Wednesday, November 14, 2018

How to Be a Devils Fan In Carolina -- 2018-19 Edition

The New Jersey Devils travel to play the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh next Sunday night. The 'Canes have given the Devils fits over the years, including in the Playoffs.

They didn't seem to do so from 1982 to 1997, when they were known as the Hartford Whalers. (They were the New England Whalers of the World Hockey Association from 1972 to 1979, then were brought into the NHL and changed their name to the Hartford Whalers.) But as the 'Canes, yikes. That loss at home in Game 7 of the 1st Round in 2009, going from 3-2 up with 1:20 to go to losing 4-3, still sticks in my craw.

Needless to say, I don't like the Hurricanes. And hockey doesn't belong in the South, anyway. Y'all go back to Hartford, y'hear?

Before You Go. Being in the South, it's going to be warmer in Raleigh than in Newark. But, this being November, it won't be hot. For next Sunday, the Raleigh News & Observer is predicting high 50s for daylight, but dropping to the high 30s for night. But no rain.

Raleigh is in the Eastern Time Zone, so you won't have to fiddle with your timepieces. It is in North Carolina, a former Confederate State, but you won't need your passport or to change your money.

Tickets. The Hurricanes averaged 13,320 fans per game last season -- and that's an improvement by over 1,500 per game over the previous season. It's only 71 percent of capacity. No team in the NHL has a lower percentage, and only the Islanders and the Arizona Coyotes drew fewer per game. For the sake of comparison, the Whalers averaged 13,680 fans per game, or 87 percent of capacity, in their last season before the move. So tickets shouldn't be very hard to come by.

Tickets in the lower level, the 100 sections, are $138 between the goals and $86 behind them. In the 200 sections, they're $135 between and $108 behind. the upper level, the 300 sections, they're $52 between and $30 behind.

Getting There. It's 510 miles from the Prudential Center in Newark to the PNC Arena in Raleigh. It's in that tricky range: A bit too close to fly, a bit too far to go any other way.

If you're going to drive, take the New Jersey Turnpike/Interstate 95 South all the way from New Jersey to Petersburg, Virginia. There, Interstate 85 will split off. Take that South to Exit 178. Take U.S. Route 70 South to Interstate 40 East, and Exit 289 will put you on Wade Avenue. Edwards Mill Road will be about half a mile ahead, and turn right for the arena.

You'll be in New Jersey for about an hour and a half, Delaware for 20 minutes, Maryland for 2 hours, inside the Capital Beltway (Maryland, District of Columbia and Virginia) for half an hour if you're lucky (and don't make a rest stop anywhere near D.C.), Virginia for 3 hours, and North Carolina for an hour and a half. Throw in traffic at each end, rest stops, preferably in Delaware, near Richmond and near Raleigh, and it'll be close to 12 hours.

Greyhound has 9 buses a day leaving from Port Authority to Raleigh, but only 3 of them are no-changeover routes. It costs as much as $244 round-trip (though it can be as low as $164 on advanced purchase). The trip takes 13 hours, including a long layover to change buses in Richmond. The station is at 2210 Capital Blvd., 3 miles northeast of downtown. Take the Number 1 or 3 bus in.

Amtrak's Carolinian leaves Newark's Penn Station at 7:39 AM, and arrives at Raleigh at 5:08 PM, ordinarily giving you enough time to get to a hotel and then to the game the same night. On Monday morning, the Silver Star leaves Raleigh at 8:45 and arrives back in Newark at 6:23 PM. Round-trip fare is $250. The station is at Cabarrus and West Streets, 8 blocks southwest of the State House. Take the Number 11 bus in.

Perhaps the best way to get from New York to Raleigh is by plane. If you fly United Airlines out of Newark, and you order your ticket online at this writing, you could get a nonstop round-trip flight for under $200. No, that's no joke, and no misprint.

Once In the City. Both North Carolina and South Carolina were named for the King of England at the time of their initial settlements, King Charles I. Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina, was named for Sir Walter Raleigh, the English soldier who led the early English colonization of the Atlantic Coast (Virginia and the Carolinas).

Founded in 1792, Raleigh is home to about 460,000 people, making it the 2nd-largest city in the State, behind Charlotte. The Raleigh-Durham area, known as the Triangle (or the "Research Triangle," to give it a tech-savvy nickname to suggest it's an East Coast version of the Silicon Valley) is home to a about 2.1 million people. This ranks it 25th among NHL markets, and would rank it 27th in the NBA, 29th in the NFL, and 30th in MLB, ahead of only Milwaukee. Don't expect it to ever get a team in the other markets, though.

The State House is the divider for addresses. The north-south divider is New Bern Avenue east of the State House, and Hillsborough Street west of it. The east-west divider is Halifax Street north of the State House, and Fayetteville Street south of it.
The State House

Capital Area Transit runs buses around Raleigh. The fare is $2.25. GoTriangle serves the Triangle region: Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. There is a light rail system being planned for the area, but it won't open before 2026.

The sales tax in North Carolina is 4.75 percent, but it rises to 6.75 percent in Raleigh. The sales tax in North Carolina is 4.75 percent, but it rises to 6.75 percent in Raleigh. ZIP Codes for Raleigh and Chapel Hill start with the digits 275 and 276; and for Durham, 277. The Area Code for the area is 919, overlaid by 984. Interstate 540 is an incomplete beltway for the area. Progress Energy runs the local electricity.

The Raleigh-Durham area is about 70 percent white, 22 percent black, 5 percent Hispanic and 3 percent Asian. Durham County (including Durham), however, has about twice as many black people as Wake County (including Raleigh), and about 3 times as many as Orange County (including Chapel Hill).

North Carolina is known for its beaches on "The Outer Banks," or "OBX." This includes Kill Devil Hill, with the Wright Brothers National Memorial, on roughly the location where Orville Wright, with brother Wilbur Wright watching, took off in Flyer I on December 17, 1903, marking the 1st heavier-than-air human flight. The Outer Banks are centered on Nags Head, about 193 miles east of the State House in Raleigh, and 199 miles east of the Hurricanes' arena.

Going In. The official address of the PNC Arena is 1400 Edwards Mill Road, at E. Stephen Stroud Way, about 5 miles west of downtown Raleigh. Stroud Way separates it from Carter-Finley Stadium, home field of the football team at North Carolina State University. N.C. State also uses PNC Arena as its basketball home, succeeding the Reynolds Coliseum, where it won National Championships in 1974 and 1983.

Parking is $15. If you're using public transportation, use Bus 100. That will get you to Blue Ridge Road at the State Fairgrounds, but then you'll have to make a left on Trinity Road to the stadium and the arena.
The arena opened in 1999 as the Raleigh Entertainment & Sports Arena, and was named the RBC Center from 2002 to 2012. The name was changed when PNC bought the U.S. division of the Royal Bank of Canada.
The rink is aligned northwest-to-southeast. The Hurricanes attack twice at the southeast end, the sections with 2 and 3 as the middle digit.

Food. This is the South, tailgate party country, and North Carolina is among the places in this country particularly known for good barbecue. Tailgating is usually not done before NHL games, but there are enough options to satisfy all but the most discriminating foodie.

A bar called The Locker Room is at Section 110. Pub 300 is at, no, not Section 300, but Section 312. North Carolina BBQ Company is at 104, 115, 123, 130, 306 and 326; The Carvery sandwiches and chips (potato chips, not what the British call thick-cut fries) at 104 and 123; Metro Deli at 104 and 326; Sausage Stop at 105, 120 and 304; Rituals Coffee Company at 105 and 120; Dos Bandidos pseudo-Mexican food at 112; South Street Cheese Steaks ("cheesesteak" is one word, guys) at 123 and 324; Fire It Up! Grill Stands (burgers, chicken, fries, onion rings, corn dogs) at 130 and 301;

For dessert, there's Nutty Bavarian at 101, 116 and 316; Gourment Pretzels (as if there is such a thing) at 103, 118 and 304; Breyes Ice Cream at 105, 110, 126, 309 and 329; Dippin' Dots at 105, 110, 120, 306 and 326; Sinfully Sinnamon at 110, 128 and 304; Twisted Waffle at 116 and 322; Poppin' Plants popcorn and cotton candy at 118, 124, 130 and 324.

Team History Displays. Despite having been around for only 22 seasons (21 if you don't count the canceled 2004-05), the 'Canes do have some history, which they display with banners for their 2006 Stanley Cup; their 2002 and 2006 Eastern Conference titles; and their 1999, 2002 and 2006 Division Championships.
The name banners are not in place of retired numbers.
They represent Olympians on their team.

Their retired number history is complicated. When the Whalers moved to Carolina to begin the 1997-98 season, the previously retired Number 2 for Rick Ley (defenseman, 1972-1981) and Number 19 for John McKenzie (right wing, 1977-79) were returned to circulation. The Hurricanes have never issued Number 9, which Gordie Howe wore with the Whalers (right wing, 1977-80), and consider it unofficially retired, as there is no banner to recognize it.

Number 2 has now been retired anyway, for defenseman Glen Wesley (1994-2008, 1997-2008 in Carolina). Number 10 is retired for Ron Francis (center, 1981-91 in Hartford, 1998-2004 in Carolina). Number 17 is retired for Rod Brind'Amour (center, 2000-10).
Steve Chiasson (defenseman, 1996-99, 1997-99 in Carolina) was killed in a car crash in 1999. The 'Canes have not reissued his Number 3. But they can't officially retire it, because he was driving drunk.

Josef Vasicek (forward, 2000-06, a member of their Cup team) was killed in one of the worst sports-related disasters in world history, the 2011 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl crash, carrying an entire Russian hockey team; 44 died, everyone on board except 1 member of the crew. Vasicek's Number 63 is withheld from circulation, but not officially retired, which is strange, because, A, there's no criminal reason why they can't; and, B, 63 isn't a very common number anyway.

The only Hurricanes in the Hockey Hall of Fame are Francis, Paul Coffey (who spent a year and a half with the team toward the end of his career) and Mark Recchi (at the end of the 2006 season, helping them win the Cup). Chuck Kaiton, the voice of the franchise since it entered the NHL in 1979, is a winner of the Foster Hewitt Award, tantamount to election for broadcasters. He joins fellow Whalers Gordie and Mark Howe (but not Marty), Keon and Hull.

Several Whalers were named to the WHA's All-Time Team: Gordie, Mark and Marty Howe; Rick Ley, John McKenzie, Dave Keon, Al Smith, Andre Lacroix, Ron Plumb, Ted Green and Tom Webster.

Despite the achievements that Ron Francis and Rod Brind'Amour had already had, and would add, when The Hockey News named its 100 Greatest Players in 1998, Gordie Howe was the only player they selected who had played for the Whalers/Hurricanes franchise, unless you count the sad last few games of Bobby Hull. (Not even Keon was named.) Ron Francis was named to the NHL's 100th Anniversary 100 Greatest Players in 2017.

Mark Johnson and Rob McClanahan, members of the 1980 U.S. Olympic team, played for the franchise when it was still the Whalers. No members of the Team Canada that beat the Soviets in the 1972 Summit Series did so.

One of the streets in the parking lot of the arena is named Peter Karmanos Jr. Drive for the team's owner.

Gordie and Mark Howe, former head coaches Larry Pleau and Paul Holmgren, former scout Bob Crocker, and Karmanos have been given the Lester Patrick Trophy, for contributions to hockey in America. But only Karmanos got it for what he did in Carolina; the rest, in Hartford.

The Arena also holds banners for the N.C. State basketball team: Their 1974 and 1983 National Championships, their 1950, 1974 and 1983 Final Four berths, their 13 regular-season conference titles, and their 17 conference tournament wins. They also have 23 "honored numbers," including 1983 heroes Dereck Whittenburg (25), Sidney Lowe (35), Thurl Bailey (41) and Lorenzo Charles (43); but only 1974 hero David "Skywalker" Thompson's Number 44 is actually retired.

Stuff. Official Carolina Hurricanes merchandise is available at multiple The Eye store locations throughout the PNC Arena. For non-event hours, The Eye is located on the south end of the building, across from Carter Finley Stadium, and is accessible through an exterior entrance. 

