6-11-18 - 49ers
Dwight Clark of "The Catch" passed away.
June 4, 2018
6-11-18 - Warriors
The Warriors complete their journey.
June 8, 2018
Dave Newhouse

Heartbreak, Meet Happiness

By  Dave Newhouse
This past week was like no other week in Bay Area sports history, where heartbreak converged with happiness. Dwight Clark, the shaper of one dynasty, died on Monday, and four days later the Warriors launched another dynasty.

As someone who grew up watching Bay Area sports in the 1940s, I just can't remember another week where a local iconic athlete died and a local team, amateur or professional, won a national championship.

So much sadness and so much gladness merged together in such a short time span. There's only so much raw emotion the heart can tolerate and still function.

Dwight Clark is such a huge loss, even though we knew, as he knew, that death was inevitable. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, only takes prisoners, and so this heroic man who made "The Catch" was caught by this deadly disease one year after he was diagnosed. He was only 61, but forever young in our minds.

Clark was the most handsome and charismatic of stars and when, at 25, he leaped into the sky to make that fingertip catch against the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC championship game at Candlestick Park on Jan. 10, 1982, it propelled the dogged-by-failure San Francisco 49ers franchise to its first of five Super Bowl victories in 14 seasons, and subsequent dynasty status.

The 49ers opened for business in 1946 but hadn't won a championship in 35 years in two leagues -- the All-America Football Conference and the National Football League -- until Clark pulled down that lofty throw from Joe Montana high above the Cowboys' Everson Walls and all other humanly creatures.

Now Clark is gone, Candlestick is gone, Bill Walsh is gone, and likewise the San Francisco 49ers, who moved to Santa Clara. Nothing stays the same, it seems, even time.

What made Clark's heroism so special was that it was so unexpected. He caught 33 passes in three seasons at Clemson and was on nobody's draft board. But Walsh needed someone to catch Clemson quarterback Steve Fuller's passes in a pre-draft workout, and Clark was summoned. He was so impressive that Walsh drafted him in the 10th round in 1979.

Clark wasn't the fastest receiver, but he was 6-foot-4 and he combined the ability to shield defensive backs from Montana's passes with expert footwork that twisted secondaries into pretzels. Thus he caught 82 passes in 1980, 85 in 1981, and 60 during the strike-shortened 1982 season to lead the NFL. Added up, he finished up with 506 receptions for 6,750 yards and 48 touchdowns in a nine-season career cut short by knee surgeries. He made the Pro Bowl twice and earned two Super Bowl rings; not too bad for a 10th-round afterthought pick.

The 49ers thought enough of him to retire his No. 87 jersey. He was such a good guy in the eyes of teammates and the media that it was especially sad to see him wither away, confronted by a disease that attacks the cells which control muscles. But he never stopped smiling in public, this man who dripped with grace.

Mourning Monday elapsed into Frenetic Friday when the Warriors won their second consecutive NBA title and their third in four years. What a wonderful way to take our minds off losing Clark. The Warriors have their own icons -- Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. And so their title quests have only begun as their four stars have barely, though not all, crossed into their 30s. They're a budding dynasty that could be full blown shortly. Their next conquest, it's predicted here, will be the Boston Celtics, on the cusp of greatness themselves.

The Warriors, like Clark, are a charismatic bunch. Curry is a remarkable superstar, so great on the court, so considerate off the court. He and Durant are in the top five of the NBA's currently active legends, along with LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Kyrie Irving. The Warriors are talented and deep, and they have the ideal coach in Steve Kerr in knowing how to handle greatness.

And so another championship parade in Oakland for the Warriors, following the passing parade for Dwight Clark. Just a different week, that's all.

Dave Newhouse's journalism career spans more than half a century, including 45 years at the Oakland Tribune before his retirement in November 2011. His twelfth book, co-authored with Eddie Hart, was published last July and is available in book stores and on Disqualified: Eddie Hart, Munich 1972, and the Voices of the Most Tragic Olympics. Dave grew up in Menlo Park, graduated from San Jose State, and has radio and television experience, in addition to his work as an award-winning sportswriter and columnist.

3-6-17 - Pops

Michael King (left), with an associate from USF (center), and Karla Granadino-King, are pictured at the Olympic Club in San Francisco,  proudly sharing with the world their  Pops Premium Rumpopo. A King family secret, Pops Premium Rumpopo is a  delicious rum cream liqueur recipe brewed in the family tradition.  The award winning recipe is a Belizean family favorite and now available at all Total Wine & More stores in California and Bay Area retailers.
For more information, visit

Pops - Original
Pops Back Label