For 43 seasons, the 49ers have gone by one address: 602 Jamestown Avenue in San Francisco, Calif., 94124. Many other aspects of Candlestick Park – including its name, field, fans and tenants – have changed over the decades. The ‘Stick, as it came to be called, stood still, but it moved with the times, always keeping pace.
Until now. In the same way the team sped past Kezar Stadium in the 1960s, it has outgrown a building which hosted five World Series’ but not a single Super Bowl. With this in mind, 49ers.com looks back before another switch, in 2014 to Santa Clara’s Levi’s® Stadium. After all, home is where the heart is – no matter the address – and you always ask your friends to help you move.
Mayor George Christopher has visions of building a stadium in San Francisco during the late 1950s... Christopher, a Republican who begins the first of his two terms as mayor from 1956 through 1964, is instrumental in convincing New York Giants owner, Horace Stoneham, to move the baseball team out west... Christopher, the San Francisco's last Republican mayor, also plays a big role in securing the funds to build the project... The stadium site is purchased at a cost of $2.7 million dollars with the city already owning the adjacent 31 acres of land.
Ground is broken on the project with construction costs being estimated at $15 million... Controversy engulfs the project with complaints from nearby neighborhoods and delays stemming from a Teamster strike.
The stadium goes by the name Candlestick Park after a Name-the-Park' fan ballot contest is shared with the public. The contest includes 15,000 entries... Once the stadium is completed, it becomes the first of its kind to be built entirely of reinforced concrete.
Vice President Richard Nixon throws out the first pitch on the stadium's opening day... There are 42,553 fans in the stands to see Nixon and a San Francisco Giants 3-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals... The Giants had moved from the Polo Grounds in New York in 1958, playing their first two seasons at the 23,000-seat Seals Stadium... "This will be one of the most beautiful baseball parks of all time," Nixon tells The San Francisco Chronicle.
Mays and Nixon laugh in the Giants' dugout in San Francisco. (AP Photo)
The 'Stick graces the cover of Sports Illustrated.
The American Football League's Oakland Raiders play their home games at Candlestick.
Major League Baseball hosts its All-Star Game... National League winning pitcher Stu Miller is blown off the mound – and called for a balk – or so says history... "I wasn't blown off that mound," Miller said to Sports Illustrated... "I just waved a little. But I'll always be the guy who was blown away, no matter what I say. There were 44,000 people in the park that day, but over the years I bet I've had at least 100,000 people tell me they saw me flying in the air. You'd think I'd been blown out into the Bay"... 'Stick architect John Bolles' original boomerang-style design was intended to keep the wind out of the stadium; it failed.
There were 44,115 fans at the 1961 All-Star baseball game. (AP Photo/stf)
The New York Yankees best the San Francisco Giants in a seven-game World Series... The Giants had won their first NL pennant on the West Coast but wouldn't return to the Fall Classic for 27 years.
This is how the World Series game looked from the air, Oct. 4, 1962. (AP Photo/Vargas)
Giants center fielder Willie Mays hits a career-high 52 home runs, 24 of them at home... His run for the home run record was affected by the windy conditions... "Mays once told me that as soon as he tried to hit the ball in batting practice he realized that right-handed hitters couldn't hit it out," longtime sportswriter Glenn Dickey told The San Francisco Examiner.
Willie Mays before a game on August 17, 1966. (AP Photo)
The Beatles perform 11 songs for their final live concert... At one point, Paul McCartney tells the half-filled crowd, "It's a bit chilly." He adds, while introducing the final tune of the night, "It's been wonderful being here, in this wonderful sea air... Sorry about the weather. And we'd like to ask you to join in and, er, clap, sing, talk, do anything"... Only 25,000 seats were sold at between $4.50 and $6.50 per ticket... "The stage was set behind second base... There was a big talk at Candlestick Park that this had got to end" drummer Ringo Starr said later... "At that San Francisco gig it seemed that this could possibly be the last time, but I never felt 100 precent certain till we got back to London."
Houston Astros slugger – and future Hall of Famer – Eddie Matthews hits his 500th home run at The 'Stick.
Expansion undertaken increases the capacity to 59,000 for baseball games and 62,000 for football games.