Hockey is not exactly a glamour sport in the South. In North Carolina in particular, it trails basketball, football and NASCAR (which, of course, is not a sport). So there haven't been many books written about the 'Canes. And, since hurricanes frequently hit the Carolinas (hence the name of the team), if you type "Carolina Hurricanes" into Amazon.com, you get books about local storms.

Erin Butler recently published the Hurricanes' edition in the Inside the NHL series. And after the 2006 Stanley Cup, the sports staff of the News & Observer published a commemorative book, titled Whatever It Takes.

Commemorative DVD sets were produced for the 2006 Cup and the team's 10th Anniversary in 2007, but that's about it as far as videos go. No 20th Anniversary video for 2017.

During the Game. A November 19, 2014 article on The Hockey News' website ranked the NHL teams' fan bases, and listed the 'Canes' fans 23rd out of 30, saying, "Canes put weak product on ice, so fans won't come even if tickets are cheap."

At least your safety is unlikely to be an issue. Unless you're going to a basketball game between Duke University and the University of North Carolina -- especially at Duke -- North Carolina fans, in any sport, don't have a rough reputation.

The 'Canes hold auditions for National Anthem singers, now that former regular Amanda Bell has had to move to Denver for her regular job. Their fans haven't yet come up with a chant more imaginative than "Let's go, 'Canes!" Their theme song is "Noise" by the Chris Hendricks Band. Their goal song is "Song 2" by Blur (a.k.a. "Whoo Hoo"), and, according to actor Liam Neeson, who, despite being from Northern Ireland, is a big hockey fan, the 'Canes have "the manliest goal horn in the league."

Their mascot is Stormy the Ice Hog. Fortunately, he's not a wild boar, a warthog, or even a Razorback hog like the University of Arkansas' mascot. He's a friendly-looking brown pig, whose jersey has Number 97, in honor of the year the team moved to North Carolina.
After the Game. Unlike Charlotte, whose sports facilities are now all downtown, Raleigh's arena and football stadium are in a suburban part of town, 2 islands in a sea of parking. Crime should not be an issue: Most likely, you will be safe, and if you drove in, so will your car.

But this setup also means you'll have a bit of a walk back to public transportation, and to any place serving late-night food and/or drinks. Backyard Bistro is across Trinity Road from the complex, and there's a Wendy's at Trinity Road and Edwards Mill Road. If those aren't good enough for you, you may have to head back downtown.

Downtown Sports Bar in Raleigh is the home of a local Giants fan club. It's at 410 Glenwood Avenue at Anwood Place. There are 2 places worth mentioning just off the N.C. State campus. Amadeo's Italian Restaurant is the home of a local Jets fan club. It's at 3905 Western Blvd. at Whitmore Drive. Fuhgeddaboudit Pizza, at 2504 Hillsborough Street and Horne Street, is said to be covered in various items of New York memorabilia.

If your visit to Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill is during the European soccer season, as we are now in, your best bets for a pub to watch your club are London Bridge Pub, at 110 E. Hargett Street in downtown Raleigh; or Bull McCabe's Irish Pub, at 427 W. Main Street across from the Amtrak and Greyhound stations in downtown Durham.

I should note that the former is owned by Liverpool fans, so if you don't want to be surrounded by Scousers and wannabe Kopites, you may wish to look elsewhere; while the latter is the home of the local Arsenal supporters' club, so if you're not fond of Gooners, you may want to avoid that one.

Sidelights. Charlotte's sports history, at least at the major league level, isn't much, and Raleigh's is even less than that.

* Carter-Finley Stadium. After playing football at Riddick Stadium from 1907 to 1965 (demolished in 2005), North Carolina State moved into Carter Stadium in 1966. It was originally named for brothers Harry C. Carter and Wilbert J. "Nick" Carter, N.C. State graduates and major financial contributors. Albert E. Finley, another big contributor, had his name added in 1979. The playing surface is now named for yet another contributor: Wayne Day Family Field.
Currently seating 57,583, the N.C. State Wolfpack have won 3 Atlantic Coast Conference football titles there, in 1968, 1973 and 1979. This is in addition to the 8 titles they won in their various leagues at Riddick Stadium, for a total of 11: 1907, 1910, 1913, 1927, 1957, 1963, 1964 and 1965. Those last 3 conference titles provided the revenue for the building of a new stadium, to replace the obsolete Riddick. It features a display of 10 retired numbers, including current NFL quarterbacks Philip Rivers (17) and Russell Wilson (16), and former New York Jet Dennis Byrd (77 for them, 90 for the Jets).

It was also home to what's been called the worst team in the history of professional football: The Raleigh-Durham Skyhawks of the World League of American football. Their red, kelly green, black and white uniforms, and their jets in formation leaving vapor trails helmet logo, were weird enough. Their cheerleaders, tapping into the aviation theme and the Wright Brothers' first flight in the Outer Banks in 1903, were named the Kittyhawks. Charlotte Hornets owner George Shinn owned them, and Roman Gabriel, another N.C. State quarterback whose number has been retired (18), was their head coach.

But even with Shinn's money, Gabriel as head coach, and former pro quarterback Johnnie Walton and eventual Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Claude Humphrey as offensive and defensive coordinators, they went 0-10 in a weak league (the WLAF was nicknamed "The Laugh League") in the 1991 season. And, with no beer sold, they averaged just 12,066 fans per home game. (Even the Hurricanes can usually top that.) The team was moved to Columbus for the 1992 season and renamed the Ohio Glory.

Carter-Finley Stadium hosted a summer tour soccer game between Italy's Juventus and Mexico's C.D. Guadalajara (a.k.a. "Chivas") in 2011. It has also hosted concerts by Paul McCartney, Pink Floyd, U2 and, just this past summer, the Rolling Stones. 4600 Trinity Road at Youth Center Drive, separated from the PNC Arena by Stephen Stroud Way.

According to an article in the September 2014 issue of The Atlantic, as you might guess, the Charlotte-based Carolina Panthers, just 168 miles from the State House, are the most popular NFL team not just in Charlotte and in the Raleigh-Durham area, but in the entire State of North Carolina.

However, both Carolinas have significant pockets of support for the Washington Redskins, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys, mainly due to the media saturation (and, in the Redskins' case, proximity is also a cause). In particular, these teams tend to cancel out Panther support in the ocean resort communities, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina and at Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head in South Carolina.

* Reynolds Coliseum. Home to N.C. State basketball from 1949 to 1999, the William Neal Reynolds Coliseum (named for the former chief executive of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and brother of R.J. himself) hosted the Wolfpack teams that won the National Championship in 1974 and 1983, reached the Final Four in 1950, and won the ACC title in the regular season in 1950, '51, '53, '55, '56, '59, '73, '74, '85 and '89; and in the tournament in 1950, '51, '52, '54, '55, '56, '59, '65, '70, '73, '74, '83 and '87. (They haven't won either since moving into the new arena.)
The Coliseum was the home of the ACC Tournament from 1954 to 1966, and has hosted many NCAA Tournament games, and still hosts them for the women's tournament. It remains the home for N.C. State women's basketball and wrestling. It is currently undergoing a renovation that is scheduled to be completed next August, providing more space for offices and a school Athletic Hall of Fame, but also reducing the seating capacity from 9,500 to 5,600. 2411 Dunn Avenue at Jeter Drive (not named for Derek Jeter), next door to the Talley Student Union, 2 miles west of downtown.
The only Final Fours held in the Carolinas have been 1974 at the Greensboro Coliseum (N.C. State interrupting the UCLA dynasty in the Semifinal and beating Marquette in the Final) and 1994 at the 2nd Charlotte Coliseum (Arkansas beating Duke).

According to a May 12, 2014 article in The New York Times, the Charlotte Hornets' reach doesn't get much beyond the Charlotte area. Then again, it doesn't help that the Hornets play 168 miles from downtown Raleigh. The most popular NBA team in the Raleigh-Durham area, as it has been since the dawn of the 21st Century (dovetailing nicely with the post-Michael Jordan fall of the Chicago Bulls), is the Los Angeles Lakers.

* Five County Stadium. Home to the Carolina Mudcats since 1991, the original owner wanted to get as close to downtown Raleigh as possible without infringing on the territory of any other team, including the Greensboro Hornets, which he also owned. Zebulon was as close as the Durham Bulls would let him get.

The Mudcats won Pennants in the Class AA Southern League in 1995 and 2003, but have not won one since moving to the Class A Carolina League in 2012. Ironically, where they were once higher in classification than the Bulls, they are now lower. 1501 State Highway 39 at Old U.S. 264, 26 miles east of the State House. Accessible by car only: No public transportation out there.

* Durham Athletic Park. Made famous by the 1988 film Bull Durham, which jump-started the minor-league baseball craze of the late 20th Century, the Durham Bulls played at the site of "The DAP" from 1926 until 1994 (with a rebuild in 1939-40 after a fire), mostly in the Class A Carolina League. Having already won Pennants in 1924 and '25, they won them at The DAP in 1929, '30, '40, '41, '57, '65 and '67.

The film, which takes place in 1987, the year before it was released (a fact confirmed by the calendar in the manager's office), gives the impression that they weren't very good, and hadn't been for a long time, but got to 1st place by the 4th of July, and then faltered.

In real life, they went 67-75 that season, but they did have 6 players who went on to reach the major leagues: Kevin Brown, Kent Mercker, Mark Lemke, Derek Lilliquist, Gary Eave and Rusty Richards. Not bad for a Single-A team that was 8 games under .500. Then again, this was before their parent club, the Atlanta Braves, got good again in 1991, so they needed whatever help they could get. But Mercker and Lemke were a part of the Braves' quasi-dynasty.

The film made The DAP the most famous minor-league ballpark ever. But the park became a victim of the film's success: Soon, people came flocking to it, and its 5,000-seat capacity was now obsolete. A new ballpark was built, but the old one was left standing, and is still used for local baseball.

428 Morris Street. Unlike the Mudcats' home, The DAP can be reached by public transit from Raleigh. Take Bus 100 to the Regional Transit Center, then switch to Bus 700, and take that to the Durham Amtrak station. Then Bus 4 or a short walk.

* Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The DBAP (pronounced DEE-bap) has been home to the Bulls since 1995, and since 1998 they've been the Triple-A farm team of the Tampa Bay Rays. The Bulls have won International League Pennants there in 2002, '03, '09 and '13, making a total of 13 Pennants in various leagues at various levels.

Although it seats twice as many, 10,000, the Bulls tried to make it as much like the old DAP as possible, including the 305-foot right-field fence, nicknamed the Blue Monster, complete with the famous bull "HIT SIGN WIN STEAK" sign that was erected for the movie and kept. Even the overhanging roof, although up to public safety code, looks pretty much the same. 409 Blackwell Street at Willard Street, a 5-minute walk from the train station.

According to an article in the April 24, 2014 edition of The New York Times, the Yankees are the most popular MLB team in the Triangle, averaging around 26 percent, with the Boston Red Sox at 20 and the Atlanta Braves at around 12. That's mainly due to the national media's exposure of the Yanks and Sox, since the Braves are easily the closest team, 265 miles away. It could also be due to the fact that UNC and Duke have a national reach with their student bodies.

Raleigh's relatively low metropolitan population means it would rank 31st and last in MLB, 29th in the NFL, and 28th in the NBA.

* Duke University. As with the Durham ballparks, reachable by taking Bus 100 to the Regional Transit Center and transferring to Bus 700. Cameron Indoor Stadium, opening in 1940, is at 115 Whitford Drive. Wallace Wade Stadium, opening in 1929, is next door. Wade Stadium hosted the only Rose Bowl away from Pasadena, in 1942, because of concerns over the Pacific Coast just 25 days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Duke lost it to Oregon State. 27 miles northwest of downtown Raleigh, up U.S. Route 70.

