View Count: 105 |  Publish Date: December 23, 2013
49er Faithful saying goodbye to Candlestick

The San Francisco 49ers have been part of the Figone family of Petaluma for generations. Every Sunday when the Niners were in town, and sometimes on Monday nights, the Figones and their friends would go to Candlestick Park, and before that Kezar Stadium.
Monday night will most likely be the last game to be played at Candlestick. For the Figone family, it will be the end of an era.
The last run, said Don Figone, who inherited his season tickets from his father. The last time we walk in to Candlestick. The last time we walk out. Its bittersweet. Its good and its bad. You know?
The Figone family had season tickets for 63 years. But the 49ers are moving away, to a new stadium 40 miles south in Santa Clara, and the Figones are giving up their tickets. The new stadium is too far away, the tickets are too expensive.
We had good seats at Candlestick, between the 40- and 45-yard line, row 38 and 39, Figone said with a touch of pride. We paid $130 a seat, and we had 12 seats. The Figones and their guests were there every game, every year.
The Figones had come to Candlestick from the old Kezar Stadium, where Figones father, Mario, and his uncle John first bought season tickets in 1950. When the team moved to Candlestick in 1971, they bought six more - a dozen seats.Many family members
The family would go - uncles, aunts, children, cousins, cousins of cousins, friends from the neighborhood, like a big 49er family. They were the original 49er faithful, through good times and bad, warm October days and chilly December nights, times when it poured down rain.
We have a huge passion for the 49ers, said Figones daughter, Nina Weber, who first went to see the 49ers with her father when she was 7 years old.
But when the 49ers announced they were moving, and set the prices for the new billion-dollar Levis Stadium in Santa Clara, the Figones had to rethink their commitment.
Ten games a year, August to December, maybe the playoffs in January, a big hunk of time.
They wanted $20,000 a seat for a one-time seat license and, I think, around $317 a game for seats like the ones we had, Figone said.
Figones 62 now, retired from 38 years in the ready-mix concrete business, years more working at Mario & Johns, the family bar. It didnt work out for him, he said.
If I did all 12, it would cost $200,000, something like that, he said. If I got just two season tickets, it would cost close to $50,000. We could go on vacation for that, first class, drink Champagne, he said.
The Figones are not bitter.
The 49ers really tried to work with us, Figone said. They really tried. But its a new era, and we have to live with it.
But they are sad.
Its almost like getting divorced, Weber said.
We had a good run, Figone said. Good memories.
He first went to Kezar Stadium when he was 8. His father and uncle John took him.
Others remember the rowdy crowds at Kezar, the fights, but Figone remembers parking on the basketball court at the old St. Ignatius High School campus on Stanyan Street and walking through Golden Gate Park to Kezar. Good memories
He remembers the hot dogs they sold under the stadium. The guy had a big fork, pulling them out. We ate four or five of them. They were delicious.
Good memories, he said.
Figone rattles off the names of players from years ago: Y.A. Tittle, John Brodie, Hugh McElhenny, Joe the Jet Perry, R.C. Owens, and players from other teams, the old NFL, the Bears, the Packers.
They are in the Hall of Fame now, he said. They were real. I saw them. I was there.
When the team moved to Candlestick, the Figones went, too. There were some bad years and then the Joe Montana teams, Dwight Clark, Steve Young, all the rest.
We were in the playoffs for 10 years he said. Five Super Bowl victories.
By then, Figone was bringing his own children, his son and daughter, the way his father, his mother and uncle had done. He always paid for the tickets, too, Weber said. Hes the best dad ever.
When the going was good at Candlestick, there was a big tailgate scene - motor homes, a meal before the game, then the game, then a party afterward.
The tailgate is a huge part of football. Weber said. There might be 40 or 50 of us all close together and then other people would stop by our tailgate and say hello. We knew everyone. It was like a little clan.
The 49ers say about 1,200 season ticket holders came over to Candlestick from the Kezar days, and about 750 of them will follow the team to Santa Clara. They are the hard core, the true believers.
Ive seen the ups and downs and stuck with the 49ers, Don said. They are still my team. Thats not gonna change.
I just hope the people down there will stick with them though the good and bad years, like we did.
Weber said the Figone clan will be at Candlestick on Monday night to say goodbye.
A lot of the Faithful will be there, too, people Ive know for a long time.
Video: Watch the Figone family saying goodbye to Candlestick at
Carl Nolte is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail:

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Time: 4:24  |  News Code: 352801  |  Site: San Francisco Chronicle
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