Giants center fielder Willie Mays kicks off a seven-game homestand by collecting his 3,000th base-hit, a single, in a 10-1 win over the Montreal Expos.
A week after the Giants lose Game 2 of the National League Championship Series here, the 49ers fall to the Los Angeles Rams, 20-13, in their first game played at The 'Stick – a 53-degree afternoon with 16 mph winds... Including the playoffs this inaugural season, the team wins five of their eight home games... Dick Nolan-coached San Francisco advances to the postseason in '71 and '72.
The 'Stick continues undergoing major renovations, a two-to-three-year plan that costs more than $15 million to enclose the park, add retractable right field seats and install artificial turf as well as a then-state-of-the-art scoreboard... Stoneham concludes from a study that, had the stadium been built 100 yards to the northeast of its current location, wind wouldn't factor into the field of play.
Mays watches a baseball bounce high over his head off the new artificial turf. (AP Photo)
Glass Corp. businessman Bob Lurie buys the Giants, keeping the team at Candlestick... Lurie explores the potential of a baseball-only, downtown San Francisco stadium and, as the '80s approach, a domed 'Stick.
Eight years after switching to an artificial playing surface, Astroturf, natural grass is re-installed... The field has been re-sodded annually ever since; the re-sodding process, which uses a hybrid of Bermuda with a Perennial Rye over-seed, takes as long as 20 days to complete.
Bill Walsh coaches his first game at The 'Stick – a 21-13 defeat to the Dallas Cowboys.
Former Stanford coach Walsh is introduced at a press conference by 49ers president Edward J. DeBartolo Jr. (AP Photo)
The Rolling Stones visit Candlestick Park for back-to-back dates of an American tour continuing on Oct. 18... The legendary rock band plays The 'Stick to promote their "Tattoo You'' album and brings out the largest Bay Area concert crowd ever... There are 17,000 parking spaces at Candlestick fill up by 9 a.m... A 38-year-old, shirtless, lead-singing Mick Jagger is draped by a British flag as he performs on stage... The tour goes on to gross $50 million with ticket sales averaging $16 per seat.
The 49ers overhaul defensive personnel before the season... Ronnie Lott joins the team via the draft and immediately contributes, helping the team post a 13-3 regular season record.
San Francisco meets the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship Game at Candlestick Park... The game goes down to the final drive and Joe Montana completes a 6-yard touchdown pass to Dwight Clark to finish a
Candlestick hosts its second MLB All-Star Game... Montreal Expos catcher Garter Carter wins Most Valuable Player honors in a 3-1 victory by the National League... The hometown Giants trot out All-Stars Bob Brenly at catcher and Chili Davis in the outfield in a game with 57,756 fans in attendance.
Pope John Paul II holds a mass for more than 70,000 people in the Bay Area on a sunny day... The Pope headline on front page of the San Francisco Chronicle is the biggest seller in the newspaper's history over the 49ers two Super Bowl editions.
A 37-21 home win over Washington helps propel the 49ers to a five-game win streak and eventually a third Super Bowl title. San Francisco goes 10-6 in the regular season after a 6-5 start... The 49ers would go on to win Super Bowl XXIII in Miami, thanks to John Taylor's game-winning touchdown catch with 34 seconds left to beat the Bengals on Jan. 22, 1989.
The "Battle of the Bay" World Series begins between the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A's.
The Loma Prieta earthquake measures at 6.9 on the Richter Scale at 5:04 p.m. PST, striking San Francisco minutes before the start of Game 3... "I was in the middle of the field, in a pretty good spot," Giants pitcher Mike Krukow later recalls... "If I was going to run anywhere, it would probably be to where I was standing"... Nobody is injured inside the stadium, only Candlestick suffers minor structural damage... After a 10-day postponement of the World Series, the A's go on to sweep the Giants, winning the final two games at Candlestick on Oct. 27 and 28... The 'quake also caused the 49ers to relocated a Oct. 22 game against the New England Patriots to Stanford Stadium... The 49ers won 37-20.
The 49ers begin steamrolling their way to a second straight Super Bowl title and fourth overall... They proceed to outscore their three playoff opponents – Minnesota (Divisional) and Los Angeles (Conference Championship) at Candlestick Park and Denver (Super Bowl XXIV) at the Louisiana Superdome – by a combined 100 points, 126-26.
