San Francisco Giants fans Juan and Coral Cummings, with baby Ben, came from Corvallis to have their photo taken with the World Series trophy in Medford on March 19.

Batting around Giants history

"There have been only two geniuses in the world. Willie Mays and Willie Shakespeare."

— Tallulah Bankhead,


On a foggy Medford morning rivaling any 1980s night game at San Francisco's Candlestick Park, 1,000 or more Giants baseball fans lined up for a long-awaited celebration. For the first time since coming west from New York City 52 years ago, endless years of painful anticipation were finally over; the Giants had won the 2010 World Series.

A week ago, diehard fans from all over Oregon flocked to U.S. Cellular Community Park for a glimpse at baseball's World Champions Trophy, the golden symbol of victory. Medford was the only stop in Oregon on the trophy's 35-city tour.

The swirling wind was icy cold, but not too cold for a Giant fan whose memories go back to the beginning.

"I went to the second game they ever played in San Francisco," said Phil Damewood, from Grants Pass. "It was at the old Seal's Stadium. I caught a foul ball."

Damewood remembered a 10-1 Giants victory over their archrival, the Los Angeles Dodgers, but his team actually lost that April 1958 game, 13-1. No one could expect anything less from the man who, as his wife says, "Sleeps, eats and drinks Giants."

Wearing his Giants' cap, Juan Cummings and his wife, Coral, took turns holding their 15-month-old son, Ben.

"Can you believe it?" said Cummings, "Everybody's been waiting for years for a World Series win and he gets one in his first year."

A junior at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Cummings' orange-and-black shoes show his collegiate spirit, but today they match the colors of his favorite pro baseball team.

"I'm a food-service major," he said, "so we came down today for the Cheese Festival in Central Point, but I'm a fan and we couldn't miss this."

Cummings dates his Giants obsession to 1992, when he was 12 years old and his family moved to San Francisco. His memories cover the Barry Bonds years, and he remembers how hard it was to get a ticket.

"Once Bonds got the home-run record," Cummings said, "it got pretty easy."

Although the championship trophy was on display for only three hours, more than 1,000 Giants fans waited patiently to see it.

"It's like touching history," said Damewood.

Giants history in the Rogue Valley goes back to 1950, when the Medford Rogues played ball at the old Miles Field.

Although the Rogues of 1950-51 were affiliated with the powerful New York Giants, they never finished higher than fourth in the short-lived Far West League.

The only player on the team who ever made it to the big leagues was Tommy Nelson, who after playing a lackluster 40 games for the Boston Braves in 1945 was on the downside of his career.

It was 15 years before the Giants sent another team to Medford, but that's a story for next week.

Just before the Cummings family had their photo taken with the trophy, Juan joked that he had a dream about the Giants and baby Ben.

"I hope," he said, "that one day my son will look at me and say, 'Dad. Do we have to go see that old trophy AGAIN this year?' "

Writer Bill Miller lives in Shady Cove. Reach him at

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