It was the summer of 1980, I was a young boy, 7 years old, and about to attend my first A's Game. I remember being very excited about going and I knew it was a big deal to go to a "real" baseball game. My Mom had me all set up with a new A's cap and T-shirt and I was ready to go. This day was going to be great, me, my Mom and my Grandpa enjoying a baseball game together. I don't remember much about the game, who the A's were playing or what the final score was. I do remember seeing Crazy George standing on the dug out encouraging the fans to cheer on the A's. I was hooked and this is what set me up to be an A's fan for the rest of my life.
I would attend several more games through my preteen years, many times going with my parents and many times going with my Grandpa. My Grandpa was a ticket taker at the Coliseum for many years and he really loved that job, he got to watch the games of his beloved A's for free once he was done taking tickets. You see, my Grandpa wasn't rich, he worked as a clerk at Safeway all his career and he really valued being able to work at the games and as he would say, get paid to watch the A's.
When I was in High School I would attend as many games as possible, my Grandpa would go with me when he could. He sure loved to see the A's win and man was he a fan of the Home Run. Most of these games we would just sit out in the left field bleachers and enjoy the sun, the game, and chatting about sports. When I graduated from High School I was given the greatest gift ever, season tickets for the A's. That was in 1991, so these were good times to be an A's fan, they were at the end of their of World Series appearances but they were still a darn good team. I renewed those season tickets that were given to me, every year for ten years.
My Grandpa lived alone in Hayward and as I grew older, him and I grew closer. We would still attend A's games and I would go visit him at home. Sometimes, I would pop in and we would go to his favorite restaurant, Banchero's, in Hayward. Every time that I would go over we would talk about sports, usually the A's and the Raider's his two favorite teams. He would get so upset about some of the "dumb" moves that he thought these teams were making. He didn't understand much about the stats of the game, just what he read in the paper and saw with his own two eyes,this is how he evaluated his teams.
My Grandpa also loved to go to the casino and through my 20's and 30's I would often pick him up and take him to Reno or Cache Creek. Sometimes we would just head over to Golden Gate Fields and spend a day watching the ponies run. In December we took an overnight trip up to Reno and he had so much fun, he loved to play those machines and shoot some craps every now and then. As we were walking through Circus Circus, he said, what do you think about them A's this year. I said, I don't know I think we are about a year away from being serious. He looked up at the futures board and saw that the A's were 125 to 1 to win the World Series and 60 to 1 to win the AL Pennant. He said, well I think that is worth $20 and he placed $20 on each wager.
Why, you say, do I write about this? Well my Grandpa passed away yesterday at Kaiser in Hayward, at the age of 90. My Grandpa worked his entire life, he was still working a small job at a local carwash up until January of this year when he became ill. My Grandpa was someone that I really admired and looked up to. My Grandpa is the reason that I am a huge fan of the Oakland Athletics and a huge part of who I am today. I want to thank him for turning me into an A's Fan and for all of the great times that we had together, I will miss him tremendously. I would love to be heading up to Reno in November to cash those tickets my Grandpa bought last year! Go A's!!
This is My Grandpa, taken about two weeks ago. Some of you may know him or recognize him from the many years that he worked at the Coliseum.