Randy Johnson, San Francisco Giants great and Livermore legend, was just voted into the Hall of Fame. That much you know. Did you know, though, that you can make an entire team out of players like him? If not, I have a revelatory list for you. If so, I still have a list for you.
One note: These guys are being listed at the positions they played throughout their careers. These do not always correspond with the ones they played with the Giants, but do you really want Steve Finley to play center field on this team? No, you don't. No one wants that.
C - Gabby Hartnett
Gabby Hartnett was a Hall of Famer who spent 19 years with the Cubs before coming to the New York Giants in 1941. With Chicago, Hartnett was the 1935 NL MVP, a 6-time All-Star, and set all kinds of catcher records (hits, doubles, homers, RBIs), some of which wouldn't be broken for decades. He caught more than 50% of baserunners trying to steal, his career OBP was .370, and sometimes, on a cool summer's night, Lake Superior would seem to whisper his name.
With the Giants, he was the backup to Harry Danning. He hit pretty well, though!
1B - Dan Brouthers
The original guy-giving-it-one-last-shot, Dan Brouthers played for the Phillies in 1896, then took a little time to find himself and appeared in two games for the 1904 Giants. He's right up there with some of the other 19th century legends like Mike Tiernan and Roger Connor, but only Brouthers met John McGraw. That's worth a lot, you know.
2B -Tony Lazzeri
Best known as the second baseman on the '27 Yankees, Lazzeri was an excellent power hitter, especially for a second baseman. He also had great on-base skills, and hit for a high average, and played in New York, and won a lot of World Series. How he didn't make it into the Hall of Fame until 1991 will be an eternal mystery.
Lazzeri was born in San Francisco, and he died in Millbrae. This means he would probably have been friends with you.
3B - Billy Werber
A decent hitter and good defender, Billy Werber spent 11 years in the majors, finishing with the Giants in 1942. His breakout season was 1934, and legend has it that he broke his toe kicking a bucket, so he never repeated his great success with the Red Sox that year. While with the Giants, he wrote an article for the Saturday Evening Post called "Ballplayer Boos Back" which, PR-wise, was maybe not a great move. He retired during the year, his bad toe playing a big part.
He was a good player who won a World Series with the Reds in 1940 and lived a very long time, having terrible opinions on subjects like integration and the reserve clause. Never grow old, people.
SS - Miguel Tejada
After the Giants' wild success in bringing over one 2002 A's award winner, it was a natural decision to sign the other one. And yet, somehow, acquiring Miguel Tejada wasn't the key to getting back to the World Series, possibly because he was utterly terrible. He was so bad, in fact, that the team had to go out and trade for Orlando Cabrera, who was worse. If the year had gone on, the Giants probably would have signed Neifi Perez, just to keep that nosedive going.
Somehow, Tejada got playing time with the Royals two years later. It must have been an emotional World Series for him this year, watching his two beloved franchises battle it out.
LF - Joe Carter
In 1998, he came over in a trade from Baltimore, where he wasn't doing too well, and proceeded to literally – literally– light the entire National League on fire and dance while it burned. It wasn't enough to make the playoffs, of course, since Coors Field is an affront to all we hold holy and Neifi Perez (him again!) dines on your tears, but he did a hell of a job down the stretch.
CF - Duke Snider
Duke Snider had a lot of nicknames: The Duke of Flatbush, The Silver Fox, The Thin White Duke, Bob Dukesbury. The Duke of Wellington, Duke Skywalker . . . I could go on forever. Be glad I won't, because this is already annoying. Snider was a great Dodger, and so when the Giants signed him, it was mostly to piss off their fanbase . This was a great success, and would lead to the similarly successful Dusty Baker signing 20 years later.
Of course, in retaliation, the Dodgers signed Juan Marichal for his crappy final year. Well played, Dodgers. Well played.
RF - Wee Willie Keeler
Such a great bunter, that the foul-bunt-counts-as-strike-three rule was invented to slow him down, Wee Willie Keeler came up with the Giants in 1892, got traded to Brooklyn in 1893, and came back in 1910. Along the way, he became known as a tiny, tiny man (not quite 5'5" and 140 pounds) who swung an incredibly heavy bat and said "Hit 'em where they ain't." Said it all the time, in fact. They were the only words he knew. True story!
SP - Warren Spahn
It was a tough call as to who gets the start between Spahn and Randy Johnson, but in the end, I figured that since Spahn was already in the HoF, that would be the tiebreaker. Warren Spahn pitched for 21 years (and took three off for military service), made 17 All-Star teams, won 363 games, and was one of the all-time greats.
Willie Mays owned him, though. He hit .305/.368/.587 with 18 homers in 253 PAs.
Willie Mays was good.
RP - Dan Quisenberry
He tore his rotator cuff five appearances into his career with San Francisco, which is a shame, since everyone who saw Quiz pitch said that he was unlike anyone else in the game. He was known for his submarine delivery, his sense of humor, and basically being the coolest. This legacy of being the coolest was then passed to Rod Beck, to Robb Nen after him, and then to Matt Cain. Truly, the Giants have a proud history in this department.
C - Gary Carter
Why is Hartnett starting over Carter? Well, Carter had a couple stops after he was with the Giants, which makes it less of a "One last heist and then I'm out of the game forever," which is really what I was going for. However, it was late enough in his career, and he was certainly great enough (11-time All-Star and first Expo into the HoF) that he gets to be on the team. Besides, I'm sure I've forgotten several guys, so I might as well head off complaints about him at the pass.
SP - Randy Johnson
His Giants tenure was most notable for his dive in his 300th win to get a guy at first base, but, of course, Randy Johnson's career was spectacular. When he was young, he had the command of a slightly worse Jonathan Sanchez. This might seem like a wild exaggeration, but I assure you it's not. Still, he recovered, and turned himself into one of the all-time greats, and when he came to the Giants he immediately gave up a home run to Yovani Gallardo. In retrospect, that was a hint about the kind of year he'd end up having.
The best part about Johnson being with the Giants is that we don't even have to mention Steve Carlton's Giants career here. Phew.
RP - Dave Righetti, Goose Gossage
Seriously, the Giants were weird about this in the '80s and early '90s. They're probably still trying to sign Jeff Reardon.
UTIL - King Kelly
Another old-timey guy, playing for the Giants in 1893, King Kelly played every position, was a great hitter, and he was an innovative and phenomenal baserunner. He popularized the hook slide, intentionally fouled off scores of pitches in an era before fouls counted as strikes, and had a truly fantastic mustache.
1B - George Grantham
An ex-Cub, George Grantham was traded to the Pirates in 1924, where he had seven extremely productive years as a first and second baseman. The knock on him was his defense, and a big part of that Cubs-Pirates trade going the other way was Rabbit Maranville, whose excellent defense eventually got him into the Hall of Fame. The results of this defense-motivated trade: The Pirates won the World Series in 1925 with Grantham at first base. The Cubs were the Cubs.
Almost entirely a pinch hitter with the Giants in 1934, Grantham was released after 37 PAs of .241/.405/.414 hitting, good for a 122 OPS+. They evaluated hitters differently back then.
1B/OF - Ryan Klesko
A classic Hall of Very Gooder, Ryan Klesko came over to the Giants with his good friend Bruce Bochy, took the first base job from Rich Aurilia, and lost it to Dan Ortmeier. Still, his tenure was worth it, if only for this one, glorious picture.