Hogan: Baseball Seals in San Francisco

From SABR member Larry Hogan at The National Pastime Museum on July 7, 2014:

The 1958 baseball season featured the longstanding Dodgers and Giants, but with one profound difference. Both teams were now based in California, bringing Major League Baseball to the West Coast. The relocation of these teams to Los Angeles and San Francisco, however, was far from the introduction of the game of baseball to the West Coast. The beginning of one tradition typically reflects an end to another. And with the introduction of Major League Baseball to California, the spotlight was removed from the minor league teams that garnered headlines for decades, especially in San Francisco.

The San Francisco Seals were steeped in tradition and developed some of the best baseball talent of the early twentieth century. Most important, however, the team created memories for the baseball fans of the Bay Area.

In the early 1950s as a young fan hanging around the San Francisco Seals’ 18,600-seat ballpark, soon-to-be Seals batboy Mike Murphy was connecting to a minor league tradition rich in lore and achievement. He remembers the stadium as a “great little ballpark, easy to get to from anywhere in the city.” For someone who does not know San Francisco, the actual “getting to” for a twelve-year-old does not sound all that easy to negotiate. “Living in the Excelsior District, I used to take the 14 Mission all the way up to 16th Street, then take the streetcar up to Bryant.” Complicated though the trip may have been, the Seals’ ballpark became the center of the youngster’s universe. In his fourth year with the club, and its last as the baseball center of San Francisco, the young batboy witnessed former Yankee standout Joe Gordon lead the team to its 13th and final Pacific Coast League championship with a 101–67 record.

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/baseball-seals-san-francisco

Originally published: July 7, 2014. Last Updated: July 7, 2014.