San Francisco legends, icons, and demigods Matt Cain and Ryan Vogelsong will be enshrined into the Giants Wall of Fame on Saturday, July 28. Their brilliant careers will be celebrated, as we will cheer, cheer, cheer them on for leading their teams where 50 years of Giants could not. Their plaques will be 600 feet tall and 450 feet wide, and they will be positioned over AT&T Park in a way that blots out the sun, so that you will always remember their contributions.
At least, that’s what would happen if I owned the team. The actual Giants, though, will just celebrate them in a delightful ceremony, and it should be a lot of fun. Just not as fun as it would have been if I owned the team.
The Giants Wall of Fame honors players who “played a minimum of nine seasons for the San Francisco Giants, or five seasons with at least one All-Star selection as a Giant.” As a reminder, the reason it’s nine years is reportedly because the Giants really, really, really wanted to make sure that J.T. Snow was included on the Wall of Fame.
Just as a reminder:
Hit .273/.369/.438 for the Giants over nine years, with a 112 OPS+ and an average of 14 home runs per season, is extremely popular with the fans, retired after signing one-day contract in 2008 to raucous applause
Has hit .268/.358/.461 for the Giants over seven years, with a 126 OPS+ and an average of 19 home runs per season, helped Giants win two World Series, is already eligible for the Wall of Fame because he actually made an All-Star team, is generally considered to be the problem of the entire team by KNBR callers
But now we’re sidetracked. This is supposed to be about Matt Cain and Ryan Vogelsong, two of the heroes of the Giants’ decade of magic.
Cain was the true beginning, the bridge from Bonds to parades, the little glimmer of hope that grew and grew in those bleak years, eventually becoming a supergiant sun who burned through his hydrogen fuel too quickly. But, dammit, he was brilliant while he was at his best, which was a long time.
Vogelsong was the proof that the universe was finally rigged in favor of the Giants, the prodigal son who started as a remember-this-guy gag in spring training and kept pitching brilliantly until we all got used to him as someone who might not be going away ... until we got used to him as an All-Star ... until we got used to him as a World Series hero ... until we got used to him as a World Series hero again.
Both players made it immeasurably better to be Giants fans, and they will be honored thusly. An updated list of the Giants Wall of Fame inductees from SFGiants.com:
Jim Ray Hart
It’s a good list of happy fun baseball memories. I can use a bushel of those every January.