I am scrapping my normal 5 Burning Questions piece this week. Instead I am dedicating this to my father.
Growing up my dad was a tremendous athlete. He loved baseball, Mickey Mantle was his hero growing up, and he played it every chance he got. As he was nearing the end of high school he was good enough to have scouts from the Philadelphia Phillies come to town to watch him play, and offer him a contract to play for one of their farm teams. He did not sign that contract, instead he chose to stay in that small town and raise a family with his high school sweetheart.
Together they raised three children, a daughter and two sons. He taught them everything he knew, and passed along his love of athletics to each of them.
Whether it was cheerleading, football, or a baseball game he was there. He never missed anything. As a youngster I remember him telling me after a baseball game one day, "There's nothing that I enjoy more than to watch my kids compete."
And compete we did. My brother and I both played football in high school, quarterbacks, and then went on to play at the junior college level. Eventually I went into coaching, and my brother joined me on my coaching staff. Friday nigh lights belonged to our family. I can still see my dad hopping over the fence onto the field to congratulate us after winning a game that would send our team into the playoffs. I think he may have been more excited than we were.
Along the way he also shared his love for all of the local sports teams with us. Whether it was the 49ers, Giants, Warriors, or Stanford, we would go to games every year. He took me to see Willie McCovey, sat with my brother next to RC Owens, and took me on summer vacations to Rocklin where I was able to stand feet away from legends such as Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, Jerry Rice and Bill Walsh as they went through training camp and at times scrimmaged.
It wasn't all perfect though. My mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, a disease that effects the ability for nerves to talk to each other and eventually leaves the person unable to move their muscles. My father spent 20 years taking care of her every day. As a family friend reminded me of today, he would actually carry her from her wheel chair into the stands so she could watch our games. And believe me when I say that his devotion went much deeper than that.
He was always there for all of us, in good times and bad. And it wasn't just us. This was a man who would take water out to the garbage man on a hot day, mow the grass for an elderly next door neighbor without being asked. He never hesitated to help anyone else, never asking for anything in return.
A few years after mom had passed he remarried. Not long after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and soon after came another diagnosis of Parkinson's. As was true to his nature he met the daily challenges by competing with dignity and grace.
He lost his battle this morning. Leaving behind a legacy that makes his children, extended family and friends proud.
For this week I want to pass along to the 49ers the same advice that he would give me before every game: Do your best, have fun, and most importantly KEEP YOUR COMPOSURE.
Date: November 17, 2014 at 1:34 PM
Comment: Tears are streaming down my face. I didn't have a dad like you did. You are a lucky man.
Date: November 16, 2014 at 9:38 AM
Comment: Beautiful memories. Thank you for sharing, Jack - you dad obviously did a hellofagood job passing along his legacy and good teachings! Be well my friend.
Date: November 16, 2014 at 8:23 AM
Comment: What a beautiful hommage to a great man. Legacy is the river that feeds the fields of generations to come, and his legacy--passed through you and others he touched-- will continue to flow onward.
Date: November 16, 2014 at 7:28 AM
Comment: Jack- I hardly post but read your posts weekly. I am sorry for you loss and he sounds like a truly great man. My Condolences to you and your family.
By: AJ Bolino
Date: November 15, 2014 at 4:21 AM
Comment: Jack, I am so sorry for your loss. I hope that memories of your Dad bring peace to you and your family. Be well, man.
By: Just The West
Date: November 14, 2014 at 4:57 PM
Comment: Well done Jack--my condolences to you and your family.
By: Paul A.
Date: November 14, 2014 at 2:56 PM
My condolences to you and your family.
Our fathers live on through us, his memory will only grow throughout the years.
Date: November 14, 2014 at 12:21 PM
Comment: Jack ..
The eloquence of your words do
little to hide the pain behind them ..
My sincere and heartfelt condolences for
your loss ..
(I lost my Dad back in 2000 …
.. and I still miss him)
Date: November 14, 2014 at 11:52 AM
Please accept my condolences on your loss.
By: Niner Al
Date: November 14, 2014 at 11:31 AM
Comment: So sorry for your loss Jack. Your eulogy was so very good as it captured the true essence of your Pops.
Date: November 14, 2014 at 11:19 AM
Comment: Sorry to hear of your loss Jack, but thank you for sharing. This was a wonderful and touching article, and your father leaves behind a legacy we should all aspire to.
Date: November 14, 2014 at 11:07 AM
Comment: I´m sorry for your loss Jack and thanks for sharing this wonderful story. RIP to your dad.
Date: November 14, 2014 at 10:53 AM
Comment: Jack, your dad was certainly a great man. Very sorry for your loss.
Date: November 14, 2014 at 10:42 AM
Comment: my grandma had MS, and my grandpa had Alzheimers. Sounds eerily similar
Date: November 14, 2014 at 10:23 AM
your father was a great man. He did it the right way and left one heck of a legacy. You and your siblings will always carry him and the lessons he taught you for the rest of your lives. Sorry for your loss.
Date: November 14, 2014 at 10:21 AM
Comment: Great article Jack!
I hope one day my two sons can say the same things about me. Sounds like a great man.
May God bless you and your family.
Date: November 14, 2014 at 10:03 AM
Comment: Thanks for sharing. Sounds like a great man. Inspirational and encouraging article. Sorry for your loss. You have a terrific example to follow, emulate, and grow from.
Date: November 14, 2014 at 9:44 AM
Comment: Hammer I look up to men like your father. I try to do those things with my daughter now. Just so she can have those memories. Sorry for your loss.
Date: November 14, 2014 at 9:23 AM
Comment: I look forward to reading your articles week in and week out but never actually submit any comments. Today I felt compelled to. I'm sorry to hear about your loss. Your dad sounds like he was a great person who positively affected a lot of people. My sincere condolences to you and your loved ones.
By: Dallas Niner Fan
Date: November 14, 2014 at 9:20 AM
Comment: I am so sorry for your loss. You and your family will be in our prayers. Now, your dad and my dad will be together looking down from heaven to watch our favorite teams.
Date: November 14, 2014 at 9:06 AM
Comment: There can be no replacement for a father. the mark of a great father is one who can sacrifice though he may get nothing in return. It sounds like your father committed his entire life to serving others. by your testimony, we can all see he was successful in raising a caring human being. May your father's soul rest in peace and may you always have the proudest of memories of him
Date: November 14, 2014 at 9:01 AM
Comment: Jack, so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine how tough this is. Your dad sounds like a great person and he will live on through you. Your contributions are always appreciated and if you need anything, don't hesitate to ask.
Date: November 14, 2014 at 8:58 AM
Comment: My deepest condolences to you and your family Mr Hammer. Very beautiful and moving tribute to your father, he would be proud I'm sure. He sounds like a truly great man, husband and father.
Date: November 14, 2014 at 8:56 AM
Comment: Sorry for your loss Jack. You're so fortunate to have had such a wonderful father. You can never loose that. Take care.
Date: November 14, 2014 at 8:52 AM
Comment: Your dad is in a better place now. Carry on his legacy and remember the good times. Be strong and thank you for all the effort and time you put into this website. It's by far the best one out there. Been visiting this webpage since 2007.
Date: November 14, 2014 at 8:51 AM
Comment: Sorry for your loss...
Date: November 14, 2014 at 8:33 AM
Comment: Sorry for your loss. Looks like he was a great dad and role model. May god give you patience during this difficult time.
By: sergio lara
Date: November 14, 2014 at 8:31 AM
Comment: animo jack Dios bendiga a tú padre