A Giant Impression

UC Davis alumnus Jack Bair ’86 helps transform the San Francisco Giants and their City.

By Laura Pizzo

As executive vice president and general counsel to the San Francisco Giants, Jack Bair ’86 admits he has to pinch himself every now and then. Like when he marched down Market Street in the 2010, 2012, and 2014 World Series Parades, with orange and black confetti fluttering through the air and uniting San Francisco as one Giant baseball town.

“There is something special and unique about working for a baseball team,” Bair said. “You’re rooting for the team’s success, you’re following them day-to-day, you can talk shop with your family, and you experience uncommon camaraderie at work that is different than most work environments.”

The desire to build and strengthen communities has motivated Bair since his time at UC Davis, where he served as ASUCD president and student assistant to the Chancellor.

But when Bair began working for the Giants, the franchise was struggling. Some days, only a couple thousand people cheered from the stands in Candlestick Park.

Nonetheless, Bair believed the franchise could be transformed if it successfully built a ballpark that made attending baseball games in San Francisco an experience comparable to Fenway Park or Wrigley Field. With that belief in mind, he became the point person for the Giants on the ballpark project, overseeing the ballpark election campaign, working with the architectural team to shape the ballpark design and negotiating all facets of the real estate transaction with the City. 

On March 26, 1996, thanks to Bair’s efforts, voters approved the ballpark by more than 66% of the vote.

“If I was going to ask myself what moment in my career was most special, in some ways it was winning that night and knowing that I was a big part of saving baseball for San Francisco,” Bair said. “And now it’s hard to imagine San Francisco without the Giants and without AT&T Park.”

Bair in part credits his UC Davis experience for preparing him for his career. As ASUCD President, he championed a major renovation of the Memorial Union, a renovation of the Coffee House, and improved student services.

“In ASUCD, you mature and you grow a little thicker skin, and, at times, you have to ask yourself what you believe in and how best  to approach difficult problems and find the best solutions,” Bair said. “In a way, that’s great training for what I do now.”

Since graduating, Bair has remained connected to UC Davis. A CAAA life member since 1993, he served on the CAAA board of directors from 1997 to 2003 and the UC Davis Foundation Board of Trustees from 2006 to 2012. He is also a proud donor to the university, supporting scholarships, the annual fund, and athletics.

“It’s rewarding as alumni to return to campus and relive the great memories we had as students,” Bair said. “But it’s also increasingly important to contribute to the University to support scholarship and other programs, given state budget cuts and escalating cost of higher education.”

Bair works alongside several other Aggies at the Giants, including Vice President of Public Affairs and Community Relations Shana Daum. His current projects include serving as president of the Giants’ real estate entity that is sponsoring the Mission Rock Project, which aims to develop and improve a 28-acre parcel of land just south of the ballpark into an exciting new addition to the neighborhood with a major waterfront park and a mix of uses, including housing, retail and office.

“I’m proud of the contributions the Giants make every day in the community,” Bair said. “From sponsoring 25,000 kids to play baseball through the Junior Giants program and helping fund a wide-range of non-profit organizations, the Giants strive to be winners on and off the field.”