San Francisco says goodbye to Candlestick


A couple of overzealous fans couldn't go home right away after police caught them trying to walk away with two seats from Candlestick Park. They managed to make it out of the main gate before police stopped them.

Fans began arriving at Candlestick early in the day, eager to tailgate and share memories of the past 42 years. It was a final day to appreciate the place and mindset in which, if you showed up wearing red, you were part of the family.

For the Lindquist family, tailgating at Candlestick was act of togetherness that goes back decades. It began in 1990 when then 10-year-old Jenny received a small Christmas tree and put it in her room. On a whim, the family began taking to football games.

"The game closest to Christmas, we would decorate it," Jenny said. "In 1995 we planted it, so it has been decorated every year since then."

Monday, they did so again, probably for the last.

It was also a who's who of superstars at Candlestick. Jerry Rice and Dwight Clark, who had some of the biggest catches in history, were on hand for the game. Clark took a moment to mark the spot of "The Catch," voted the most famous play in Candlestick's history.

"I don't think there's any question, as far as the San Francisco 49ers go and our Super Bowl runs and our history of success in the '80s and the '90s, it started with 'The Catch,'" former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. said.

For all the problems at rundown Candlestick, those who consider it hallowed ground don't want to hear about the negatives, but the nostalgia.

"It was our dump, so we could talk bad about it," Clark said, "but we didn't want anybody else to talk bad about it."

The 49ers shared Candlestick with the Giants until the baseball club moved into its downtown waterfront ballpark in 2000.

The 49ers are moving south to a plush new home, Levi's Stadium, in Santa Clara next season.

The 49ers won the Monday night game against the Atlanta Falcons 34-24, clinching a playoff berth.

Wayne Freedman, Sergio Quintana, Mike Shumann and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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