Tuesday, March 20, 2007

San Francisco Giants Ballpark to go Solar. Lefty O'Doul Retrospective.

The home of the San Francisco Giants will soon be powered by solar energy. Yahoo News Reuters excerpt:

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California utility Pacific Gas & Electric Co. will install a solar energy system at the San Francisco Giants' AT&T Park, believed to be the first solar power plant at a major league baseball park.

The utility, a unit of San Francisco-based PG&E Corp., will place 590 solar panels at the park to produce 123 kilowatts of electricity, enough energy to light up a new scoreboard or power about 25 homes, PG&E said on Tuesday.

The system will be ready in time for baseball's All-Star game on July 10 at AT&T Park.

As long as we are doing something new, why not rename the stadium to something more fitting the rich baseball tradition of this fine city. Please join me and my good friend Miss Templeton in urging the powers that be to change the name of this ballpark to Lefty O'Doul Stadium. O'Doul was a lifetime .349 hitter in the majors in 970 games with the Yankees, Red Sox, Giants, Phillies, Dodgers. He won NL batting crowns in 1929 with a .398 mark for the Phillies with a league record 254 hits (tied with Bill Terry who matched him the following season for the Giants) and in 1932 with a .368 for the Dodgers.

O'Doul also had a fine career in the Pacific Coast League, in which he excelled as a player and manager. Lefty hit .354 in 1,068 games for San Francisco, Hollywood, Salt Lake City and Vancouver (for whom he hit a pinch-triple in 1956 at the age of 59). Playing the long PCL schedules (between 180 and 200 games a season) he led that league in the following categories:

  • Hits with 309 for Salt Lake City in 1925 and again with 278 for Hollywood in 1927.
  • Triples in 1925 with 17.
  • Runs scored with 164 in 1927.
  • Total bases with 428 in 1927.
In addition to his hitting prowess, O'Doul was also a long-time manager in the PCL. He managed the San Francisco Seals from 1935-1951, the San Diego Padres from 1952-54 and Oakland Oaks in 1955. He stayed with that club when they moved to Vancouver in 1956. His career managerial record was 2008-1890 for a .515 winning percentage. He managed the Seals to first-place finishes in 1935 and 1946, and the Padres in 1954. O'Doul is also credited with having been a top ambassador of the game to Japan.

In addition, Lefty O'Doul's Restaurant & Cocktail Lounge has been a San Francisco landmark since its opening in 1958. What more reason do we need to rename the place where the Giants play?

Special thanks to the invaluable The Pacific Coast League: A Statistical History, 1903-1957 by Dennis Snelling for help in compiling O'Doul's numbers.

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Miss Templeton said...

Listerplus! The very SECOND I saw that Yahoo headline about the renewable energy ballpark (If you build solar panels, the rays will come...) I thought only of you! It's just a pleasure to know that you have the lead in blogging the news and then took the opportunity to praise Mr. O'Doul.

I shall be enjoying my usual Friday lunch at Lefty's Geary Street joint this very week. A pint will be lifted in your honor.

listerplus said...

Miss Templeton,

You honor me! Thanks for the pint and the kind words!

I shall have to make a pilgrimage to San Francisco to get a taste of this establishment first hand!