The 49ers set franchise records for points (56), touchdowns (eight) and passing touchdowns (six) in their home win over the Atlanta Falcons.
The Giants ownership group starts envisioning a new ballpark.
On this edition of "Monday Night Football" wideout Jerry Rice, the NFL's reigning offensive player of the year, catches two touchdown passes from Steve Young and scores a third on a reverse run to break Jim Brown's longtime NFL record of 126 career TDs... Rice finishes with 127 on this night, 197 for his 21-year career... Rice and the 49ers beat the Oakland Raiders, 44-14... Of the third score, Rice would remember years later: "George Seifert had taken us out of the football game... All of a sudden he came down the bench, he looked at Steve and I and said, 'Hey, look, I'm going to to give you guys one opportunity to break this here at home.' And we ran back onto the football field. Everybody in the stadium knew exactly what was getting ready to happen."
Candlestick gets another facelift as a baseball venue: new dugouts, box seats along the foul lines, left field bleachers and a then-high-tech video-capable scoreboard... The park also receives a foghorn, which would traditionally be used 90 minutes, 60 minutes and 30 minutes before kickoff at 49ers games.
The ‘Stick is renamed 3Com Park, then 3Com Park at Candlestick Point a year later to recapture tradition… The computer company, 3Com Corporation, that would hold the naming rights until 2002 would be bought out by Hewlett-Packard for approximately $2.7 billion in 2010.
Steve Young, the NFL’s reigning two-time MVP, wins the NFC Championship Game, his first as starting 49ers quarterback, in 38-28 fashion over the Dallas Cowboys… Young, who throws a pair of touchdown passes in the win, famously celebrates the occasion with a victory lap around The ‘Stick, inadvertently knocking down cameramen as fans flock to his side… Defensive tackle Bryant Young would recall years later, “He was very excited, just ran around the whole stadium – you couldn’t stop him. He had people trying to pull him to the side and stop him for interviews, but he was so excited… Just to share that moment with the fans was important to him.”… Young and the 49ers would follow this game up right, winning Super Bowl XXIX two weeks later in Miami, routing the San Diego Chargers, 49-26.
Giants left fielder Barry Bonds makes his way toward becoming the second member of baseball’s exclusive 40-40 club by hitting his 40th home run, in Game No. 150 of the season… Bonds steals his 40th base 10 games later to go along with his 42 homers… Jose Canseco (Oakland A’s, 1988) and Bonds would later be joined in this esteem by Alex Rodriguez (Seattle Mariners, 1998) and Alfonso Soriano (Washington Nationals, 2006).
Steve Young finds Terrell Owens for “The Catch II” to clinch a 30-27 win in an NFC Wild Card battle over the Green Bay Packers before a crowd of 66,506 fans… Facing a 27-23 deficit, Young stood at the Packers 25-yard line
An NFL Players Association survey indicates that The ‘Stick has the worst natural grass-style playing field – and the fifth-worst overall, behind the artificial surfaces in Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and New York.
The Giants finish their farewell season with a 9-8 loss to the Colorado Rockies… Exactly 2,078,399 fans go through the turnstiles in this last 81-game baseball campaign at The ‘Stick… The 49ers welcomed a decade-high 544,231 ticketholders during the football season this year. The Giants begin their inaugural season at Pacific Bell Park, also known as “Pac Bell,” with a 6-5 loss to the rival Los Angeles Dodgers… The stadium, which would be renamed SBC Park in 2004, then AT&T Park in 2006, would host World Series’ in ’02, ’10 and ’12.
Groundskeepers tear up the mound as current and former members of the Giants look on following their final game. (AP Photo)
The ‘Stick, which is owned and operated by the city, is renamed San Francisco Stadium at Candlestick Point officially... The 49ers go 7-1 at home this year on their way to 12 wins, a single-season high for the decade.
The ‘Stick is christened Monster Park; Monster Cable Products Inc. purchases the naming rights for four seasons.
