Despite temperatures dipping toward zero, more than 2,000 people lined up outside the church, some for as many as five hours, to turn in their weapons. By midnight Bowe and Newman had collected 3,600 guns—and paid out $360,000.
"We'd brought $75,000 in cash in a shopping bag," says Newman, who together with Bowe circulated among the crowd shaking hands and signing autographs throughout the day. "But by midafternoon that was gone. So we started writing checks. We'd made a commitment to get as many guns as we could."
Says Bowe, "This city is one of the worst in the nation for murders. Maybe what we did can help turn that around."
A Baseball Man
Charles S. (Chub) Feeney, who died at age 72 of a heart attack in San Francisco on Jan. 10, was the very definition of the vanishing species known as Baseball Men. His grandfather Charles Stoneham bought controlling interest in the New York Giants in 1919 and ran the ball club until his death in 1936, when his son, Horace, took over. Chub joined uncle Horace's front office in 1946 after graduation from Dartmouth and World War II duty aboard a Navy sub chaser. By 1950 he was effectively serving as the Giants' general manager, though he never held the title. He was influential in the team's becoming one of the first to hire black and Latin players, among them Monte Irvin, Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal and the Alou brothers.
When Horace moved his franchise to San Francisco in 1958, Chub, a New Jersey native, reluctantly went along. But he soon fell in love with his adopted city, just as San Francisco did with him. He was a highly visible and popular member of the Giant organization, a witty and sophisticated man-about-town. He even had his own radio talk show, Ask Chub Feeney, during which, often hilariously, he fended off the usual opinionated callers.
As the de facto general manager, his trades in the late 1950s and early '60s for pitchers Sam Jones, Jack Sanford and Billy Pierce made the Giants perennial contenders and, in '62, National League champions. After an unsuccessful run at the commissioner's office in '69, he was elected president of the National League the following year and served in that post for 16 years. He retired from baseball in '88 after a brief and unhappy tenure as president of the San Diego Padres, and returned to his adopted city.
Chub may have been a Baseball Man, but, in truth, he had even more friends outside the game than in it. When they held a wake for him last Friday at his favorite tavern, the Washington Square Bar & Grill, it seemed as if all San Francisco was there to toast him. It was, as Chub would surely have wanted it, a very festive occasion.