* The University of North Carolina. About 28 miles northwest of downtown Raleigh, but in a slightly different direction, on Interstate 40. The Dean E. Smith Student Activities Center, a.k.a. the Dean Dome (where they've won National Championships in 1993, 2005, 2009 and 2017), is at 300 Skipper Bowles Drive. It's just 11 miles between the Dean Dome and Cameron.

The old court, Carmichael Arena, where the Tar Heels played from 1965 to 1986 (and won the National Championship in 1982), is at 310 South Road. Woollen Gymnasium, where they played from 1937 to 1965 (and won the National Championship in 1957), is also at South Road. And Kenan Memorial Stadium, home to Tar Heel football since 1927, is at 104 Stadium Drive.

According to an April 23, 2014 article in The New York Times, the Yankees are actually the most popular MLB team in Raleigh, a little bit ahead of the Atlanta Braves, the 2nd-closest team at 408 miles away. The Washington Nationals are the closest, 278 miles, but are not as popular in the Triangle as either the Yanks or the Braves.

Sahlen's Stadium, part of WakeMed Soccer Park, is the home of the North Carolina Courage, winners of the 2018 National Women's Soccer League Championship. This past October, it also hosted 6 games of the CONCACAF Women's Championships, including 3 U.S. games: A 6-0 win over Mexico, a 5-0 win over Panama, and a 7-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago.

It's also hosted the only 2 games played in the Triangle by the U.S. men's team: A 1-1 draw with Jamaica on April 11, 2006, and 1-0 win over Paraguay this past March 27. 201 Soccer Park Drive, in Cary, about 8 miles west of the State House. Bus 300. The nearest Major League Soccer team is D.C. United, 283 miles.

* Museums. The North Carolina Museum of History and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences are next-door to each other, across Edenton Street from the State House.

The Beatles never performed together in the Raleigh-Durham area, although Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have done so on solo tours. Elvis Presley only did so early in his career, all in Raleigh (never in Durham or Chapel Hill), at the Memorial Auditorium on May 19 and September 21, 1955; and a whopping 4 shows in 1 day at the Ambassador Theater on February 8, 1956. The Memorial Auditorium is now the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, at 2 E. South Street, 7 blocks south of the State House. The Ambassador is at 115 Fayetteville Street, just south of the State House, but was demolished in 1989.

In addition to Raleigh -- and Charlotte, which I've covered in my guides for the Panthers and Hornets -- Elvis sang at the following North Carolina locations:

* In New Bern, at the Shrine Auditorium on May 14 and September 13, 1955.
* In Asheville, at the City Auditorium on May 17 and September 16, 1955, and at the Asheville Civic Center on July 22, 23 and 24, 1975.
* In Thomasville, at the High School Auditorium on September 17, 1955.
* In Wilson, at Fleming Stadium on September 14, 1955, and 3 shows at the Charles L. Coon Auditorium on February 14, 1956.
* In Greensboro, 4 shows in 1 day at the National Theater on February 6, 1956, and at the Greensboro Coliseum on April 14, 1972; March 13, 1974; July 21, 1975; June 30, 1976; and April 21, 1977.
* In High Point, 4 shows in 1 day at the Convention Center on February 7, 1956.
* In Williams, at the High School Auditorium on February 15, 1956.
* In Winston-Salem, 3 shows in 1 day at the Carolina Theater on February 16, 1956.
* In Lexington, at the YMCA Gym on March 21, 1956.
* And in Fayetteville, at the Cumberland County Memorial Arena in Fayetteville on August 3, 4 and 5, 1976.

If you're paying attention, you saw that he did 4 shows in 1 day on February 6, 7, 8 and 10, 1956. That's 16 shows in a span of 5 days. He was 21. It was easier to do that than to do 2 in 1 day when he was packing on the pounds in his early 40s in 1975, '76 and '77.

Andrew Johnson was born in the State capital of Raleigh. His birthplace was a log cabin (which didn't help him as much as it helped his predecessor, Abraham Lincoln) on the grounds of Casso's Inn, where his father worked, at Morgan Street and Fayetteville Street, across from the State House. It was moved to Mordecai Historic Park at 1 Mimosa Street, a mile north of downtown. Number 1 Bus.

He is 1 of 3 Presidents produced by the Carolinas. No one is precisely sure where Andrew Jackson was born -- not even whether it happened in North or South Carolina, only that it was in the Waxhaw region along the State Line. He was the 1st President born in a log cabin, but that cabin is long-gone. Andrew Jackson State Park, at 196 Andrew Jackson Park Road in Lancaster, South Carolina, is considered the likeliest place. It's about 33 miles south of Charlotte and not reachable by public transportation.

James K. Polk State Historical Site is in Pineville, which, like Charlotte, is in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. It's about 12 miles south, at 12031 Lancaster Highway. It's easier to reach without a car: The Number 20 bus can get you to within half a mile.

All 3 Carolina-born Presidents have their main historical sites in Tennessee: Polk is buried on the State House grounds in Nashville; Jackson's home, The Hermitage, is in the Nashville suburbs; and Johnson's Museum is in Greeneville.

Yankee Legend Jim "Catfish" Hunter was from Hertford, North Carolina, 150 miles northeast of Raleigh, in the coastal Inner Banks region, and is buried in Cedarwood Cemetery there, on Hyde Park Road. Another major baseball legend, though not a New York one, Willie Stargell, is buried at Oleander Memorial Gardens, at 306 Bradley Drive, in Wilmington, 130 miles southeast of Charlotte. (Wilmington is also the hometown of Michael Jordan and David Brinkley.) And football legend Reggie White is buried at Glenwood Memorial Park in Mooresville, 150 miles west.

PNC Plaza, at 538 feet, is the tallest building in Raleigh, and the tallest building in the Carolinas outside of Charlotte.

Bull Durham was filmed almost entirely in Durham and other North Carolina minor-league towns. Mitch's Tavern, site of the bar scenes near the beginning and the end of the film, is still in business, at 2426 Hillsborough Street in Raleigh. Other movies filmed in the area include The Handmaid's Tale
(which used Duke University for some location shots) and Brainstorm (Natalie Wood's last film, which also did some filming at Duke).

A few TV shows have been filmed in North Carolina, most notably Dawson's Creek in Wilmington, although it was set in fictional Capeside, Massachusetts. One Tree Hill was set in the fictional town of Tree Hill, North Carolina, but filmed in Southern California.

But shows set in Raleigh are few and far between. The Andy Griffith Show, set in fictional Mayberry and based on Griffith's real-life hometown of Mount Airy, mentioned Raleigh a few times, but was filmed in Southern California.

A statue of Griffith and Ron Howard as Sheriff Andy Taylor and his son Opie was dedicated by television network TV Land. It depicts them walking down the fishing trail, as seen in the show's famous opening. Unfortunately, the fishing poles the figures hold are frequently swiped. Pullen Park, near the carousel. 408 Ashe Avenue, a mile and a half west of downtown. The 100 bus gets you about halfway there.

A copy of the statue stands outside the Andy Griffith Museum at 218 Rockford Street in Mount Airy, 139 miles to the northwest, near the Virginia State Line. Pilot Mountain (known on the show as Mount Pilot) is 16 miles southeast of Mount Airy.

*

The Raleigh-Durham Triangle isn't really big enough -- yet -- for a major league sports team. And the Carolinas are certainly no place for hockey. But, for better or for worse, the Hurricanes are there, and they have a Stanley Cup and are a perennial Playoff team. Maybe the Devils can show the fans down there -- the ones who show up, anyway -- what a real hockey team looks like.

Ron Johnson, 1947-2018

It's hard for young fans to understand that rushing for 1,000 yards in a season was once a very big deal.

In a 16-game season, as we have had since 1978, presuming a player plays in every game, 1,000 yards averages out to 62.5 yards per game. That doesn't sound like a lot. In a 14-game season, as was in place from 1961 to 1977, 1,000 yards meant 71.4 per game. In a 12-game season, which the NFL had for most of its history until 1960, it was 83.3 per game.

The 1st running back to gain 1,000 yards in a season was Beattie Feathers, with the 1934 Chicago Bears. Believe it or not, no Jets player did it until 1996, when Adrian Murrell rushed for 1,249 yards in the worst Jet season ever, 1-15.

The 1st Giant to do it was Ron Johnson.

Ronald Adolphis Johnson was born on October 17, 1947, in Detroit. He was the younger brother of Alex Johnson, a rookie with the ill-fated 1964 Philadelphia Phillies, a member of the 1967 World Champion St. Louis Cardinals, an All-Star and an American League batting champion with the 1970 California Angels, a Yankee in the Shea Stadium exile years of 1974 and '75, and closed his career with his hometown Tigers in 1976, the year of Mark Fidrych and Rusty Staub in Detroit. Alex died in 2015, at age 72.

Alex Johnson's sport was baseball. Ron Johnson's sport was football. Both brothers starred in both sports at Northwestern High School in Detroit. In 1967, Ron set a University of Michigan record by rushing for 270 yards in a game, in a 27-14 win over Wisconsin.

The following season, he became the 1st black Captain of a Michigan football team, and set a new NCAA record with 347 yards rushing, and a Big Ten record with 5 rushing touchdowns, also in a win over Wisconsin, 34-9. (Red Grange had famously scored 5 touchdowns in a game for Illinois against Michigan in 1924, but it was 4 rushing and 1 on a kickoff return.) He set school records with 2,524 rushing yards in a career, and 139.1 rushing yards per game and 19 rushing touchdowns in a season.

Esco Sarkkinen, long an assistant coach to Woody Hayes at Ohio State, said, "Johnson has good size, speed, agility and balance. But his extraordinary physique gives him the ability to shake off tacklers." Said size was listed at 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds. "Picking the hole is what I think I do best," Johnson said. "It's more instinct than anything else. You either have it or you don't. When the play is called in the huddle, I start thinking about where the hole is supposed to be."

He was selected as a First Team All-American, finished 6th in the voting for the Heisman Trophy (O.J. Simpson of USC won it), won the Chicago Tribune Silver Football as the Most Valuable Player in the Big Ten Conference, and the Big Ten Medal as his school's outstanding scholar-athlete. He was no "dumb jock": He graduated on time the following Spring, with a degree in business administration.

*

The Cleveland Browns drafted him in the 1st round of the 1969 NFL Draft. But he held out in training camp, and that may have affected his performance. After the season, the Browns traded him to the New York Giants.

The biggest name the Browns got from the Giants was Homer Jones, the receiver credited with being the 1st player to throw the football to the ground after scoring a touchdown -- inventing the "spike." In the opening game of the 1970 Browns season, Jones would return the 2nd half kickoff for a touchdown, helping them to beat the Jets in the 1st ever Monday Night Football broadcast.

But 1970 was a good year for the Johnson brothers. Not only did Alex win the batting title, but Ron married Karen, and they would go on to have 2 children: A son, Christopher; and a daughter, Allison. Ron and Karen would remain together for the rest of his life.

On November 8, Ron rushed for 136 yards, and caught 4 passes for 59 yards, 1 for a touchdown with 3 minutes left, to beat the Dallas Cowboys 23-20. He gained 1,027 yards, not enough to lead the NFL -- Larry Brown of the Washington Redskins was the leader -- but enough to become the 1st player for a New York team, in any professional football league that could be considered "major," to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. He caught 48 passes for 487 yards.

Fran Tarkenton, then quarterbacking the Giants in between his stints as the Hall of Fame passer for the Minnesota Vikings, said, "Johnson is the best halfback in football today, period! He's just a devastating football player."

Given his pass-catching ability, he may have come along too soon. Had he debuted in the 1990s or later, a head coach and an offensive coordinator might have had him thrown to more, or maybe even converted him to an All-Pro tight end. As it was, he was an easy choice for the 1970 All-Pro team.

He was plagued by injury in 1971, but was an All-Pro again in 1972, gaining 1,182 yards, 3rd best in the NFL behind Simpson (now with the Buffalo Bills) and Brown. He caught 45 passes for 451 yards. His 2 All-Pro seasons were the only winning seasons the Giants had between 1963 and 1981. That was not a coincidence.