Bill Walsh Field was dedicated to honor the 49ers three-time Super Bowl winning coach, who passed away in the summer... Walsh, who was at the helm from 1979 to 1988, went 92-59-1 all-time and won six divisional championships.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom holds a proclamation declaring the field at Candlestick Park "Bill Walsh Field". (AP Photo)
Linebacker Patrick Willis, who would go on to start his career with six straight Pro Bowl seasons, makes his NFL debut at Candlestick... He records 10 tackles and a forced fumble in the 49ers 20-17 win over the Arizona Cardinals.
A public ballot measure ensures Candlestick Park to be restored as the stadium’s official title.
Running back Frank Gore rattles off touchdown runs of 79 yards and 80 yards for 207 yards overall on just 16 carries in San Francisco's 23-10 victory over the Seattle Seahawks... Gore would become the second ball carrier in NFL history to have two scoring runs of 79 or more yards in the same game, joins Hall of Famer Barry Sanders, who broke runs for 80 yards and 82 yards at Tampa Bay on Oct. 12, 1997... Gore would tell The Associated Press, "Yeah, I was looking up (at the scoreboard). I ran all day... I told myself, 'I'm not looking back.' I told myself: 'Hey, if they're going to catch me, they're going to catch me. I'm just going to look straight ahead.'"
Jim Harbaugh leaves Stanford University and becomes the 18th head coach in the history of the San Francisco 49ers… Harbaugh signs a five-year contract days after general manager Trent Baalke takes his position with the team… “It’s the perfect competitive challenge,” Harbaugh says at his introductory press conference... “I look forward to coaching against John Harbaugh, Bill Belichick and the many great coaches in the NFL. That kind of challenge, I willingly accept it and I look very much forward to it.”
The California Golden Bears and the Fresno State Bulldogs compete in their season opener in the first NCAA football game hosted at Candlestick... Cal wins, 36-21, thanks to two-touchdown catches by wide receiver Marvin Jones in front of a crowd of 31,563.
Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers clinch the franchise’s first playoff appearance since 2002 with a 26-0 victory over the St. Louis Rams… Alex Smith completes 17 of 23 passes for 274 yards and two touchdowns in the one-sided win... Left tackle Joe Staley leads the charge to dump yellow Gatorade all over Harbaugh in the game’s closing moments… “I was fine with it,” Harbaugh says of the celebratory sideline shower. “I’ve got my all-purpose black sweater. Don’t even need to change it, it just rolls right off these things. Incredible fabric.”
The 49ers host the Pittsburgh Steelers on “Monday Night Football.”... San Francisco puts together a dominant 20-3 victory over an AFC powerhouse... Two separate power outages, however, overshadow the performance on the field… The outages, from a blown transformer outside of the stadium, result in 30 minutes of game stoppage… The 49ers hold the Steelers out of the end zone and sack Ben Roethlisberger three times... The defensive effort pleases San Francisco’s own quarterback. “No question, lights out,” Alex Smith would say. “No pun intended.”
Colin Kaepernick sets NFL’s single-game rushing record for a quarterback with a 181-yard rushing performance against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divisional Playoffs. Kaepernick rushes for a 56-yard touchdown and celebrates with his signature “Kaepernicking” pose. The 49ers quarterback also throws for two more touchdowns in a 45-31 victory. San Francisco would win the franchise’s sixth NFC Championship the following week, but came up short in Super Bowl XLVII.
The final concert in Candlestick’s history takes place... Accomplished, Grammy-winning recording artists Jay Z and Justin Timberlake bring their “Legends of the Summer” tour to Candlestick on a cold Friday night… The two-hour show is attended by 53,000 paying customers who fill the stadium to see the performers' greatest hits.
The 49ers host the final regular season game at Candlestick Park against the Atlanta Falcons... The game marks the 350th played by the 49ers in their longtime home… “It’s an iconic venue,” Jim Harbaugh says when asked to sum up his feelings before the farewell game. “It’d be an honor to be on that sideline for the last game at Candlestick, and we want to win it"... The 49ers go on to win the game, 34-24, in epic fashion... In the 4th quarter, after closing the gap to 3 points and receiving a crucial onside kick, the Falcons seem poised to score a go-ahead touchdown and threaten the festivities of the final game at Candlestick... However, The 'Stick has one last moment left when Tramaine Brock breaks up a Matt Ryan pass and NaVorro Bowman takes it 89-yards to the house, sealing the legacy of the historic venue and sending the 49ers into the playoffs.