While the guy isn't dead and this isn't a eulogy, Bengie Molina has turned into kind of a ghost for many Giants fans, all but forgotten in favor of our Lord and Savior Buster Posey (hallowed be thy name). But with the Rangers coming to SF for Game 1 of the Fall Classic, I think this is a good time to remember all the things Bengie did for this ballclub from 2007 to 2010.
- Bengie was a consummate pro, usually (if not always) saying the right things, being friendly to fans, and <cliche>going about his business the right way</cliche>
- He batted clean-up because we needed him to and never complained about it, even though he is admittedly nowhere close to a great 4-hole hitter. I think this really is notable since the clean-up batter shoulders so much responsibility to keep the offense productive.
- He actually performed more-or-less well in that spot. In 2008, he went .292/.322/.445 with 95 RBI in a pretty anemic offense that was second-worst in the league in total run production (640). That's right, Bengie brought in over 1/7th of the teams total runs. He also set a career high in Sac Flies (11), which I personally think is awesome.
- Beyond hitting, he played mostly solid defense, averaging a .994 fielding % in his time here.
- More importantly, he shepherded some of the stars of the Giants young pitching staff through their first years in the Majors. Tim Lincecum and Brian Wilson have both gone on record numerous times about how much they respect Bengie and all the benefit he provided for them. Ditto for Matt Cain though he's been around longer.
- He also took Posey under his (gargantuan) wing even when the writing was on the wall about his limited time left in SF. Buster has also said many times how much Bengie helped him learn the position and be ready to catch the staff, and how much he respects Bengie. For his part, Bengie has said that he loves Posey and believes he should win NL RoY. I think this is incredibly big of him (lol), especially when you contrast it with similar cases. For instance, Brett Favre famously almost never talked to Aaron Rodgers during their three seasons in Green Bay together.
- I think the most telling piece of trivia about Bengie's tenure as a Giant is that he was beloved not only by the fans but by his teammates and the organization (Sabean notwithstanding). Though he only played three full seasons with the G-men, he won the Willie Mac award twice in two years ('07 & '08). This has only happened two other times in the history of the award, to J.T. Snow and Mike Krukow. That's pretty rarefied air as far as Giants icons go.
So as we enter our first World Series since 1989 (What happened in 2002?), let us Giants fans remember all the great things Bengie Molina did for this baseball club and give him a good cheer when he's introduced Wednesday. He certainly deserves it, and it'll feel all the sweeter when the Rangers lose. Go Giants.