A friendly face, devoted fan

Samuel Goldman is a fan who has seen it all. He was in the stands at the Giants’ first home game in The City, a 1958 contest held at the old Seals Stadium. More than 30 years later, Goldman was at Candlestick Park during the Loma Prieta earthquake, which delayed the 1989 World Series between the Giants and the A’s for 10 days.

The 84-year-old native San Franciscan has spent 25 years volunteering for the orange and black. He gives a kindly wave to the security personnel guarding restricted-access areas, offers his services to a ticket agent handing out media credentials, and chats breezily with a man in a nice business suit about the home team’s latest performance. Thousands of people work for the Giants, but for the 1948 City College of San Francisco graduate, there is hardly an unfamiliar face among them.

After working for nearly 40 years as a journalist, advertising salesman, teacher and sports information director (a position he performed for free at San Francisco State University), Goldman began volunteering in the press box for the Giants in 1985, providing game notes to reporters, directing visitors around the home stadium (first Candlestick, now AT&T Park) and running various errands for staff members. He is famous for handing out candy to reporters during the late innings of Giants games.

“I just enjoy the atmosphere and the people,” said Goldman, who grew up in the Mission district and graduated from Mission High School.

Although he speaks ruefully about past Giants teams that came up just short in the 1962 and 2002 World Series (both seven-game defeats), Goldman maintains a rosy outlook for the franchise, which has gone 56 years without capturing a championship — the third-longest drought in baseball.

“You can’t live in the past,” Goldman said Monday. “You have to live for the present and the future.”

Regarding this year’s version of the team, Goldman maintains the upbeat attitude that has defined his career and his life.

“The Giants’ chances are just as good as the Phillies’,” said Goldman, who still lives in The City with his wife of 59 years, Adele. “A break here or a break there, and they can pull this off.”

Through his career as a sports reporter, Goldman tried at all times to avoid being a “rooter journalist” who openly cheered on the home team, but he conceded that if the Giants were to win the World Series this year, it would be incredibly meaningful for him and for San Francisco.

“I have to be excited about this team,” Goldman said. “This is my hometown, and the Giants are my ballclub. I’ve been watching them for 50 years.”

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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