Longtime A’s scorekeeper dies from cancer
Farrow began working for Oakland in 1969
Chester Farrow, longtime scoreboard operator for the Oakland A’s and an East Bay teacher and concert promoter, died Sunday after a long battle with cancer.
He was 77.
The Pittsburg native began keeping score for the A’s in 1969, which was the club’s second year in Oakland, after the team relocated from Kansas City.
“Nineteen people tried out for the (scoreboard) job,” he said in a 2012 interview with this newspaper. “This was March 1969. You were supposed to know baseball scoring, know computers and be able to type 90 words every minute. I knew one (of those things) … and was given the job even though I hunt and peck (at typing) and knew nothing about computers.”
At the time the A’s hired him, Farrow was already working as a teacher at Monte Vista High School in Danville. He taught such multimedia subjects as TV broadcasting, video editing and live performance production in a career that spanned 32 years, before retiring in 1999. He believed that some of the qualifications for operating the scoreboard overlapped with those needed to be a teacher.
“Teaching demands confidence, alertness and patience,” he said. “Those traits directly correlate to scoreboard operating in the majors. You must believe your eyes, know what to do and do this in a room full of chatter, visitors and high drama, while remaining fully in control.”
He also began promoting concerts while at Monte Vista during the ’70s, booking such major local acts as Journey, Greg Kihn and Huey Lewis to the school’s theater. Although he loved working with the musicians, he grew tired of dealing with their managers and business associates and eventually gave up the practice.
There was, however, one major exception to the rule:
The Rock ‘n’ Roll Recital, an annual concert showcase for the students of popular East Bay guitar teacher Bruce Hock.
Farrow organized the event from 1999 to 2015 and had hoped to keep it going longer.
“It hurts me to stop doing this,” Farrow said in a 2015 interview, citing a decline in area guitar students and recital attendance. “But, it has to be.”
Chester Farrow relaxes at his condo in Walnut Creek in 2015.