Four days before they face off against the Dallas Cowboys in their first preseason game, the San Francisco 49ers honored the man who made history with “The Catch,” with Dwight Clark Day. Clark passed away in 2018 after battling ALS.
“As part of Dwight’s wishes…what was important to him was to honor two things…those who are currently battling ALS and those who’ve been impacted by it and family…” said 49ers’ President Al Guido. And two, was raising money and awareness for the Golden Heart Fund, which is all about giving back to former players…And so, today having Matt [Maiocco] have the Letters to 87 launch, all sales and proceeds go to Golden Heart Fund, while also making sure we celebrate life and the folks that battle Dwight’s disease. That’s what today’s about.”
Letters to 87 is Maiocco’s incredible book all about “The Catch,” with letters from fans and essays from Eddie DeBartolo, Jr. Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott and others. Maiocco signed copies of the books for 90 minutes before practice began.
“So this is something that Dwight had talked about,” Maiocco said. “He loved to hear stories from the fans about what they were doing at the time of ‘The Catch’, the impact of ‘The Catch,’ and so he’d actually brought this to me, or we had talked about it years ago…It was in January of 2018, he mentioned it again, and this time I said, ‘Well, let’s do this. 100%, let’s do this. I’m going to put the word out.’
“So we started getting letters from people, and then after he moved to Whitefish, Montana, me and a group went up there and sat around and read the letters to him…[I]t floored him. I don’t think he really realized the kind of impact that that play had had on families…[H]e asked again if this could be a book, and we did the documentary. And then after the documentary, just the overwhelming sentiment was it has to be a book.”
And for your second 5 Fun Facts of the day, it’s the incomparable @MaioccoNBCS! He has one of the best Dwight Clark stories you’ll ever hear. Take it away Matt #49ers #DwightClarkDay #LettersTo87 pic.twitter.com/XexP1xGFNH
— Tracy Sandler (@49ersfangirl) August 7, 2019
Many 49ers Alumni were in attendance for today’s practice, as were guests from The ALS Association Golden West Chapter and Augie’s Quest.
Today’s guests included Chris Ourtiague, who was at Candlestick Park for “The Catch” and who is battling ALS.
“…I met Dwight Clark at a clinical trial that we were both at at, at a clinic in San Francisco,” Ourtiague said. “So I got to know him personally for three or four months we would see each other for four days in a row while we were doing our clinical trial. And great man, great stories and everything like that. So for this event to be for him is absolutely brilliant.”
All attendees and members of the 49ers coaching staff and organization wore their Dwight Clark Day t shirts. It was a special day.
If you are interested in ordering a copy of Letters to 87, you can do so here.