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Anthony Giraudo (family photo)

Bob Giraudo and wife Sheri visited AT&T Park in San Francisco on Tuesday to pay tribute to their youngest son. It will be exactly four years ago today when Anthony Giraudo, 18, was felled by a blind-side punch in the right temple. Anthony immediately hit the pavement.

The coroner couldn't determine the cause of death, but Anthony, who had gotten into a war of words defending the virtue of a friend's girlfriend, suffered too much brain damage to be revived. The assailant, 18-year-old Taylor Buckley of San Carlos, had taken off his sweatshirt after throwing the punch to try to blend into the crowd, but he was quickly apprehended by bystanders, according to police.

Bob and Sheri, 1977 and 1979 graduates of Woodside High who live in Redwood City, placed a potted plant and a photo of Anthony at Seals Plaza just behind the center field bleachers at AT&T. The Giants are in Los Angeles, so the front office has allowed the memorial to remain for three days. Sheri had yet to see the spot where her son was killed. Bob -- who, after Anthony's death, ridded himself of four choice Giants season tickets he held for years -- had been there only once since that fateful night.

Bob had given Anthony and his three friends his seats -- 19 rows behind the first base dugout. But Anthony's group opted to sit in the left field bleachers, where there were people his age whom he knew.

"Anthony was with a couple of his buddies from Serra (High School)," Bob said. "One of them had a new girlfriend. There was another group of kids from Carlmont High. One of them had just broken up with that girl. They were arguing and being belligerent. Anthony told them, 'There is a time and a place for everything. We're here to watch the baseball game. You guys go cause trouble somewhere else.'"

The Giants were being soundly beaten by the Philadelphia Phillies at the time.

"One of the security police had kicked out one of the Carlmont group," Bob said. "The Giants were losing at the time, so Anthony's group decided to go catch the train and head back down the Peninsula. When they got down the stairs outside the stadium, that other group of kids was there and they started arguing. Anthony ended up arguing with them 3-on-1. One of them peeled off and snuck behind Anthony and sucker-punched him. He never saw it coming."

Buckley was arrested on the spot and later confessed that he threw the punch that killed Anthony. A second-degree murder charge was later changed to involuntary manslaughter. A plea bargain was eventually struck with the Giraudo family, who feared the assailant might get probation should the case go to trial. Buckley got a one-year sentence and served eight months before being released in November, right before Thanksgiving.

"It was all dealt with way too lightly," Bob Giraudo said. "San Francisco is a perfect place for a crime. Their court system is way too lenient."

Anthony was gray-shirting for the Cañada College baseball team at the time because the ulnar nerve of his pitching arm was damaged. Had he been healthy, he would have been with the team at a tournament and not at AT&T Park that night. At Woodside High, where he graduated in 2007, Anthony had been a utility baseball player who could pitch and play in the infield, and a wide receiver and kicker for the Wildcats' football team.

"Anthony was an extrovert," Bob said. "He was like a magnet. Everyone was drawn to him. He was 6-foot-1, good-looking, a good athlete, a smart kid with a 3.6 GPA. He was a model young man. But, he was young for his grade. He wasn't ready to go away to college."

Anthony's tragic death has traumatized Bob, so much so that his general contracting business of 25 years could not be maintained.

"I couldn't tie my shoes for six months," Bob said. "Anthony's death ruined us. My partner struggled, as well. Between that and the economy, we were going upside down. My partner and I were buddies since we were 18. I went to counseling a couple times, but it didn't really help."

Bob hasn't worked in two years. Sheri is a stay-at-home mom, taking care of their granddaughter, Kylee.

There won't be a happy ending to this story, but Anthony's death has given life to others and should continue to do so in the future. When Bob and Sheri rushed to San Francisco General that night four years ago to see their son, they were greeted by two social workers, who were there to talk about donating Anthony's organs.

"They had drilled a hole in his brain to relieve the pressure, but there was nothing else they could do to save him," Bob said.

A man from Castro Valley has Anthony's liver. A fireman in New Mexico has one of Anthony's kidneys. A young San Francisco girl has Anthony's other kidney.

The Giraudos held a charity golf tournament at The Golf Club at Boulder Ridge in San Jose in 2009 to raise money for two scholarships in Anthony's name. A total of $48,000 was raised.

"We met the guy with his liver and the girl with his kidney at the tournament," Bob said.

A scholarship of $2,500 is awarded to a senior baseball player at Woodside who goes on to college. A $1,000 scholarship is given to a baseball player at Cañada College who returns for his second year.

"Anthony's number was No. 14," Bob said. "We have enough money to go 14 years."

As for the loss of their youngest son, the Giraudos can only cope the best they can.

"It is just like it was yesterday," said Bob, choking back tears. "We're taking it one day at a time."

Email John Reid at jreid@dailynewsgroup.com.