SAN FRANCISCO -- Before they waved goodbye to Candlestick Park on Monday night, people sure did a lot of pointing.

Eddie DeBartolo pointed to a spot in the second deck, near Section 27, the historic site of the beer that bounced off Eddie D's head in 1977.

"Yeah, it was right up there," said DeBartolo, laughing as he stood on the field near the south end zone a few hours before the 49ers beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-24. "It was the first time I came to Candlestick Park. I went up with a photographer to take a picture. And some guy crowned me with a full beer.

"I mean, I really felt it. And I turned around to the guy and said, 'You could have at least drank it first!' "

Suffice to say, things got better after that. And DeBartolo, like everybody else, came back Monday to drink in Candlestick Park memories one last time.

They flocked back, in fact -- football icons such as DeBartolo, Jerry Rice and Roger Craig; baseball icons such as Willie Mays and Willie McCovey; and 69,732 fans with stories to tell.

Everyone was doing the Candlestick point.

Larry Baer pointed toward what used to be the right-field line. It was there, near the border of Section 17 and Section 19, where the future Giants' CEO used to sit as a kid.


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Baer's first trip to Candlestick Park was in 1963, for his sixth birthday party at a Giants' exhibition game. So out of nostalgia Monday, he climbed into his car and took his kids along the old bus route he used to travel with his dad ... past 19th Avenue ... past Geneva & Mission ... past the Cow Palace ... past Crocker-Amazon ... Baer's only complaint Monday was the weather: It was too good.

"It's un-Candlesticky," Baer joked. "It's not appropriate."

Steve Young pointed toward his heart. A few hours before the game, he threw another touchdown pass to Rice, for old time's sake. When the crowd went crazy, Young touched his chest a few times to show it meant something special.

Both of Hall of Famers are in their early 50s, and both were dressed in suits for ESPN duty.

But they recognized this was their last chance to say a proper goodbye, so Young grabbed a ball and let a tight, 25-yard spiral fly toward the end zone, where Rice, his smile beaming like a light tower, caught the ball gliding through the end zone.

Joy and Tom Gwinn, two Reno residents, pointed toward the upper deck. Somewhere up there was where the two came on their first date, to see the 49ers play New Orleans. Details get hazy after that. ("We were making out the whole time," Joy explained.) They were married three years ago. This was their Christmas present to each other.

"It's just the history," Tom said. "Everybody mentions The Catch, but there's so much more. The bad times. The good times. It's an amazing park."

Gary Carucci, a Sunnyvale resident who grew up in San Francisco, started attending games in the mid-1970s. In his first game at the 'Stick, he saw the 49ers take on Joe Namath and the New York Jets.

"Here's the thing: You can take away Candlestick, but you can't take away the memories," Carucci said.

DeBartolo said essentially the same thing. Though he called the night "emotional," and though his voiced quickened as he recalled the genius of Bill Walsh and the magic of Joe Montana, he didn't mind seeing the end of the building itself.

Still, he planned a visit to the most famous patch of real estate in Candlestick Park history, the north end zone where Dwight Clark came down with The Catch in the NFC title game on Jan. 10, 1982.

"We're going to go after the game, Dwight and I, and relive some old memories," DeBartolo said. "Probably with a drink."

Here's guessing it goes down easier than that beer in 1977.

Executive sports editor Bud Geracie contributed to this report. Follow Daniel Brown on Twitter at twitter.com/mercbrownie.