Growing Up with the Giants

As Ed Sagmeister, 78, prepares to take his grandson to a Padres game in San Diego, he reminisced about growing up with the NY Giants. Ed’s dad Frank, an Austrian immigrant, started a 60-year career with the Giants in 1930. Frank was in charge of changing light bulbs at The Polo Grounds in New York City. Frank worked his way up to park superintendent. In 1958 when the baseball team became the SF Giants, Frank and his only son Ed moved to San Francisco. Frank helped coordinate the building of Candlestick Park.

Ed and all his Memorabilia

Ed has many favorite memories of growing up with the Giants — such as playing catch with Willie Mays. Ed emphasized, “I grew up with a dad who went to the ballpark every day for work.” Ed wanted to work in the ballpark too. His first job was selling peanuts at games. He walked the stands yelling, “Get your hot peanuts.”

While studying finance on a scholarship at the University of San Francisco, Ed worked as the scoreboard keeper at Candlestick Park. “The pay was pretty sound. $20 a ball game and all the beer you wanted,” recounted Ed. The rumors of wild Friday night scoreboard parties and the “stealing” of opposing team signals are (slightly) overstated.

Candlestick Park
Candlestick Park in San Francisco California under construction in 1958.

Ed’s most unforgettable memory is the moment when the “Shot heard ‘round the world” happened on October 3, 1951. Ed was out playing in the street in the Bronx. He ran into the house to find his mother on her knees with a rosary in her hands. The radio was on and Ed could hear the announcer reporting live on the Brooklyn Dodgers versus the Giants game. As Ed told this story his voice sounded just like a radio announcer: “It was the ninth inning, the Giants were down 4 to 2.” This was the decisive third game of a three-game playoff for the National League pennant. “From my mom’s view, if the Giants win Frank gets a bonus,” explained Ed. “That bonus was the difference between hamburger or turkey for Thanksgiving.”

New York Times article

Giants Bobby Thomson hit a line drive into the lower deck. It was a home run and the crowd went crazy. The winning score was 5 to 4. The Giants win the pennant. Frank got his bonus and the Sagmeisters had turkey dinner on Thanksgiving.

Frank had collected 60 years of memorabilia including Bobby Thomson’s warm up jacket and a collection of silk ties gifted from Lorraine Day, the actress wife of Manager Leo Durocher. He also received something of priceless value: A lifetime pass for any game, anywhere, anytime — including the World Series.

Ed (right), an only child, inherited his father’s lifetime pass and continues to use it to share his love of baseball with his grandchildren.

Ed and his wife Anne moved to Altavita Village in 2005 and continue to enjoy life at the community in Riverside, California.