Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Semi-Random Reminiscence

A while back, for no apparent reason, I wrote a post about the year 1936. This will explain why I wrote that.
When I watched videos of the Giants' victory parade after winning the World Series I was reminded of a much more laid-back parade I attended in 1976. The team had just been sold by Horace Stoneham to Bob Lurie, which prevented the franchise from being moved to Toronto. I attempted an internet search of the parade so I could recount some of the details, but there was really nothing to be found, as it was essentially a very minor event. So I googled Horace Stoneham and learned that he had acquired the team from his father in 1936. While reading about that I found the other occurrences of that time fascinating enough to warrant a post, which was intended to be a prequel to the story I am finally about to tell.
I lived in the City at the time and read in the Chronicle that there was to be a parade downtown to celebrate the team staying SF. I took the J Church streetcar to Montgomery and walked to where the parade was to begin.
The parade consisted of a few convertibles and a few flat-bed trucks. My favorite player at the time was John "The Count" Montefusco. I spotted him and started walking along side his truck, yelling "Yay Count!" and so forth. The parade was to end at Union Square, where there would be a rally, so I figured I'd just walk along with the parade.
After about a block the Count said to me, "Hey, why don't you hop aboard," so I did. He made a point of telling everyone in earshot about the other player on the truck, John D'Acquisto, and that he was a fine pitcher also. Johnny D was more shy than the Count. For that matter, so are 99% of the people in the world.
A very, very trivial detail: the Count and Johnny D were tossing little bags of something to the crowd. The Chronicle next day reported that they were peanuts. The Chronicle was wrong. They were seed packs of Kentucky Wonder Beans. For the life of me I'll never know why they were tossing these to the spectators.
The rest is pretty much a blur in my memory, up until a moment after the rally. The players were leaving the square and I was standing around cheering for them. Chris Speier was walking right toward me and I said "I hope you hit .300 this year," he stopped and looked me in the eye and looked genuinely moved, we shook hands, and he said "I hope so too."


Brother Bob said...

Footnotes: Speier batted .226 that season and the next year he was traded to the Expos. Montefusco threw a no-hitter September 29, 1976 against the Braves.

M.C. O'Connor said...

I was a Sporting Green junkie as a kid--back when it was actually green. I remember reading about the event. Lurie had a partner--Bud Herseth--who had made his money in cattle. I remember thinking that was funny at the time, the city slicker & the cowpoke owning the club.

Zo said...

Bob Lurie was a hero, a later not so much when he almost sold the team to Tampa Bay (shuddering at the thought).