He had 902 rushing yards and 377 receiving yards in 1973, but injuries resumed their course, and he last played in the NFL in 1975. The Giants cut him. In 1976, he signed with the Dallas Cowboys, but did not get into any games, and retired. He finished with 4,308 rushing yards for 40 touchdowns, and 213 catches for 1,977 yards and 15 touchdowns.

After his playing career ended, he put his business degree to work, founding Rackson, a food service company, which eventually ran 13 Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises in his native Michigan and in North Jersey, to which the Giants moved in 1976. His son Christopher worked for Rackson as well.

In 1992, Ron Johnson was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame, which is overseen by the National Football Foundation. In 2006, he was named the Foundation's chairman.
He had to leave that position in 2008, as he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Given what we now know about what football does to the human brain, it's almost certain that it caused his case. By 2011, he was living in a residential care facility in Madison, Morris County, New Jersey. He died there this past Saturday, November 10, 2018. He was 71 years old.

Ron Johnson could have been the right man, in the right position, in the right sport, in the right place, but it was at the wrong time. The wrong time -- 15 years too late, or 15 years too early -- to be a New York Football Giant. And the wrong time to have insufficient protection for his head.

He could have been a legend. Maybe he should be considered one, anyway.

Monday, November 12, 2018

How to Go to The Big Game: Cal vs. Stanford

This coming Saturday, November 17, begins the 8 days of College Football Rivalry Week. Saturday's slate includes what Pacific Coast college football fans call "The Big Game" will be played, between the 2 major teams of Northern California: The University of California vs. Stanford University, at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley.

Before You Go. The San Francisco Bay Area has inconsistent weather. San Francisco, in particular, partly because it's bounded by water on three sides, is the one city I know of that has baseball weather in football season and football weather in baseball season. Or, as Mark Twain, who worked for a San Francisco newspaper during the Civil War, put it, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."

The websites of the San Jose Mercury News and the Oakland Tribune, and SFgate.com, the website of the San Francisco Chronicle, should be checked before you leave. For game day, they're predicting the mid-60s for daylight, but the high 40s for evening. You may need a jacket.

San Francisco is in the Pacific Time Zone, 3 hours behind New York. Adjust your timepieces accordingly.

Tickets. The California Golden Bears are 5-5, which isn't very good, but it isn't terrible. And yet, they aren't filling their 62,000-seat stadium. They haven't topped 46,000 in home attendance yet. Stanford, at 5-4, is doing even worse: They haven't topped 43,000 at their 50,000-seat stadium. Any other home game for either team, and getting tickets wouldn't be hard. But this is The Big Game, so alumni will be coming back, and selling the place out.

Seats at Cal home games are $70 on the sidelines and $55 in the ends. At Stanford, they're $97 at midfield, $54 near the ends, $31 in the ends, and $29 in the upper deck.

Getting There. It's 2,906 miles from Times Square in Midtown Manhattan to Union Square in downtown San Francisco. In other words, if you're going, you're flying.

You think I'm kidding? Even if you get someone to go with you, and you take turns, one drives while the other one sleeps, and you pack 2 days' worth of food, and you use the side of the Interstate as a toilet, and you don't get pulled over for speeding, you'll still need over 2 full days. Each way.

But, if you really, really want to drive... Get onto Interstate 80 West in New Jersey, and – though incredibly long, it's also incredibly simple – you'll stay on I-80 for almost its entire length, which is 2,900 miles from Ridgefield Park, just beyond the New Jersey end of the George Washington Bridge, to the San Francisco end of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

If you're driving directly to Santa Clara (i.e., if your hotel is there), then, getting off I-80, you'll need Exit 8A for I-880, the Nimitz Freeway – the 1997-rebuilt version of the double-decked expressway that collapsed, killing 42 people, during the Loma Prieta Earthquake that struck during the 1989 World Series between the 2 Bay Area teams. From I-880, you'll take Exit 8A, for Great Mall Parkway.

Not counting rest stops, you should be in New Jersey for an hour and a half, Pennsylvania for 5:15, Ohio for 4 hours, Indiana for 2:30, Illinois for 2:45, Iowa for 5 hours, Nebraska for 7:45, Wyoming for 6:45, Utah for 3:15, Nevada for 6:45, and California for 3:15. That's almost 49 hours, and with rest stops, and city traffic at each end, we're talking 3 full days.

That's still faster than Greyhound and Amtrak. Greyhound does stop in downtown San Francisco, at 200 Folsom Street at Main Street. But the trip averages about 80 hours, depending on the run, and will require you to change buses 2, 3, 4 or even 5 times. And you'd have to leave no later than Thursday morning to get there by Sunday gametime. Round-trip fare is $742, but it can drop to $468 with advanced purchase.

On Amtrak, to make it in time for a Sunday afternoon kickoff, you would leave Penn Station on the Lake Shore Limited at 3:40 PM on Wednesday, arrive at Union Station in Chicago at 9:45 AM Central Time on Thursday, and switch to the California Zephyr at 2:00 PM, arriving at Emeryville, California at 4:10 PM Pacific Time on Saturday. Round-trip fare: $687. Then you'd have to get to downtown San Francisco or San Jose.

Amtrak service has been restored to downtown Oakland, at 245 2nd Street, in Jack London Square. Unfortunately, it's a half-mile walk to the nearest BART station, at Lake Merritt (8th & Oak). For A's and Raiders games, the station at the Coliseum site, which is part of the BART station there, might be better. 700 73rd Street. And yet, for either of these stations, you'd still have to transfer at Emeryville to an Amtrak Coast Starlight train.

Getting back, the California Zephyr leaves Emeryville at 9:10 AM, arrives in Chicago at 2:50 PM 2 days later, and the Lake Shore Limited leaves at 9:30 PM and arrives in New York at 6:23 PM the next day. So we're talking a Wednesday to the next week's Thursday operation by train.

Newark to San Francisco is a relatively cheap flight, considering the distance. You can get a nonstop flight for a round-trip fare of under $800. You'd have to then take BART into the city. BART from SFO to downtown San Francisco takes 30 minutes, and it's $8.65. San Jose's Norman Y. Mineta International Airport, named for a local former Congressman, might be more convenient for the 49ers, but getting a nonstop flight from the New York Tri-State Area will be next to impossible.

Once In the City. San Francisco was settled in 1776, and named for St. Francis of Assisi. San Jose was settled the next year, and named for Joseph, Jesus' earthly father. Both were incorporated in 1850. Santa Clara was settled in 1777 and incorporated in 1852. It was named after St. Clare of Assisi, one of St. Francis' 1st followers. Oakland was also founded in 1852, and named for oak trees in the area.

With the growth of the computer industry, San Jose has become the largest city in the San Francisco Bay Area, with a little over 1 million people. San Francisco has about 870,000, Oakland 420,000, and Santa Clara, the new home of the 49ers, 120,000. Overall, the Bay Area is home to 8.7 million people and rising, making it the 4th largest metropolitan area in North America, behind New York with 23 million, Los Angeles with 18 million, and Chicago with just under 10 million.

San Francisco doesn't really have a "city centerpoint," although street addresses seem to start at Market Street, which runs diagonally across the southeastern sector of the city, and contains the city's 8 stops on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) subway system.

Most Oakland street addresses aren't divided into north-south, or east-west. The city does have numbered streets, starting with 1st Street on the bayfront and increasing as you move northeast. One of the BART stops in the city is called "12th Street Oakland City Center," and it's at 12th & Broadway, so if you're looking at a centerpoint for the city, that's as good as any. San Jose's street addresses are centered on 1st Street and Santa Clara Street. Interstates 280 and 680 form a "beltway" for San Jose, but San Francisco and Oakland don't have them.
A BART train

A BART ride within San Francisco is $1.75; going from downtown to Daly City, where the Cow Palace is, is $3.00; going from downtown SF to downtown Oakland is $3.15, and from downtown SF to the Oakland Coliseum complex is $3.85. In addition to BART, CalTrain and ACE -- Altamont Commuter Express -- link the Peninsula with San Francisco and San Jose.
CalTrain

The sales tax in California is 6.5 percent, and it rises to 8.75 percent within the City of San Francisco and the City of San Jose. It's 9 percent in Alameda County, including the City of Oakland. In San Francisco, food and pharmaceuticals are exempt from sales tax. (Buying marijuana from a street dealer doesn't count as such a "pharmaceutical," and pot brownies wouldn't count as such a "food." Although he probably wouldn't charge sales tax -- then again, it might be marked up so much, the sales tax would actually be a break.)

ZIP Codes for San Francisco start with the digits 940 and 941, and the Area Code is 415, overlaid by 628. ZIP Codes for the South Bay area, including San Jose and Stanford, start with the digits 943, 944, 950, 951 and 954. For Berkeley, it's 947. The Area Code is 510. Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) runs the electricity for the Bay Area, including Palo Alto and Berkeley.

In addition to being the wealthiest metro area in the country, ahead of New York and Washington, the Bay Area is one of the most ethnically diverse, with 32 percent of the population being foreign-born.

Of the 9 Counties usually included in "the Bay Area," 42 percent of the population is white, 24 percent Hispanic (the vast majority of those being of Mexican descent), 18 percent East Asian (highest in the world outside of Asia, except for Vancouver), 7 percent black, 4 percent South Asian, 4 percent Middle Eastern, and half a percent each Native American and Pacific Islander.

San Francisco became well-known for its Chinatown, as Chinese and Chinese Americans are the largest ethnic group in San Francisco itself, with 21 percent. Daly City, just south of the city, home to the Cow Palace arena, is 58.4 percent Asian, the highest percentage in the U.S. outside of Hawaii. San Jose has more Filipinos than any city outside the Philippines, and more Vietnamese than any city outside Vietnam. In total numbers of Asians, New York ranks 1st in the nation, Los Angeles 2nd, San Jose 3rd and San Francisco 4th.

The City also became well-known for its North Beach neighborhood, which became its "Little Italy," and the West Coast hub of the Beat Generation in the 1950s. The Mission District, once mostly Irish, is now mostly Central American, particularly Salvadoran and Guatemalan.

Despite its name, Russian Hill hasn't had much of a Russian presence in over 200 years. That was not the case with the Castro District, where even after Russia sold Alaska to the U.S. in 1867, there were significant numbers of people from the Russian Empire, including, at the time, Finland. In the early 20th Century, it was known as Little Scandinavia, because Norwegians, Swedes and Danes joined the Finns there.

During the Great Depression, just as Southerners went to Southern California in search of work, working-class people of Irish, Italian and Polish descent went to San Francisco, especially the Castro. And many closeted soldiers and sailors, returning from the Pacific Theater of World War II, decided to stay instead of going home, and built the largest gay village in America except for New York's Greenwich Village. Just as Haight-Ashbury led the way for the Hippies, for gay America, the Seventies were their "Sixties."

Oakland has a black majority, and became known as the birthplace of the Black Panther Party and, along with South Central Los Angeles, the West Coast rap scene. As recently as 1970, 1 out of 7 San Franciscans was black, but as the black middle class grew, they were able to afford better places to live, and, in recognition of Oakland's role, abandoned "The Harlem of the West," once the home of a thriving jazz scene (part of what attracted the Beat writers), and headed for the East Bay. San Jose has a Hispanic plurality, which may be a big reason why Major League Soccer put a team there, instead of in San Francisco or Oakland.

Important to note: Do not call San Francisco "Frisco." They hate that. "San Fran" is okay. And, like New York (sometimes more specifically, Manhattan), area residents tend to call it "The City." For a time, the Golden State Warriors, then named the San Francisco Warriors, actually had "THE CITY" on their jerseys. They will occasionally bring back throwback jerseys saying that.

Palo Alto, Spanish for "tall tree," on "The Peninsula" between San Francisco and San Jose, was founded in 1894, and is home to 67,000 permanent residents: 64 percent white, 27 percent Asian, 6 percent Hispanic and 2 percent black. 

Leland Stanford, a railroad magnate and essentially the founder of the Republican Party of California, served as Governor during the American Civil War. In 1884, he, his wife Jane, and their 15-year-old son Leland Jr. traveled to Europe, but the son caught typhoid fever and died in Florence, Italy.

