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What is the name of the rigger who was 200 feet up a light standard at Candlestick Park when the Loma Prieta earthquake struck the San Francisco Bay Area in 1989?

Question #148205. Asked by serpa.
Last updated Dec 22 2020.
Originally posted Dec 22 2020 7:39 AM.

gtho4 star
Answer has 10 votes
Currently Best Answer
gtho4 star
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Answer has 10 votes.

Currently voted the best answer.
Benji Young was 200 ft up on a catwalk when the earthquake struck Candlestick Park.
Benji Young, a steeplejack who was employed by the Giants to help with the long streamers that flew from the tall stadium light standards. One of them had gotten tangled in the lights and Young climbed up and out on the catwalk to fix it. He was just stretching out his hand, reaching for the fabric, when it hit. He describes how the light standard swung back and forth. Into the ballpark and then back out to the parking lots. Which would be better? To land in the seats or the concrete? It held.

Benji Young was a steeplejack, or rigger, who had been given the job of placing, and then untangling, the colorful wind socks on the light standards. With the usual Candlestick winds, he was busy all day. "It was kind of a futile effort," he told me in 1992. "As soon as you would untangle one, another one would get hopelessly tangled." At 5:04 he was on a pole on the third base side, lying flat on his stomach on the catwalk, way above the field, reaching way out to grab the fabric. The 40-foot-wide light structure is roughly 200 feet off the ground and suspended on two tall poles. When the quake hit and everything began undulating - "there was a strange, crazy movement to it," he said - Young crab-crawled to one of the poles and clung to it. When the swaying stopped, Young said he didn't experience a revelation or life-altering insight, although he said there was one result. "Let's just say the rides at Great America don't impress me anymore," he said.

Dec 22 2020, 1:20 PM
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