A little baseball in San Francisco

My wife and I went to San Francisco over the previous weekend. We’re expecting out third child, and we knew we would not have another chance to travel again for a long time. The Bay Area was our destination because my wife got her masters in chemistry at Berkeley, and we dated long distance while she was in school and I was holding a job in the Carolinas.

So, we dropped off our two kids with the in-laws (awesome folks) and flew across the county. We stayed in San Francisco, and tromped all over the city (and most of Berkeley). While I was trying to focus on recalling dating memories, baseball (and baseball cards) kept on crossing our path. Of course, I saw plenty of San Francisco Giants garb. There was also an Oakland A’s poster on a BART subway car. But, I’m not talking modern baseball. I’m talking about San Francisco’s baseball roots – the Pacific Coast League.

One encounter was the Joe Dimaggio Playground. This place is in North Beach, close to Chinatown. We were walking along the street and were greeted by a sign announcing the playground. Apparently Dimaggio grew up in the area and used the playground. Of course, Dimaggio also played for the San Francisco Seals in the PCL from 1932 through 1934. (Image used without permission from Travis Bickle55‘s Flickr page.)

Alright! Dimaggio! What could be next? Well, just around the corner from our hotel on Union Square was Lefty O’Doul’s Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge. O’Doul both played for and later managed the San Francisco Seals. The restaurant was apparently opened in 1958 by O’Doul if I properly understand the lounge’s website. It sits just off Union Square on Geary St. (Image used without permission from dionhinchcliffe‘s Flickr page.)

How could this get any better? How about Rube Marquard’s cigar shop!?! Incredible! Well, at least that’s what I thought. As it turns out, this shop has nothing to do with Rube Marquard. (As it turns out, Rube Marquard never came anywhere near the PCL. He played for Indianapolis in the American Association.) The cigar shop was apparently opened by a guy named Chuck Marquard who owned the place until around 1960. It is now a hat store, but the owners have kept the old marque. The store sits on Powell St. just above the end of the cable car line – lots of tourist traffic. (Image used without permission from www.mikehumbert.com.)

Overall, it was an awesome trip. Even though we didn’t go to a game, baseball still managed to make the weekend more fun.

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