Tuesday, March 31, 2009

This guy was a Giant*

Herman Franks lived to be 95! I wish we could all be so lucky. He played pro ball, scouted and coached, and managed the San Francsico Giants and their pantheon of Hall of Famers. He was--reportedly--a well-liked, happy guy, who was also a shrewd investor and thus a "man of means." What more do any of us want from life?

My earliest baseball memory is the 1967 World Series between the Red Sox and Cardinals. My mom's from Boston, and "The Impossible Dream" team with Yastrzemski, Lonborg, Petrocelli and the like have a permanent place in my mind. I would say the 1968 and 1969 seasons (when Willie McCovey was god and a young hotshot named Bonds was dazzling everyone) were the beginning of my lifelong love affair with the Giants. My mom--the real ball fan in the family--always had the radio on, KSFO 560 with Lon Simmons, Russ Hodges and Bill Thompson. Lon also did the 49ers games with Hugh McElhenny as the "color man." Thus were my brothers and I indoctrinated into SF-fandom. Herman Franks was my first Giants manager. Clyde King took us to the playoffs in 1971 (my dad took us to this game--I remember Willie Mac's HR). Then we had that long, long haul until Roger Craig (and Will Clark) got us back in 1987. Along the way I met my RMC compadres, and we've spent a large part of the last 25-30 years feeding each other's Giants addictions. RIP, Mr. Franks. Thanks for the memories.

"This guy was a Giant. Some guys are Dodgers. Other guys are Cubs, like (Ernie) Banks. This guy was a Giant," said friend Joey Amalfitano, who played for the Giants in the '50s and '60s and now is in spring training with the Giants' minor-leaguers as a special assistant. (John Shea, Chronicle, 31 Mar)

1 comment:

Brother Bob said...

Sad to say, 4 straight second place finishes constitutes a "golden age" for SF Giants fans. But it truly was. We took the greatness of Mays for granted. Hodges and Simmons were brilliant.
In this era all those teams would have made the post season.