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San Jose Giants pay tribute to players’ ‘patron saint’ for 52-year career

San Jose Giants pay tribute to players’ ‘patron saint’ for 52-year career

A lot of big names have spent time with the San Jose Giants on their way to the big leagues, and you can bet they knew Linda Pereira’s name.

The woman known as the Patron Saint of Players was honored by the team at Excite Ballpark last Sunday upon her retirement after 52 years of service. The pre-game ceremony included a video with well-wishes from dozens of people, including former San Jose Giants Manager Lenn Sakata, San Francisco Giants pitcher Shawn Estes — who noted she still sends him a birthday card every February — and broadcasters Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow.

“Thank You Linda” is written on the field in front of Linda Pereira at Excite Ballpark in San Jose, where the San Jose Giants honored her for a 52-year career with the organization on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area News Group)

Linda Pereira sits on the field at Excite Ballpark in San Jose, where the San Jose Giants honored her for a 52-year career with the organization on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area News Group)

The San Jose Giants unveiled the Linda Pereira Scout Bench at at Excite Ballpark in San Jose, where the San Jose Giants honored her for a 52-year career with the organization on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area News Group)

Linda Pereira shows off a commemorative jersey presented to her by San Jose Giants General Manager Ben Taylor as the team honored her at Excite Ballpark in San Jose for a 52-year career with the organization on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area News Group)

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Pereira was the face of the team for many season ticket holders and also was the team’s director of player personnel, running the host family program, where she would recruit South Bay families to take in players during the season. The program ended after COVID-19 when Major League Baseball started providing accommodations to minor-league players.

Mark Wilson, who worked with Pereira as the team’s general manager for 38 years, said the front office response to most player concerns was “See Linda.”

“Not too many organizations have one person responsible for the players and all of their needs,” he said. “So if a player comes to town and needs a hotel room, ‘See Linda’; a player’s family comes into town, ‘See Linda’; A player’s girlfriend would come into town, ‘See Linda.’ And Linda would always say, ‘Keep the wives and the girlfriends separate.’ ”

Wilson spoke along with Roberta Mazur, executive director of professional baseball’s Scout of the Year program and a longtime friend of Pereira’s, and current General Manager Ben Taylor, who presented Pereira with a jersey emblazoned with “52” on the back and unveiled the Linda Pereira Scout Bench. He said the bench, a few rows below the press box behind home plate, “welcomes scouts, players and all personnel just like Linda did so graciously here for 52 years.”

That hospitality runs in the family. Pereira’s dad was Manny Pereira, who owned the popular Manny’s Cellar bar in downtown San Jose and also worked the Heineken booth for many years at San Jose Giants games.

Pereira — who over the years picked up the nicknames “LP,” “Muffin” (from Dusty Baker) and, most recently, “Miss Linda” from younger staffers — said she was grateful to everyone who came out to the ballpark to celebrate her that day. Last month, she was at Oracle Park to celebrate longtime San Francisco Giants Clubhouse Manager Mike Murphy, who was added to the team’s Wall of Fame for his 65 years of service.

“The highlight of the weekend for me was Mike Murphy coming up to me and saying ‘Muffin, you are the Mike Murphy of San Jose,’ ” she said. “The greatest compliment of my life.”

DINING OUT IN LOS GATOS: I recently was able to scratch Dio Deka in Los Gatos off my “Haven’t Been There Since the Pandemic List” and got a chance to chat for a bit with Managing Partner Yanni Dulles and Executive Chef Nikos Moulinos. Dulles says business has been steadily improving for the popular Greek restaurant since COVID-19 shut everything down in 2020, and he expects a good fall season as cooler weather makes Dio Deka’s indoor dining room at the Hotel Los Gatos more attractive.

Something else I learned on my visit — besides the fact that my addiction to the housemade pita didn’t diminish — is that while Dio Deka hasn’t been open during lunch for years, its kitchen is pretty busy during the day. That’s because it supports Cafe Dio, their sister operation across the street at 151 E. Main St., which serves up deep-dish pizza, sandwiches and salads along with coffee and pastries.

SEEING SCORSESE: Pruneyard Cinemas is going all out with a five-week celebration of legendary film director Martin Scorsese that kicked off Friday night with a screening of his 1995 hit “Casino” and a “Casino Night” pre-party at the adjacent Cedar Room Lounge. More Scorsese movies will follow over the next four Tuesdays: “Raging Bull” (Sept. 19), “The Last Waltz” (Sept. 26), “GoodFellas” (Oct. 3) and “The Departed” (Oct. 10). “Casino” is also being screened again Sept. 18 as part of Pruneyard’s Culinary Cinema series, though that screening was nearly sold out.

All this is in anticipation of Scorsese’s newest movie, “Killers of the Flower Moon,” which is due out Oct. 20, but Pruneyard Cinemas co-owner Jack NyBlom says it’s also an opportunity to showcase newly remastered 4K versions of the 80-year-old director’s movies on the big screen for Bay Area audiences.

“It’s looking like we’ll be showing the NorCal premieres of at least ‘Raging Bull’ and ‘The Last Waltz,’ ” NyBlom said. You can get the full schedule and tickets at www.pruneyardcinemas.com/specialevents.

FARMWORKER BENEFIT: Gilroy-based nonprofit Earth to Table is hosting its first benefit concert Tuesday at the Guild Theatre in Menlo Park to raise money for farmworkers who continue to face hardships in the wake of January’s mass shooting in Half Moon Bay and severe weather events throughout the state.

The 7 p.m. concert will include performances by MALO, the Juan Escovedo All-Stars, the Bernal Beat, the Just Project and All Nighter featuring Ricky Watters Jr., as well as remarks by civil rights icon Dolores Huerta; Belinda Hernandez Arriaga, founder and executive director of Ayudando Latinos a Soñar; and “A Song for Cesar” filmmaker Abel Sanchez.

Earth to Table was founded by Brent Turner and Janet Lloyd-Davis to support and empower the farmworker community.  Tickets are available at www.guildtheatre.com.