Perhaps in a sympathy vote, the California legislature -- before the 17th Amendment made direct election of U.S. Senators possible in 1913 -- elected Leland Sr. to the Senate that fall, and he served until his death in 1893.

Legend has it that Senator Stanford went to Charles Eliot, then President of Harvard University, and asked him to accept a donation on the condition of establishing a school within the University in Leland Jr.'s name; and that Eliot turned him down, being an old-money bastard for whom the Stanfords were noveau riche, and therefore vulgar and unworthy of Harvard.

This is completely untrue. Stanford did meet with Eliot, but it was to ask him what he could do in his son's name. Far from dismissing him, Eliot encouraged him, telling him that he had the means to found a great university. Jane reminded her husband that another Ivy League school, Cornell University, was coeducational, and that their university could be "the Cornell of the West." (Modern Stanfordians call the University "The Farm.") Leland agreed, and founded The Leland Stanford Junior University, telling Jane, "The children of California shall be our children."

At the time Senator Stanford brought the Republican Party to California, that party was still mainly liberal. That would not always be the case. The University of California at Berkeley became known for its liberalism in the 1960s, and, despite both former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton and Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey being Stanford graduates, Stanford is still considered to be, by far, the more conservative school.

This is shown by its main landmark, the Hoover Tower (550 Serra Mall), and for a conservative think tank on its campus, the Hoover Institution. Begging the question: If your school produced one of the worst Presidents ever, would you brag about it? Duke isn't exactly crowing that it gave Richard Nixon a law degree, and Yale isn't talking big about either of the George Bushes.
Hoover Tower

Aside from football players to be mentioned later, notable Stanford athletes include:

* Baseball: Jim Lonborg, 1978 Yankee Bob Kammeyer, Bob Boone, Jeffrey Hammonds, Ed Sprague, Jack McDowell, Rick Helling, Ruben Amaro Jr., Shawn Green, Yankee Legend Mike Mussina, John Mayberry Jr. and Jeremy Guthrie,.

* Basketball: Pioneers Hank Luisetti and Howie Dallmar, George Yardley, Jennifer Azzi, Josh Childress, Jason Collins and Brook Lopez.

* Soccer: Julie Foudy, Kelly O'Harra and Christen Press.

* Tennis: Roscoe Tanner. Both McEnroe brothers attended, but Patrick graduated, while John dropped out.

* Olympic Gold Medalists: Bob Mathias, the 1st 2-time decathlon winner, 1948 and 1952; Kent Mitchell, rowing, 1964; Jon Root and Scott Fortune, volleyball, 1988; Janet Evans, swimming, 1988 and 1992; Kerri Strug and Amy Chow, gymnastics, 1996; Catherine Fox, swimming, 1996; Misty Hyman, swimming, 2000; Kerri Walsh Jennings, beach volleyball, 2004, 2008 and 2012; Ben Wildman-Tobriner, swimming; 2008; Elaine Breeden, swimming, 2008; Elle Logan, rowing, 2008 and 2012; Maggie Steffens, water polo, 2012; Maya DiRado, swimming 2016; Simone Manuel, swimming, 2016; and Katie Ledecky, swimming, 2012 and 2016, currently still at Stanford, and almost certain to compete again in 2020.


* Golf is not a sport, but Stanford has produced Tom Watson, Michelle Wie and Casey Martin. And a dropout named Eldrick Woods, a.k.a. Tiger.

In other fields, Stanford has produced:

* Science: Ray Dolby, Class of 1933, sound engineer; Bill Hewlett and David Packard, both '34, who not only founded the company bearing their names but helped to establish both Stanford and the Bay Area as a computing center, a.k.a. "Silicon Valley"; Stewart Brand '60, author of The Whole Earth Catalog; Vint Cerf '65, essentially the inventor of the Internet (but has given Al Gore significant credit for helping it develop); Bradford Parkinson '66, Earth Day founder Denis Hayes '69, inventor of GPS; Sally Ride '73, the 1st American female astronaut; and Mae Jemison '77, the 1st black female astronaut from any country.

* Business: Winery founder Robert Mondavi '37, investment fund leader Charles Schwab '59, Steve Fossett '66, Sun Microsystems co-founder Scott McNealy '76 ("SUN" stood for "Stanford University Network"), PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel '89, Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang '90, WhatsApp founder Brian Acton '94, Marissa Mayer '97, Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom '06 and Mike Krieger '08.

* Journalism: Doyle McManus '74, Daniel Pearl '85, Daryn Kagan '85, Gretchen Carlson '88 (if you count Fox News as "journalism," and she was also Miss America 1989), Joel Stein '93, Rachel Maddow '94, Richard Engel '96.

* Movies & TV: Actors Sigourney Weaver '72, Andre Braugher '84, Danny Pintauro '98, Fred Savage '99 and his brother Ben Savage '04; directors Roger Corman '47 and Jay Roach '80; and producer Richard Zanuck '56.

* Literature: Allen Drury '39, Richard Rodriguez '66, bell hooks '73.

A lot of political figures:

* Presidents: Herbert Hoover 1895, Ricardo Maduro of Honduras '67, John Atta Mills of Ghana '71, Alejandro Toledo of Peru '72, Jorge Serrano Elias '73, and Mohammed Waheed Hassan of the Maldives '82.

* Prime Ministers: Ehud Barack of Israel '79.

* Monarchs: King Philippe of Belgium '85.

* Cabinet officials: Secretary of Defense William Perry '49, Secretary of the Interior William P. Clark Jr. '53, Secretary of Energy John Herrington '61, CIA Director James Woolsey '63. Secretary of Commerce John Bryson '65, Secretary of Housing & Urban Development Julian Castro '96.

* U.S. Senators: Charles Henderson of Nevada 1893, Thomas Storke of California 1898, Charles McNary of Oregon 1897 (Minority Leader and 1940 Republican nominee for Vice President), Carl Hayden of Arizona 1900, Ernest McFarland of Arizona '22, Paul Fannin of Arizona '30, Alan Cranston of California '36, Henry "Scoop" Jackson of Washington '36, Lee Metcalf of Montana '36 (that's right, 1 class of 1 school produced 3 Senators), Frank Church of Idaho '47, Mark Hatfield of Oregon '48, Dianne Feinstein of California '55 (also a former Mayor of San Francisco), Max Baucus of Montana '64, Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico '68, Kent Conrad of New Mexico '71, Ron Wyden of Oregon '71, Tim Wirth of Colorado '73, Jeff Merkley of Oregon '79, Tina Smith of Minnesota '80, Cory Booker of New Jersey '91 (also a former Mayor of Newark).

* Some members of the U.S. House of Representatives: Will Rogers Jr. of California '35 (graduated the year his legendary entertainer father died in a plane crash), James Sensenbrenner '65, Michael Huffington of California '70 (ex-husband of Arianna), Xavier Becerra of California '80, Adam Schiff of California '82, Joaquin Castro of Texas '96 (twin brother of Julian), Joseph P. Kennedy III of Massachusetts (grandson of Bobby).

* Governors: The aforementioned Senators McFarland, Fannin and Hatfield; Dixy Lee Ray of Washington '45, Gray Davis of California '64.

* Supreme Court Justices: William Rehnquist '48, Sandra Day O'Connor '50, Anthony Kennedy '58, Stephen Breyer '59. That means from Breyer's appointment in 1994 until Rehnquist's death in 2005, the Supreme Court of the United States was 1 Justice short of having a Stanford majority.

* Also: James Stockdale '62, former U.S. Navy Admiral, prisoner of war in Vietnam, and 3rd-party candidate for Vice President in 1992; Valerie Jarrett '78, senior advisor to President Obama; Susan Rice '86, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; Michael McFaul '86, U.S. Ambassador to Russia.

* While not politicians in the traditional sense, these political relatives were also Stanford graduates: Lou Henry Hoover 1895 (wife of Herbert), Eunice Kennedy Shriver 1944 (sister of John F. Kennedy), and Chelsea Clinton 2001 (daughter of Bill & Hillary).

* Fictional alumni: Captain B.J. Hunnicutt, U.S. Army, M.D. (Mike Farrell), a native of Mill Valley in the San Francisco suburb of Mill Valley, on M*A*S*H; FBI Special Agent Dr. Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) on The X-Files; President Andrew Shepherd (Michael Douglas) in The American President; Jason Bourne in various media; both political pollster Joey Lucas (Marlee Matlin) and Surgeon General Millicent Griffith (Mary Kay Place) on The West Wing; Captain Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula) on Star Trek: Enterprise; Dr. Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) on Grey's Anatomy; and Detective (later Captain and Senator) Kate Beckett on Castle.

When CBS started the M*A*S*H spinoff Trapper John, M.D., and set it in San Francisco, no mention was made of B.J., the local doctor who ended up replacing Captain John McIntyre at the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. This is because, for legal reasons, the version of Trapper played by Pernell Roberts had to be a spinoff of the film version of M*A*S*H, not the TV version. Roberts was playing a present-day version of Elliott Gould's Trapper, not Wayne Rogers'.

As for Stanford's arch-rival: The main campus of the University of California is in Berkeley, in the East Bay region, north of Oakland. The school is usually called "Cal" for sports, and "Berkeley" for all other purposes.

Berkeley was founded in 1866, and named for a famous Anglican Bishop, George Berkeley. Being English, his name was pronounced "BARK-ley"; but, being Americans, the founders of the town pronouced it "BERK-ley." Its home to about 120,000 people: About 59 percent white, 19 percent Asian, 11 percent Hispanic and 10 percent black. 

The University was founded in 1868, making this year it's 150th Anniversary. It became known for its scientific work in the 1930s, particularly in the study of radioactivity. Starting in the Autumn of 1964, with "the Free Speech Movement," it became a hotbed of civil rights and antiwar activity, and the local residents joined in.

The university administration building, Sproul Hall, is fronted by the Mario Savio Steps, named the activist who led the Movement, and was famously arrested there on December 4, 1964, 2 days after his famous speech:

There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part. You can't even passively take part. And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!
A student sit-in on the Mario Savio Steps of Sproul Hall.
Unlike half a century ago, the only peace they seem
to be demanding is to be able to eat their lunch in peace.

Sproul Hall is at Sather Road, between Bancroft Way and South Drive. The equally iconic (at least in name) People's Park, site of a police riot on May 15, 1969 (known as "Bloody Thursday"), is 4 blocks south, at 2556 Haste Street, also bounded by Telegraph Avenue, Dwight Way and Bowditch Street.
Cal's notable non-football athletes include:

* Baseball: Jackie Jensen, Mike Epstein, Bob Melvin, Kevin Maas, Jeff Kent, Darren Lewis, Xavier Nady, Geoff Blum and Brennan Boesch. Also, Olympic Gold Medalists in softball in 1996, Gillian Boxx and Michele Granger.

* Basketball: Darrall Imhoff, Kevin Johnson, Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Jason Kidd.

* Tennis: Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman, founder of the Wightman Cup; and "the Two Helens," Helen Wills Moody and Helen Jacobs.

* Soccer: Mary Harvey and Alex Morgan.

In the traditional Olympic sports, Cal's Gold Medalists:

* Track & Field: Bob Kiesel, 4x100-meter relay, 1932; Archie Williams, 400 meters, 1936; Guinn Smith, pole vault, 1948; Leamon King, 4x100-meter relay, 1956; Jack Yerman, 4x400-meter relay, 1960; and Eddie Hart, 4x100-meter relay, 1972.

* Swimming: Ann Curtis, 1948; Peter Rocca, 1976; Par Arvidssen, Bengt Baron and Pelle Holmertz, all for Sweden, 1980; Mary T. Meagher, 1984; Matt Biondi, 1984, 1988 and 1992; Joel Thomas, 1992; Mark Henderson, 1996; Joy Fawcett, 1996 and 2004; Staciana Stitts, 2000; Anthony Ervin, 2000 and 2016 (yes, a 16-year gap); Natalie Coughlin, 2004 and 2008; Dana Vollmer, 2004 and 2012; Nathan Adrian, 2008, 2012 and 2016; Rachel Boostma, Missy Franklin and Jessica Hardy, 2012; Kathleen Baker, Tom Shields and Abbey Weitzeil, 2016. Also, Sue Gossick, diving, 1968. Also, in synchronized swimming, Jill Savery and Margot Thien, 1996. And, in water polo, Heather Petri and Elsie Windes, 2012.

