Bay Area sports history lives through stadium workers

SAN FRANCISCO — Giants. Athletics. 49ers. Raiders. The Bay Area has had a storied sports history and seen many teams move to and from the area. In fact, of those four teams, only the 49ers have spent their entire history in San Francisco. Sometimes it can be hard to capture all of that history. However, by taking a look at the staff of AT&T Park, and listening to the stories they have to tell, one can find remnants of Bay Area sports history.

On Aug. 1, I attended a Giants home game for the first time, and spoke to Ron Vezzali, who works at a merchandise kiosk on the reserve level.  Throughout his lifetime, Vezzali had worked at Candlestick Park, the Oakland Coliseum and AT&T Park, at 49ers, A’s and Giants games. He calls himself a Giants fan first, but still roots for the A’s.

Vezzali began working in stadiums in 1989, when he was just 20 years old, not much older than I am. It was pretty incredible for me to stand there and talk to a man who had witnessed some of the greatest history in the sport of baseball. Recently, he had seen his beloved Giants win the World Series and had seen Matt Cain throw a perfect game.

However, for Vezzali, none of these memories tops the memory of June 11, 1990. The Texas Rangers were visiting Vezzali’s current place of employment, the Oakland Coliseum. On that day, Nolan Ryan tossed his sixth of what would be seven no-hitters for his career. Not only was that a great memory for 33,436 fans in attendance that day, but it was a great memory for everyone at the ballpark, including Vezzali.

In an area where it seems that teams come and go faster than the tides, it is nice to have a place where the people can contain more history than some of the buildings themselves. That is why while some people may see Ron Vezzali as the guy who wants to sell them a T-shirt or a hat, I will see him as a reflection of all of the history of Bay Area sports.