Baseball! The Great American Pastime! KUIC’s Ron Brown here. Opening day is March 30th. I grew up(and still are) a huge San Francisco Giants fan. I always dreamed of being in the stands at Candlestick Park to see my heroes: Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Juan Marichal. Well, back in 1967, my dream came true. The Vacaville Chamber of Commerce used to charter trips for local fans to see Giants games. My Grandmother bought us two tickets to go to the game.
I was so excited as we pulled into Candlestick! The roar of the crowd, the smell of popcorn and hotdogs! As we entered the park, I was so excited looking out on the field to see my heroes taking batting practice! Hal Lanier, Willie McCovey, Jesus Alou, but where is Mays? The Giants newly acquired pitcher Ray Sadecki out in the bullpen warming up. We got our hotdogs and walked to our seats at the top of the stadium. I didn’t care, we were at the game!
We took our seats and I turned on my transistor radio to listen to Russ Hodges and Lon Simmons say ””Number 24 Willie Mays, strolling to home plate with the Giants lineup.” There he was! Willie Mays! My hero among heroes! What an amazing experience! I couldn’t believe my eyes. The Giants lost the game, but it didn’t matter, I had just seen my very first baseball game and Willie Mays!