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March 2008 Archives

Opening Day! 50th Anniversary Of Lefty O'Douls

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8:00 p.m. March 25

Its Opening Day!
At least it is in Japan, where baseball's Oakland A's are hosting the Boston Red Sox. But this one almost got by me. March 22 was the 50th Anniversary of the opening of Lefty O'Douls, 333 Geary Blvd. in San Francisco. Lefty's may be the longest running sports bar in America.
According to file reports from the San Francisco Chronicle, Mayor George Christopher showed up for the 1958 opening with two Pan American Airlines flight attendants (Lefty was one of the first liasions between Japanese and American baseball) and elder actor Eddie Nugent wore a coachman's uniform and carried a trumpet. Lefty was there. A box of home plate dirt was imported from his beloved Polo Grounds.
It makes me want to go to O'Douls for a beer. RIght now.
But since I am in Chicago, I'll revisit this edited version of an August, 2003 report I filed for the Sun-Times........,

SAN FRANCISCO--One long ago morning after seeing Tom Jones get slammed by brassieres at the House of Blues nightclub in Los Angeles, a friend and I were hit by road fever. We decided to take a day trip up Highway 101 to San Francisco. It's not unusual to see the Golden Gate Bridge. And have dinner in North Beach at Ristorante Fior d'Italia, 601 Union, the oldest Italian restaurant in America (est. 1886). Or laugh at the hippies playing hackey-sack in the Haight.
But our destination was Lefty O' Doul's, the last great sports bar in America. The California sky was as blue as our Advil. She had the top down on her red Mazda and music from Tom Jones' "Live in Las Vegas" tumbled into the air like lucky dice. By the time we reached Santa Barbara, I was feeling so good I began regaling her with stories of Lefty, who opened his San Francisco restaurant and bar in 1958.
Lefty was born in 1897 in San Francisco. He always dressed in green. He had green suits, green pants, green hats and green socks. He had green eyes. Lefty is the only major league player ever to hit more than 30 home runs and strike out fewer than 20 times in the same season. He had a lifetime .349 batting average in 970 major league games.......

Dave Hoekstra

Dave Hoekstra has been a Chicago Sun-Times staff writer since 1985. His collection of Sun-Times travel columns, "Ticket To Everywhere," was published in 2000 by Lake Claremont Press. He was lead writer for "Farm Aid: Song for America" (Rodale Press, 2005) which commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Willie Nelson inspired effort.
He won a 1987 Chicago Newspaper Guild Stick O-Type Award for Column Writing. Hoekstra wrote and co-proudced the WTTW-Channel 11 PBS special: "The Staple Singers and the Civil Rights Movement," nominated for a 2001-02 Chicago Emmy for a documentary program/cultural significance.
He lives in Chicago.


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This page is an archive of entries from March 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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