San Francisco, CA 94107
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Oracle Park, with its breathtaking views and classic design, received rave reviews throughout the country as one of the smash hits of 2000.
The first privately financed ballpark in Major League Baseball since Dodger Stadium (1962), the Giants' new home features an inspiring nine-foot statue of America's greatest living ballplayer, Willie Mays, at the public entrance; Portuguese water dogs who fetch home runs that splash into McCovey Cove (named after another Hall of Fame Willie); an 80-foot Coca-Cola bottle with playground slides and miniature Oracle Park behind left field that has become a magnet for kids of all of ages; and mass public transit that rivals any sports complex in the world.
Columnist Peter Gammons wrote: 'It's hard to say what's best about [SBC] Park, except that it is San Francisco. The view from the worst seats in the house still gives you a view of the Bay Bridge and the marina. As great as Camden Yards, Turner Field, The Jake and Coors Field are, this is the best fan's ballpark because it was conceived, built and paid for by Giants owner Peter Magowan, a legitimate baseball fan.'
Magowan, who led a group of San Francisco business leaders in saving the Giants from moving to Florida in an 11th-hour effort in 1992, always knew the Giants franchise was not secure in San Francisco until a new ballpark was built to replace much-maligned Candlestick Park.
With an ambitious financing plan in place, the Giants' president joined club Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Larry Baer in orchestrating a marketing campaign that reaped 29,500 season ticket holders, including 15,000 Charter Seat members. To put those figures in perspective, only three previous times in franchise history had the Giants sold more than even 10,000 season tickets, with an all-time high of 13,200 in 1994. What's more, the Charter Seat total more than tripled the previous record for a Major League Baseball team.
For his vision and leadership, Magowan was '2000 Executive of the Year' by Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal. While certainly a prestigious honor to receive, perhaps the greatest reward for Magowan that year was merely watching endless capacity crowds jam into the city's sparkling new jewel by the bay, and simply knowing that Giants baseball is alive and well in San Francisco -- today and for many generations to come.
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