* Rowing: Donald Blessing, John Brinck, Hubert Caldwell, William Dally, Peter Donlon, Francis Frederick, Alvin Rylander, Marvin Stalder, William Thompson and James Workman, 1928; James Blair, Charles Chandler, David Dunlap, Norris Graham, Duncan Gregg, Winslow Hall, Burton Jastram, Edwin Salisbury and Harold Tower, 1932; George Ahlgren, David Brown, Lloyd Butler, Jim Hardy, Ralph Purchase, Justus Smith, John Stack, and brothers David and Ian Turner, 1948; Peter Cipollone, 2004; Jake Wetzel, 2008; and Erin Cafaro, 2008 and 2012.

* Other Summer Olympic events: Helene Mayer, fencing for Germany, 1932; and Connie Carpenter-Phinney, cycling, 1984.

* And, in Winter Olympic sports: Nion Tucker, Bobsled, 1928; and Jonny Moseley, freestyle skiing moguls, 1998.

And in other fields:

* Science: Glenn Seaborg '37, Steve Wozniak '76, Steve Chu '76, Saul Perlmutter '86.

* Journalism: Rube Goldberg 1904 (famed for his drawings of weird machines, so that any such machine became known as "a Rube Goldberg contraption"), Robert Penn Warren '27, Marguerite Higgins '41, Lisa Stark '78, David Brock '85, Max Boot '92.

* Literature: Irving Stone '23, Beverly Cleary '38, Barbara Guest '43, Joan Didion '56, Maxine Hong Kingston '62, Greil Marcus '67, Rebecca Solnit '84, Terry McMillan '86, Scott Adams '86, Stephan Pastis '89.

* Movies & TV: Actors Gregory Peck '39, Stacy Keach '63, Jerry Mathers '74, Kathy Baker '77, Roxann Dawson '80, Sanaa Lathan '92, Will Yun Lee '93, John Cho '96, Chris Pine '02, Brenda Song '09; director Carl Franklin '71; documentarian Freida Lee Mock '61; screenwriters Michael Wilson '36, Melissa Mathison '72 (formerly Mrs. Harrison Ford) and Andrew Schneider '73; talk-show host Ralph Edwards '35; producer and game-show creator Mark Goodson '37; TV producer Quinn Martin '49; and costume designers Edith Head 1918 and Walter Plunkett '23.

* Music: Malvina Reynolds '35 (folksinger, composer of "Little Boxes," a.k.a. the theme from Weeds), Gregory Abbott '75, Susanna Hoffs '80 (the lead singer of The Bangles married the aforementioned Stanford grad Jay Roach, so it's a mixed marriage), Rob Hotchkiss '83 (founder and guitarist of Train).

* Fictional graduates: Elaine Robinson (Katharine Ross) in The Graduate, Joanie Caucus in Doonesbury, Steven and Elyse Keaton on Family Ties, Dr. Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd) in Back to the Future (so that's 2 connections to Michael J. Fox), Ray and Annie Kinsella in Field of Dreams, Dr. Daniel Jackson (James Spader) in Stargate, Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) in Basic Instinct, D.J. Tanner (Candace Cameron) on Full House, White House Press Secretary (later Chief of Staff) C.J. Cregg (Allison Janney) on The West Wing, Dr. Sara Sidle (Jorja Fox) on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation; Dr. Mary Albright (Jane Curtin) on 3rd Rock from the Sun, Adrian Monk (Tony Shalhoub) on Monk, Paige Matthews (Rose McGowan) on Charmed, and Special Agent Alex Parrish (Priyanka Chopra) on Quantico.

Going In. Both Stanford Stadium and California Memorial Stadium were historic, but both have been entirely rebuilt recently.

The original Stanford Stadium opened in 1921, with the Big Game against Cal, who spoiled the festivities with a 42-7 win. It was an unconnected bowl, open at the south end, with a 60,000-seat capacity. By 1927, the success of coach Glenn "Pop" Warner (for whom an American youth football organization would be named) and back Ernie Nevers allowed an expansion to 85,500 seats.
This made it the biggest stadium in the Bay Area, bigger than California Memorial, bigger than Kezar Stadium, and, eventually, bigger than Candlestick Park or the Oakland Coliseum. So, when San Francisco wanted to host a Super Bowl, they submitted Stanford Stadium as the site.

On January 20, 1985, it hosted Super Bowl XIX, won by the San Francisco 49ers over the Miami Dolphins – 1 of only 2 Super Bowls that ended up having had a team that could have been called a home team. (The other was XIV, the Los Angeles Rams losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Rose Bowl.)

The 49ers played another "home game" there on October 22, 1989, due to the damage Candlestick sustained in the earthquake that struck just before Game 3 of the World Series. They beat the New England Patriots 37-20. It also hosted San Francisco's games of the 1994 World Cup, a game of the 1999 Women's World Cup, and the soccer games of the 1984 Olympics, even though most of the events of those Olympics were down the coast in Los Angeles. It hosted 10 games by the U.S. national team, totaling 4 wins, 2 losses, 2 draws.
The original structure was demolished and replaced with a new 50,424-seat stadium in 2006. There is no track, so seats can be closer to the field. The address is 625 Nelson Road. It is 33 miles from downtown San Francisco, 18 miles from downtown San Jose, and 34 miles from downtown Oakland.Parking is expensive, $40, so it's best to take public transportation.
As with the original stadium, the playing surface has always been natural grass, and is aligned northwest-to-southeast. In 1995, insurance executive Louis W. Foster '35 donated $10 million for renovations, and the playing surface was named Louis W. Foster Family Field, or Foster Field for short.
California Memorial Stadium opened in 1923, in a part of Berkeley known as Strawberry Canyon, making for one of the nicest settings in college football. It had 72,609 seats when it opened -- within months of the openings, downstate, of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the Rose Bowl, so it was still only the 3rd-largest stadium in California, let alone the American West.
It was expanded to 80,000 in 1938, but cut back to 76,780 in 1961. In addition to Cal football, the old stadium hosted 1 NFL game, and it was a very notable one: Due to a scheduling conflict with the Oakland Athletics, the Raiders played the Miami Dolphins there on September 23, 1973. With 45-year-old George Blanda kicking 4 field goals, they beat the Dolphins 12-7, and ended the Dolphins' winning streak that included the entire 1972 season and Super Bowl VII. The Raiders also played several preseason games at Memorial Stadium.
But the stadium was located on the Hayward Fault, a branch of the San Andreas Fault. If "The Big One" had hit during a Cal home game, 76,000 people would have been screwed. With this in mind, the University renovated the stadium, making it safer.
After the Golden Bears played their 2011 home schedule at the San Francisco Giants' AT&T Park, the new California Memorial Stadium opened in 2012, with a capacity of 63,136 fans. An interactive entertainment company bought naming rights to the playing surface, which is now known as Kabam Field.
The stadium is at  76 Canyon Road, 5 1/2 miles from downtown Oakland, 14 from downtown San Francisco, 48 from downtown San Jose. Parking is even more expensive than it is for Stanford: $50. As at Stanford, the field at Cal runs northwest-to-southeast. Unlike Stanford, the field was artificial turf from 1981 to 1994, and has been again since 2003.

On March 23, 1962, President John F. Kennedy gave a speech at the old stadium. On July 26, 2014, European soccer giants Real Madrid and Internazionale Milano played to a 1-1 tie there, with Inter winning a shootout 3-2.

Food. San Francisco, due to being a waterfront city and a transportation and freight hub, has a reputation as one of America's best food cities. Stanford benefits from this, with hot dogs from Dog House, All-American Sandwiches, California Pizza Kitchen, Marianne's Ice Cream, seafood from The Catch, and New Orleans-style food from French Quarter.

As for Cal: According to StadiumJourney.com:



 


Team History Displays. Stanford's football team claims 2 National Championship, 1 from before the AP and UPI began officially awarding them, and 1 from after, but neither AP nor UPI awarded it to them. They won in 1926, under Pop Warner. And the Helms Athletic Foundation (defunct 1982) awarded the "Wow Boys" the 1940 National Championship, under head coach Clark Shaughnessy, godfather of the basic T formation (the progenitor of all offensive football formations since except the shotgun), and the game's 1st great lefthanded quarterback, Frankie Albert. Both times, they were 10-0, although in 1926 they also had a tie.

They've won 15 Championships in the league currently known as the Pacific-12: 1924, 1926, 1927, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1940, 1951, 1970, 1971, 1992, 1999, 2012, 2013 and 2015. They've played in 29 bowl games, and have split them exactly: 14 wins, 14 losses, 1 tie. These wins include the 1927, 1935, 1970, 1971, 2012 and 2015 Rose Bowls, and the 2010 Orange Bowl.

Stanford has retired 3 numbers: 1, 1920s running back Ernie Nevers; 7, 1980s quarterback John Elway; and 16, 1970 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jim Plunkett.
Ernie Nevers

Stanford may have been the original Quarterback U, with 4 of them in the College Football Hall of Fame: Frankie Albert in 1940, John Brodie in 1956, Plunkett in 1970, and Elway in 1982.

Other Stanford Hall-of-Famers: Warner, Shaughnessy, Nevers, 1930s running backs Bobby Grayson and Bob "Bones" Hamilton, 1930s guard Bill Corbus, 1930s tackle Bob "Horse" Reynolds, 1930s end Jim "Monk" Moscrip, 1940s running back Hugh "Duke" Gallarneau, 1940s guard Chuck Taylor (not the sneaker manufacturer), 1950s receiver Chris Burford, 1950s tight end Bill McColl, 1950s defensive end Paul Wiggin, 1960s coach John Ralston, 1970s linebacker Jeff Siemon, and 1980s running back Darrin Nelson.

Nevers and Elway are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Also there, but not in the College Football Hall, is 1970s receiver James Lofton. Nevers and Elway also played minor-league baseball.
Cal calls its teams the Golden Bears, after the emblem on the State Flag. The school claims 5 National Championships, none from the AP or the UPI: 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923 and 1937. All of these teams went undefeated: 9-0, 9-0-1, 9-0, 9-0-1 and 10-0-1. In fact, the 1920s "Wonder Teams," coached by Andy Smith, had a 50-game undefeated streak: 46-0-4, which did not end until Smith died in 1925, of pneumonia in those pre-antibiotic days. This is not, however, better than Oklahoma's 1953-57 47-game winning streak.

They've won 14 Conference Championships: 1918, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1935, 1937, 1938, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1958, 1975 and 2006. Neither Stanford nor Cal has displays for their various titles in the fan-viewable areas of their stadium. They've also won half their bowl games, 11 of 22. They won the Rose Bowl in 1920 and 1937, but haven't won a major bowl game since. In fact, they haven't even been in a New Year's Day bowl game since the 1991 Citrus Bowl (won), and only that 1 since the 1958 Rose Bowl (lost).

The most famous bowl game played by either Cal or Stanford was the 1929 Rose Bowl. Cal was playing Georgia Tech. Midway through the 2nd quarter, with the game still scoreless, Tech running back John "Stumpy" Thomason fumbled on the Tech 30-yard line. Roy Riegels, both the offensive and defensive center for Cal in those single-platoon days, picked the fumble up, and, as a result of being hit during a pivot, he would later explain, started running the wrong way.
Quarterback Benny Lom saw this, and ran after him, yelling to stop. Riegels didn't stop, so Lom kept going, and finally caught him at the 3-yard-line, and tried to turn him around. But Tech players were also running, and tried to push him into the end zone for a safety. He fell at the 1-yard line, and Cal decided to punt. Riegels was the snapper, and Lom the punter. But Tech tackle Vance Maree blocked it, sending it back through the end zone, for a safety. Georgia Tech led 2-0. In the 3rd quarter, Thomason scored a touchdown, and it was 8-0 Tech.

