This Day in Giants History, February 27, 1962: Saran Wrap for Candlestick Park

An architect offers a proposal to encase Candlestick Park in a plastic screen “saran cloth” to shield it from the wind.

Vice President Richard Nixon, at the first game at Candlestick Park, on April 12, 1960, called it “the finest ballpark in America.” He was wrong. There had been problems from the start. The park was saddled with two grand jury investigations of business deals leading to its construction. Teamsters went on strike, and the stadium failed to pass its first fire inspection because of inadequate exits. The state-of-the-art steam-heating system, designed to have 35,000 feet of iron pipe installed one inch into the concrete, was actually installed five inches into the concrete, rendering it useless. The umpires during the first game discovered that foul poles were accidentally placed in fair territory. The cost to construct the park went over budget by $10 million, and not surprisingly, the stadium wasn’t finished in the time mandated by the bond issue that funded it.

But none of these were the worst of the new stadium’s features. When the site had originally been chosen, officials had toured it in the morning. However, by late afternoon there was a strong wind coming in off the San Francisco Bay. The park’s orientation actually made the wind, sometimes feeling hurricane-like, worse. Home runs were made into pop-ups, and fielders circled under fly balls trying to gauge where they would drop.

Sam Cohen, a minority owner of the Giants, suggested in 1962 a plan to alleviate the wind problem at Candlestick Park. His $2.3 million fix would wrap the ballpark with “Saran Wrap.” An architect prepared a drawing, but the rendition omitted the light towers, and so it is was not clear how much thought had been given to whether the light might have penetrated the plastic top during night games.

(For more on what Giants’ players and their opponents thought of the ‘Stick, go here.)

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