A photo of double play, a bar with boarded up windows
The Double Play bar from across the street. Photo by Chuqin Jiang.

The Double Play, at 16th and Bryant streets, a treasure of baseball memorabilia dating back to the days when the Seals Stadium sat across the street, caught fire early Saturday morning, severely damaging the building and closing the bar.

Kevin Copps, who lives several blocks away, said he went to the bar last Friday. “There’s a whole thing going around the main dining room, covered with old baseball photographs, gloves and other incredible memorabilia,” he said. “I figured I’d be back. I didn’t know I’m never gonna again.”

The fire started between 5 and 6 a.m. on Saturday.

The ground floor was totally destroyed, but no injuries were reported, according to the fire department. The cause of the fire is unknown. The owner’s son, Rafael Hernandez, Jr., said the fire did not start in the kitchen.

When contractors tried to put up the wooden boards after firefighters put out the flames, they noticed smoke still coming from one spot. So they called 911 again.

The witness from a nearby restaurant said at least three fire engines and about 20 firefighters were present to address the second emergency call.

Cordons are put up around the building. Photo by Chuqin Jiang.

When Mission Local arrived around 2 p.m., cordons were strung around the entire building, and some burned materials sat stacked at the corner. Wooden boards covered the door and windows on the ground floor, as well as two windows on the second floor. The side facing the intersection of 16th and Bryant was severely damaged.

During the afternoon, four workers from the Faragon Restoration Company were dealing with the water in the basement.

Workers from a restoration Company are cleaning the bar after the fire. Photo by Chuqin Jiang.

The bar has been standing at the crossroads of 16th and Bryant streets for more than a century. While now adjacent to the Potrero Center mall, it was, until 1959, across the street from Seals Stadium. That ballpark, built in 1931, was the home of the Pacific Coast League San Francisco Seals, and the first home of the Major League San Francisco Giants, from 1958 until 1960.

Christine Mai-Duc wrote in Mission Local in 2011: “In a neighborhood known for change, the Double Play is a place where time stands still. It’s a place where outsiders are identified instantly. People quickly decide whether or not they like you, and call you “honey” if they do.”

Residents and others shared memories and on the owner’s Facebook post, which announced that the bar will remain closed until further notice.

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INTERN DATA REPORTER. Chuqin has two degrees in data journalism and she is passionate about making data more accessible to readers. Before arriving in the Mission, she covered small business and migratory birds in New York City while learning to code and design at Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism. She loves coastal cities, including SF and her hometown Ningbo.

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  1. As a native San Franciscan, I am heartbroken by the loss of this historic landmark. As a lover of baseball and the history behind the Double Play and its connection to San Francisco’s baseball history, I can only feel devastated.

    In an age where so many people are eager to replace the old with the new, the Double Play was a unicorn where old timers and millennials could gather, converse, and share in the love of our home team.

  2. Nooooo. Not the Doubleplay!
    I am in mourning, and have lost a friend that connected us back to that old SF that was a baseball town.

    1. Having the old signs out front with slick new bars and restaurants inside is beginning to feel more wrong than right.

      1. At the Transmission Gallery on Bartlett Street, see the old Barrish Bail Bonds sign being used as part of an exhibit of works by San Francisco artist Jerry Barrish.

  3. My now husband lived above the Double Play in a flat in 1990. Ate at the restaurant once, with Jack Davis of all people, on the cusp between Ammiano and Gonzalez for Mayor in 2003. I biked up the hill by the Double Play this afternoon and saw the stabilization operation underway. One more connection to old SF bites the dust.