The Golden Bears almost got out of it. In the 4th quarter, Riegels blocked a punt, and Lom threw a touchdown pass. But 8-7 was as close as Cal got. Coach Clarence "Nibs" Price would say that it could have happened to anyone, and, as John McGraw said of Fred Merkle after his 1908 "boner," called Riegels the smartest player he ever coached. Riegels was named an All-American the following season.

Still, from New Year's Day 1929 onward, Roy was known as "Wrong Way Riegels." But he later said it made him a better person. He became a teacher, a high school coach, a chemicals executive and an officer in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. He lived until 1993.

Cal doesn't retire uniform numbers -- not even Riegels' Number 11. And, like Stanford, they've had some really good quarterbacks: Joe Kapp in the late 1950s, Craig Morton in the early 1960s, Steve Bartkowski in the early 1970s, Aaron Rodgers in the early 2000s, and Jared Goff in the early 2010s.

Other Cal stars: 1920s end Harold "Brick" Muller, 1930s running back Vic Bottari, 1930s tackle Lee Artoe, 1940s guard Ray Solari, 1940s running back Jackie Jensen, 1950s linebacker Les Richter, 1950s running back Johnny Olszewski, 1950s end Bob Beal, 1950s center Matt Hazeltine, 1970s defensive end Sherman White, 1970s running back Chuck Muncie, 1970s receiver Wesley Walker (a star with the Jets), 1980s linebacker Hardy Nickerson, 1990s offensive tackle Todd Steussie, 1990s tight end Tony Gonzalez, 1990s guard John Welbourn, 2000s running back Marshawn Lynch and 2000s receiver DeSean Jackson.

Jackie Jensen was also an outfielder and pitcher, and helped Cal win the 1st 2 College World Series, in 1947 and 1948. He signed with the Yankees, and won the 1950 World Series, becoming the 1st man to play in both the College and the major league World Series. He is the only man to play in the Rose Bowl, the World Series, and the MLB All-Star Game (he played in 3 All-Star Games). And he and Chuck Essegian are the only men to play in the Rose Bowl and the World Series. In 1958, with the Boston Red Sox, he was named American League Most Valuable Player.

Cal coaches Andy Smith, Lynn "Pappy" Waldorf and Pete Elliott (though mainly for what he did later at Illinois) are in the College Football Hall of Fame. And Marv Levy, their head coach from 1960 to 1963, was not successful in Berkeley, but for what he did in Buffalo, he is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Cal Athletic Hall of Fame Room is located on the first floor of the west side of California Memorial Stadium and is accessible from the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Plaza. The Hall of Fame Room will be open post-game to all ticket holders up to one hour.

The rivalry between Cal and Stanford is the original version of the downstate rivalry between the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Southern California (USC): A state school theoretically open to anyone against a stuffy prep school that is nonetheless more successful in football.

"The Big Game" was first played in 1892, and was played in San Francisco every year until 1903. It wasn't played during either World War, but has been played every year since 1946, in Palo Alto in odd-numbered years and in Berkeley in even-numbered years.

But when people talk about "The Big Game," one edition always stands out. It was November 20, 1982, at Berkeley. Cal came in 6-4, and was headed to a bowl game. Despite John Elway being a senior, Stanford was just 5-5, and needed to win to go to a bowl. Each team was coached by an alumnus: Stanford by Paul Wiggin (who would be replaced by Elway's father Jack), Cal by former quarterback Joe Kapp.

With time running out, Stanford's Mark Harmon -- not the actor, although he did play college football, as a quarterback at UCLA, and was the son of Michigan Heisman Trophy winner Tommy Harmon -- kicked a field goal to make it 20-19 Stanford. There were 4 seconds on the clock, just time for 1 play. All Stanford had to do was stop Cal from scoring a touchdown on the ensuing kickoff -- or, in the event of a touchback, prevent an 80-yard bomb -- and they would win.

But Kapp, between playing for Cal and leading the Minnesota Vikings to the 1969 NFL Championship and into Super Bowl IV, had played in the Canadian Football League. He's the only man to quarterback in the Rose Bowl, the Grey Cup, and the Super Bowl. The CFL, even now, but especially back in the 1960s when Kapp played, still had elements of rugby to it. The forward pass is illegal in rugby, so there's a lot of laterals: Backward and sideways passes.

Figuring a squib kick would get the Stanford players to the Cal return man sooner, Harmon made a short kick. The ball got to the Cal 45-yard line, where Kevin Moen picked it up. He lateraled to Richard Rodgers (no relation to later Cal star Aaron), who gained just 1 yard. He lateraled to Dwight Garner, who gained 5 yards. He lateraled back to Rodgers.

To this day, Stanford fans claim that Garner's knee touched the ground, thus ending the game. Certainly, the Stanford band thought so, and, 144 members strong, they came onto the field -- which they shouldn't have done, since it wasn't a home game for them.

But, as in any sport where there's a clock, you have to play to the whistle. Stanford didn't, and Cal did. Rodgers got to the Stanford 45 before he faced any more Stanford players. He lateraled to Mariet Ford. By this point, the Stanford Band was 20 yards deep on the south side of the field. He got to the Stanford 27, and 3 defenders caught up with him. All he could do was throw the ball over his shoulder, a risky if legal maneuver. Moen, who started it all, caught it, and he outran 2 players, and got into the end zone. He spiked the ball, landing on Stanford trombone player Gary Tyrrell.
No, Moen's Number 26 isn't retired, either.

Stanford fans not only argue that Garner was down, but that at least one of the laterals was actually a forward pass, negating the touchdown. Even if either one of these is true, the Stanford Band being on the field was interference, and neither half can end on a defensive penalty. At the least, Cal would have been given another chance to try and score; at the most, the referee could have awarded Cal the touchdown anyway.

At any rate, the touchdown was awarded. Final score: California 25, Stanford 20. No bowl for Stanford. No Heisman for Elway. (It went to Herschel Walker of Georgia instead.) "The Play" became instant legend.

But Stanford students, already known for their practical jokes, had one last card to play. The Stanford Daily, the student newspaper, printed up 7,000 bogus copies of the opposition's student newspaper,
The Daily Californian, and distributed them 3 days after the game, with a lead article claiming that the NCAA had overruled the touchdown and awarded Stanford the victory. Today, with social media, the headline would have been quickly exposed as bogus. At the time, though, it upset a lot of people in Berkeley, until the NCAA released a statement saying the result would stand.

There is a trophy for the winner: The Stanford Axe. This trophy originated on April 13, 1899, during what we would now call a pep rally prior to the Stanford-Cal baseball game that was to be played 2 days later. At the time, study of the classics was considered a must in college, including ancient Greece, and the "yell leaders" would have known Aristophanes' play The Frogs, which has a chorus of, in the original Greek, "Brekekekex, koax, koax." So they made up a literal straw man, dressed in blue and gold ribbons for Cal's colors, and chanted:

Give 'em the axe, the axe, the axe!
Give 'em the axe, the axe, the axe!
Give 'em the axe, the axe, the axe!
Give 'em the axe, where?
Right in the neck, the neck, the neck!
Right in the neck, the neck, the neck!
Right in the neck, the neck, the neck!
Right in the neck, there!

And you thought this was the Age of Innocence. The axe was taken to the baseball game, in San Francisco, but Cal won it, and a group of their students took the axe and ran off with it, and got chased by Stanford students. At some point, the handle broke off, and only the blade and the top of the handle remained. But the Cal students safely boarded the ferry back to Alameda with it.

Cal had the axe blade kept in a Berkeley bank vault, and only brought it out, via armored car, for football and baseball pep rallies. It took until April 3, 1930 for Stanford students to steal it back, thanks to a smoke bomb lobbed at a baseball pep rally at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley. Three separate cars took off, so the Cal fans wouldn't know which car had the axe. They got back to Palo Alto with it, and those students became known as the Immortal 21 -- or, in the East Bay, the Immoral 21.

After keeping it in a bank vault of their own in Palo Alto, in 1933 Stanford reached an agreement with Cal to make The Stanford Axe the trophy awarded after The Big Game. With 2 minutes left in regulation, the committee for the school holding it takes it to the 50-yard line of their sideline, and the holding committee for the other school goes to their 50, and this is known as The Stare Down. They wait for the final gun, and the the winning team runs to the 50 and the sideline, and takes it.

Officially, Stanford leads the rivalry 63-46-11, having won the last 8 games. Since the institution of the Axe as a trophy, Stanford leads 47-35. I say, "Officially," because whenever Stanford holds the trophy, they replace the plaque containing the 1982 result so that it reads "California 19, Stanford 20." But the agreed-upon rules state that, before the game, it must be changed back to "California 25, Stanford 20" no matter what.
Each school has also done well in basketball. Cal has won 15 Conference Championships (but never the Conference Tournament), won the pre-NCAA Tournament National Championship in 1927, reached the Final Four in 1946, won the National Championship in 1959 under coach Pete Newell and with star center Darrall Imhoff, and lost the Final in 1960.

They've retired Imhoff's Number 40, the 11 of 1980s guard Kevin Johnson (later to star with the Phoenix Suns and serve as Mayor of Sacramento), the 4 of 1990s forward Alfred Grigsby, and the 5 of 1990s guard Jason Kidd (later to star for the Nets in New Jersey and coach them in Brooklyn).

Cal has played its home basketball games in the same 11,000-seat building since 1933, originally known simply as the Men's Gym, renamed Harmon Gym in 1959, and since 1997 known as the Walter A. Haas Jr. Pavilion, in memory of the Levi Strauss heir who once owned the Oakland A's. 14 Frank Schlessinger Way, 6 blocks west of Memorial Stadium.
Stanford, with one-handed shot pioneer Hank Luisetti, won the 1937 National Championship; and, with Howie Dallmar leading the way, won the 1942 NCAA Tournament. But they've only been to the Final Four once since, in 1998. They've won 13 regular-season Conference Championships, and the 2004 Pac-10 Tournament.

They have no retired numbers, not even Luisetti's 7 or Dallmar's 12. Actually, Stanford's best basketball player may have been Jennifer Azzi, who led their women's team to the 1990 National Championship. But her Number 8 isn't retired, either.

Stanford's basketball teams play at Roscoe Maples Pavilion, a lumber magnate who donated $2 million to the university. It opened in 1969, and seats just 7,233. 655 Campus Drive, 3 blocks south of Stanford Stadium.
Stuff. While there are souvenir stands at Stanford Stadium, the official Stanford Athletics Shop is a block to the south, at the south end of the soccer facility, Angell Field. The Stanford Store is at 459 Lagunita Drive. The Stanford Bookstore is at 519 Lasuen Mall. Both of these are about a mile south of the stadium, across from the Hoover Tower. The Stanford Shop is at 132 Stanford Shopping Center, a mile up El Camino Real.

Likewise, California Memorial Stadium has souvenir stands, but no team store. The Student Store is at 2470 Bancroft Way, about half a mile west of the stadium.

In 2013, Joseph Beyda and George Chen published Rags to Roses: The Rise of Stanford Football, which goes up to the Andrew Luck years. Shortly after his death in 2010, the last book of the great Sports Illustrated writer Ron Fimrite, a Berkeley native who'd also written for the San Francisco Chronicle, was published: Golden Bears: A Celebration of Cal Football, which goes up to and just past the Aaron Rodgers years. Team history DVDs for either one don't seem to have been made.

During the Game. This is not a Raider game, where people come dressed as pirates, biker gangsters, Darth Vader, the Grim Reaper, and so on. Nor is this a San Francisco Giant game, where you, as a visiting fan, might be wearing Dodger gear. This "The Big Game": Decide which team you're going to support, and stick with their fans, and don't antagonize the other team's fans, and you should be all right.

In the week before the game, Stanford stages the Gaieties, a theatrical production that both celebrates and lampoons the rivalry. Groups of fans from the schools oppose each other in various events: A volleyball game called The Big Spike, a hockey game called The Big Freezee, a boat race called The Big Sail, and, since the rise of Harry Potter, a quidditch match called The Big Sweep.

