Last week, Bill Parker and thirteenthirteen were twit-giggling about the San Francisco Giants Wall of Fame. There are a lot of old friends on that wall who stretch the definition of "fame," though I think this screenshot proves the point well:
That's like a Jeopardy answer of "Neil Armstrong, John Adams, and Jason Priestley." Just fantastic grouping, there. There's a reason Brantley is on the list, though, and it's because the Giants couldn't really leave him off. The exclusive qualifications:
Those honored have played a minimum of nine seasons for the San Francisco Giants, or five seasons with at least one All-Star selection as a Giant.
Brantley made the All-Star Game in 1990, so he makes the Wall. I was looking for players who hadn't been inducted yet, and it's hard to find one. The leader in appearances is Felix Rodriguez, but he played only eight seasons and never made an All-Star team. He was probably more wallofamous as a Giant than was Brantley. But the rules are rules. Also, there's a clause about THROWING A SECOND KIND OF PITCH YOU AREN'T MARIANO RIVERA AHHGGHHHH, but I didn't want to bog you down with the fine print.
But those rules are strangely arbitrary. Nine seasons? Who … what thumbless intern came up with nine instead of 10? It's always 10. Unless you're writing a Buzzfeed listicle, then maybe it's 11. Usually, though, it's 10. It's almost like there's a hidden reason …
The purpose of this post is threefold: The first reason is remind you of the Wall of Fame, the second is to remind you about Hal Lanier, and the third is to present a conspiracy theory.
The '60s were the silver or golden era of San Francisco baseball. You might think the privilege of watching Mays, Marichal, and McCovey trumps the hot streaks of Cody Ross and Marco Scutaro, and I'm not going to argue with you. But it was a memorable era, filled with all sorts of memorable games and events. It was bittersweet, too, as we talked about a couple weeks ago The Giants were always bridesmaids, never brides, and their friends' weddings were in places that smelled like Candlestick Park.
Hal Lanier was the shortstop for a lot of those teams. This is Hal Lanier:
You might have lived through Neifi Perez. You made it through Miguel Tejada. You're still unspeakably terrified of Yuniesky Betancourt. But you have no idea, no frame of reference for what the Hal Lanier Era was like.
If you're wondering about his defense, the anecdotes suggest he was sub-Crawford. There are some stats that would disagree, of course, because there always are. Even if he were Andrelton Simmons with eight arms, there's no making up for that offense.
Four years before Lanier's debut, the Red Sox signed Jim Fregosi for $20,000, by the way. There wasn't a draft; teams could just sign whoever agreed to signed. Fregosi went to Serra High in San Mateo, and I'll guess the idea of playing for the Giants appealed to him. That's an alternate history I'd like to read.
Now to the conspiracy theory: The mathematicians among you have probably noticed that Lanier played eight seasons with the Giants. Not nine, but eight. Just outside the requirements for wallfamy.
If you made a 10-season requirement, you would miss out on Tito Fuentes, who played with the Giants for nine seasons. How are you going to have a Wall of Fame with Johnny LeMaster, but not Fuentes? So the Giants moved it back to nine. You have to have Tito.
Then someone said, "Okay then, how about eight seasons?" And there Hal Lanier was, staring back at someone in charge of the rules, and they said, "No, no. Nine should do."
That's exactly how it happened.
Okay, probably not.
Or maybe they were looking at Felix Rodriguez and thinking about 2002. Or maybe this is Pedro Feliz-related. The list of amusing Giants gets pretty strong after eight seasons.
Anyway, just wanted to point out the Wall of Fame and remind you of Hal Lanier. Man, oh, man, those were interesting times. Also, there's a guy who played 15 seasons for the Giants and made 12 All-Star teams.