi. in, and has spectacular views to the west. that's only about halfway. the next 3 mi. are more strenuous, and the last couple of hundred yards to the summit have no trail -- it's just a pile of boulders, so that bit involves a little climbing. but the summit is just amazing and again the views are wild.

the micro climate phenom is another attraction. if you go in the fall or winter it will be the usual pleasant weather in PS, but there will be snow, sometimes lots of it at the summit. the best time to go is august. the valley will be an oven, well over 100 every day. but by the time you get to the ranger station it will easily be 20 degrees cooler, and the summit of mt. san jacinto even better.

the tramway is unfortunately closed until the covid crisis is over. the gondola holds about 50 people, and you are jammed in similar to a streetcar.

as for candlestick park. i've never been, but i have been to pac bell (is that what it's called these days?) and i've never been warm there. i always took my heaviest coat and always froze my butt off. but i'm a southerner, so there you have it. when i lived in L.A. i always took a coat to dodger stadium night games except during a heat wave, and always needed it.
   22. phredbird Posted: July 12, 2020 at 12:16 AM (#5962380)

geez, i don't know why i posted all that, you can find it online.

i'm stir crazy from isolating, i think.

cactus to clouds is something that's out of my area of expertise.
   23. Mayor Blomberg Posted: July 12, 2020 at 12:35 AM (#5962381)
Dang, Jose, that car makes my 98 Corolla (totaled in 2006 or 7) feel young again.
   24. PreservedFish Posted: July 12, 2020 at 08:32 AM (#5962393)
Phredbird, taking the tram up to the station is the what ignited my interest in the cactus-to-clouds hike. I was in Palm Springs for a quick jaunt in late spring. I didn't know the first thing about the area, except that there was a lot of mid-century architecture, certainly not that there were immense mountains nearby. So on a lark I took the amazing tram up the mountain, which seems to climb up forever, and then tried to hike to the summit. I was totally unprepared - no food, no water - and after 2 miles had to turn back because I was post-holing in snow (in my shorts and sneakers). It was nearly 100F in the town. Really remarkable.

Just a couple weeks ago I did the #2 hike on this list of America's toughest day hikes. Cactus-to-clouds is #5. Sounds scarier though - my impression is that you will basically die if you turn around, due to the heat. No matter what happens, you have to keep going up.
   25. Mefisto Posted: July 12, 2020 at 09:24 AM (#5962396)
So was "Cardiac Hill" something one climbed if walking from outside the parking lot?

It wasn't that easy to park outside the lot. The park was isolated and the areas relatively near it were ... not good. But if you did walk in, yeah you had to walk up the ramps.
   26. phredbird Posted: July 12, 2020 at 03:22 PM (#5962426)

preserved, if you are ever in PS again, please stop by my art space. i'm part of a retail collective at The Shops at 1345, google it for more info, it's on the main drag in the Uptown Arts District.

we're open for now, with all kinds of covid protocols in place, but i guess things can change.

this is not a solicitation, no obligation to buy anything!

   27. PreservedFish Posted: July 12, 2020 at 06:14 PM (#5962442)
I am 3,050 miles from your art gallery at the moment, so that seems unlikely to happen any time soon, although if there's no school, who knows, perhaps a major family road trip will be required. Months ago I had a pipe dream in which I would fly out to SoCal this October, do the cactus-to-clouds hike, and attend the Desert Daze psychedelic music festival. Even before COVID it was a longshot, though.
   28. sunday silence (again) Posted: July 13, 2020 at 05:14 PM (#5962728)
I guess what people remember is always subject to opinion, but what I remember most about Stu Miller is the famous combined no hitter: Steve Barber/Stu Miller 10 inn. BAL 1 DET 2 (10 inn) 4/30/67. This was only the second combined no hitter in MLB history the first being the more famous Babe Ruth/Ernie Shore, imperfect 26 batters retired game. If you grew up in the 60s or 70s you could readily find it mentioned in like the World Almanac for instance. In the 70s there were 2 more thrown, in the 90s 4 more and 6 more since 2000. So its a bit passe now, but back in the day it really stood out as an interesting factoid.
   29. sunday silence (again) Posted: July 13, 2020 at 05:40 PM (#5962740)
it was a 9 inn. game sorry

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