But they do take some things seriously: They hold a joint blood drive called Rivals For Life, although whichever team can get the most blood donated does win a trophy.

On the night before the game, Cal holds The Big Game Bonfire Rally at the Hearst Greek Theatre. Freshmen on the UC Rally Committee load the bonfire, to the chant of, "Freshmen! More wood!" The proceedings also include a Haka, the war dance of the Maori, the native people of New Zealand. That country's storied rugby team, the All Blacks, has traditionally had Maori players, and they perform it before every game. In the 1960s, a Maori who had played rugby had immigrated to California, enrolled at Cal, and introduced it to them.

The Rally ends with the reciting of the Andy Smith Eulogy, written for the coach who led the early 1920s Wonder Team, and died in office in 1925. Candles are handed out and lit, and the alma mater, "All Hail Blue and Gold," is sung.

Before every Cal home game, the March to Victory begins 2 hours before kickoff. The team marches up the Haas Grand Staircase, through a "human tunnel" formed by fans, and into the stadium through Gate 1 at the north end.

Cal used live bear mascots until 1941, at which point the costumed mascot, known as Oski the Bear, was introduced. "Osk-wow-wow" had been a longtime Cal cheer, possibly connected to a Native American chant, and so the Bear was named Oski. Just as Cal is "The University of California," UCLA is "The University of California at Los Angeles," and their teams, the Bruins, and their mascot, Joe Bruin, are an homage to Oski.
Not sure if Oski is trying to say that Cal is Number 1,
or if he's trying to point out that Cal, and by extension he,
came before UCLA and Joe Bruin.

As with many other things about Stanford, their mascot history is... complicated. Starting in 1930, their teams were known as the Indians. From 1951 to 1971, Stanford alumnus Timm Williams put on a Native costume, and was known as Prince Lightfoot.
In 1972, after objections from Native American groups, University President Richard Lyman changed the name to the Cardinals, since cardinal red was the school color. And then, in 1981, Lyman's successor, Donald Kennedy, chopped the S off the name, and the teams became the Stanford Cardinal, after the color. What, did red birds object? St. Louis baseball fans?

Anyway, in 1975, a vote was taken on a costumed mascot, and, because of its presence on the University seal, a tree as chosen. So the Stanford Tree debuted. And it may be the most ridiculous-looking mascot in college sports, in spite of the fact that it's redesigned every schoolyear.
During the halftime show of the 1987 Big Game, several Cal students attacked the Tree. In 1996, it happened again. In 1995, during a Cal-Stanford basketball game, Oski himself attacked the Tree. In 2006, apparently in an apparent attempt to outdo the band (more about whom in a moment), the female student then playing the Tree was caught drinking from a flask during a Stanford-Cal basketball game, and was arrested for public drunkenness. Her blood-alcohol level was found to be .157.

The University of California Marching Band, or the Cal Band for short, plays every Friday before a game (home or away) at a noon rally on Sproul Plaza. On home game days, they play there for an hour and a half, then marches in formation to the stadium, and enters the field through the north end tunnel before every game, introduced as "The Pacesetter of College Marching Bands, the Pride of California!" The Cal fight song is "Fight for California." They are generally considered to be very good, but not atypical of college marching bands.
The Stanford band is... different. Officially the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band (or LSJUMB), and unofficially The World's Largest Rock and Roll Band, their performance of the National Anthem is distinctive. The 1st half of "The Star-Spangled Banner" is played by a long trumpeter. As the 2nd half starts with "And the rockets' red glare," soft woodwinds and a tuba join in. At the end, with, "O, say does that... ", everybody else joins in.

And if that were the extent of the LSJUMB's dinstinctiveness, it would be fine. But they don't wear traditional military-style band uniforms: They wear white fishing hats with red term, red blazers, black pants, and, in their words, "the ugliest tie you can get your hands on."
The band relies heavily on 1970s "classic rock," with their fight song (not to be confused with the team's, which is "Come Join the Band") being "All Right Now" by Free, a number described by rock historian Dave Marsh as "cock rock extraordinaire." Aside from that song, they pride themselves on never playing the same song twice in one day. In the 1990s, they added alt-rock such as Green Day and The Offspring. They now have 69 separate songs in active rotation, including an alternate version of "Fight for California," titled "The Dirty Golden Bear."

They sometimes take their "rock and roll" image a bit too far. No, they've never been known to throw TV sets and other furniture out of hotel room windows. But their connection to good taste is sometimes tenuous, and sometimes outright severed. As Peter Sagal of National Public Radio said in 2006, they are "the only university marching band that has been repeatedly fined and banned by the NCAA. To wit:

* 1971: In Los Angeles for the 1972 Rose Bowl, they arranged to perform at Disneyland. They took over the Storyland Canal boats, grabbed the tour guide's microphone, and told "the true story." Like Ross and his 1st wife Carol on Friends, they "were banned, and asked never to return to The Happiest Place On Earth." 

* 1972: Not limiting themselves to one scandal that week (during the Christmas holiday season, mind you), at halftime of the aforementioned Rose Bowl, they spelled out "SMUT." They said the letters stood for "Stanford Marching Unit Thinkers." (Yeah, that went over about as well as a group of fans of London soccer team Millwall, known for their rioting, banned from a North Sea ferry for their team's preseason trip to the Netherlands, trying to register as the Combined Union of National Tree Surgeons.)

* 1974: In recognition of the kidnapping of local heiress -- and, then, Cal student -- Patty Hearst's kidnapping, they did a formation called the Hearst Burger: Two buns and no patty.

* 1986: They urinated on the field after a home victory over Washington. They were suspended for the next game. That suspension served, at the next game, against USC, they made a sexually explicit formation. They got suspended again. Finally, at the Cal game, told that if they misbehaved again, they would not be invited to whatever bowl game Stanford was invited to. They came onto the field wearing angel halos and wings, and got to go to the Gator Bowl with the team, and performed in Jacksonville without incident.

* 1989: This was revenge: The USC band threw rolls of toilet paper at the Tree mascot, and the Stanford band charged into them. The referees broke up the fight.

* 1990: At a game away to Oregon, during the controversy over encroachment on the habitat of the spotted owl, they formed the word OWL, and a chainsaw. Oregon Governor Neil Goldschmidt, as nominal head of the University of Oregon system, banned them from returning to the State. The ban was not lifted until 2001.

* 1991: With a game against Notre Dame coming up the week after a home game, the drum major dressed as a nun and uses a wooden cross for his baton. Notre Dame banned them from their campus.

* 1992: Stanford was preparing to play the season-opening Pigskin Classic at Anaheim Stadium, just a mile from Disneyland. The band tried to get into Disneyland, but the memory remained, and they were denied admittance.

* 1994: Preparing for a home game against USC (apparently, hating USC is the one thing Cal fans and Stanford fans agree on), 19 members of the band skipped a rehearsal, and drove 350 miles south to play outside the Los Angeles County Superior Courthouse, during jury selection for the murder trial of former USC player O.J. Simpson. They played "She's Not There" by The Zombies.

They went further than that: During their halftime show that Saturday, band members drove a white Ford Bronco with bloody handprints on it around the Stanford Stadium track.

* 1997: With Notre Dame, a.k.a. the Fighting Irish, again the opponent, they went with both ethnic and religious bigotry. They mocked the Irish tendency to fight, Riverdance, and the late 1840s potato famine. The university president, the athletic director, and the band director all publicly apologized, and the band was prohibited from playing at games against Notre Dame for 2 years.

* 2004: Not to be outdone with insulting one offshoot of Christianity, they went after another. During halftime of a game against the Mormon school, Brigham Young University, a group of female members came onto the field in wedding dresses, and the band manager dropped to one knee and proposed to one. And then another. Eventually, to all of them. The band's announcer called marriage "the sacred bond that exists between a man and a woman. And a woman. And a woman. And a woman. And a woman."

* 2010: With Stanford preparing to play in the 2011 Orange Bowl in Miami, the band was banned when the title of their planned show was released: "Recent Events in the Pro Sports World in Miami." Since the biggest thing that had recently happened in Miami sports was LeBron James signing with the Heat, this was a puzzling decision: What would the band do that would offend based on that? (Insult Cleveland, perhaps?)

Once a ruckus was raised over an apparent overreaction, the Orange Bowl Committee had to clarify that the bands from Stanford and opposing team Virginia Tech had not been banned, merely relegated to a pregame show, because they'd booked rock band the Goo Goo Dolls for halftime. The Stanford band played their show without incident.

* 2015: After a string of incidents that could have been defined as sexual harassment and the encouragement of binge drinking, the band was suspended from playing at away sporting events for one year. This did not include the upcoming 2016 Rose Bowl, in which the opponent was Iowa, and their routine included parodies of farm life. The Iowa fans booed throughout, forgetting that Stanford, while hardly located in a rural area, is also nicknamed "The Farm."

* 2017: At the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, the band did a show mocking various aspects of life in Texas, and got booed throughout.

After the Game. Again, neither Cal fans nor Stanford fans are Raider fans. And the Berkeley and Palo Alto stadiums are far from any crime issues. Don't antagonize anyone, and you'll be fine.

Several places to eat are available across El Camino Real, to the east of Stanford Stadium. To the north: Douce France, Gott's Roadside, Village Cheese House, Asian Box, and Karin's Cupcakes. To the south: A Starbucks, a Japanese restaurant named Odori, and Sundance the Steakhouse.

At Cal, your best bet is to head west from the stadium, 3 blocks to Telegraph Avenue, and then turn left toward downtown Berkeley. You'll pass Pappy's Grill & Sports Bar, named for legendar Cal coach Pappy Waldorf. Also, a Chipotle, Abe's Pizza, Sliver Pizzeria, Noah's Bagels, Tacos Sinaloa, Thai Noodle II, and CREAM.

There are 4 bars in the Lower Nob Hill neighborhood of San Francisco that are worth mentioning. Aces, at 998 Sutter Street & Hyde Street in San Francisco's Lower Nob Hill neighborhood, is said to have a Yankee sign out front and a Yankee Fan as the main bartender. It's also the home port of Mets, NFL Giants, Knicks and Rangers fans in the Bay Area.

R Bar, at 1176 Sutter & Polk Street, is the local Jet fan hangout. The Wreck Room, at 1390 California Street at Hyde Street, is also said to be a place for Jet fans. And Greens Sports Bar, at 2239 Polk at Green Street, is also said to be a Yankee-friendly bar.

Lefty O'Doul's, named for the legendary ballplayer who was the longtime manager of the Pacific Coast League's San Francisco Seals, recently reopened at a new location, at Fisherman's Wharf, at 145 Jefferson Street. Light Rail E or F to Jefferseon & Powell.

The Kezar Pub was rated by a recent Thrillist article as the best sports bar in San Francisco. It's at 770 Stanyan Street, at Waller Street, in the Haight-Ashbury, across from Golden Gate Park and the new version of the stadium from whence comes its name. Number 7 bus.

The Kezar Pub is also rated as one of the best bars to watch European soccer games. If you visit the Bay Area during that sport's season (which is in progress), these San Francisco bars are also recommended, due to their early openings: Maggie McGarry's, 1353 Grant Avenue, Bus 30; The Mad Dog in the Fog, 530 Haight Street, MUNI N Line or Bus 6; and Danny Coyle's, 668 Haight Street, MUNI N Line or Bus 6.

Sidelights. The San Francisco Bay Area, including the East Bay (which includes Oakland), has a very rich sports history. On February 3, 2017, Thrillist made a list ranking the 30 NFL cities (New York and Los Angeles each having 2 teams), and San Francisco came in 7th, in the top 1/3rd. Oakland came in 14th, in the top half. This entry is long enough already, so here is a link to the most recent edition of my Trip Guides for the Bay Area.

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So, if you can afford it, go on out to see either Stanford or Cal-Berkeley -- or both -- play football. Any of these is one of the great American sports experiences.