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The Giants are retiring Barry Bonds’ number

The Giants haven’t given out number 25 since Bonds was pushed out of the game, and they won’t give it to anyone else again.

Barry Bonds During the San Francisco Giants vs New York Mets Game - May 30, 2007 Photo by George Napolitano/FilmMagic

The San Francisco Giants announced that they will retire Barry Bonds’ number 25 in a ceremony on August 11, making him the first player to receive the honor without making the Hall of Fame first.

“It is incredibly dumb that Barry Bonds is not in the Hall of Fame,” the Giants didn’t say in a press release but could have. “Just the dumbest thing, and we felt like we were getting sucked into the hell-vortex of dumb the longer we didn’t honor the greatest hitter any of us will ever see.”

The actual press release was more appropriate, unfortunately:

The San Francisco Giants announced that the team will retire uniform number 25 and celebrate the career of Giants great Barry Bonds on Saturday, August 11when the club hosts the Pittsburgh Pirates at 6:05 p.m. at AT&T Park. In addition to a pre-game number retirement ceremony, the first 20,000 fans will receive a #25 cap.

Bonds will join an elite group of New York and San Francisco Giants players as the 12th player to receive this honor. Bonds wore number 25 in his 15 seasons with the Giants from 1993-2007. He will join Orlando Cepeda (30), Juan Marichal (27), Willie Mays (24), Willie McCovey (44) and Gaylord Perry (36) as the sixth member of the San Francisco Giants to have his uniform number retired. New York Giants legends whose numbers have been retired include: Bill Terry (3), Mel Ott (4), Carl Hubbell (11) and Monte Irvin (20). Christy Mathewson and John McGraw – who both predated numbers on jerseys – have also received this honor.

That’s the kind of list that makes you whistle a long, shrill whistle. Look at all of those Hall of Famers. This is also a good time to remind everyone that the first number the Padres ever retired belonged to a first baseman who played three-plus seasons for them, posted an on-base percentage of .301, and is more commonly associated with a far more successful rival franchise.

It’s also a great time to remind everyone that Barry Bonds meant an awful lot to the San Francisco Giants, and even if his career ended with a controversial and unceremonious thud, that he gave this franchise more than any combination of 10 players has given other franchises. It was Bonds who helped the Giants announce that, hell no, we’re not going to Florida. It was Bonds who helped the team’s visibility enough to get a ballot measure approved for a new ballpark. It was Bonds who christened that ballpark with his 500th homer, his 71st homer, his 756th homer, and a pennant. It was Bonds who was the reason why being a Giants fan at the turn of the millennium was indescribably fun.

It was Bonds who helped make us some of the luckiest fans in sports. We can argue about how it happened. We can’t argue about how cool it was when it was happening.

Bonds getting his number retired has likely been in the works since he became a special advisor to the franchise, and it’s another step toward him getting a statue. I’m thinking:

  • 100 feet tall
  • jutting out of the Bay like the Colossus of Rhodes
  • maybe taller, like one of these at the entrance to the cove:

But we can talk about that later. Right now, we’re talking about Barry Bonds getting his number retired, which is long overdue. It would have been pointless to semi-retire the number and just not issue it, and it would have been incredibly sad to issue it to Herm Folsky, a wide-eyed utility shortstop who would go 1-for-12 before getting sent down forever.

Instead, that number has been claimed. There will never be another Giants player to wear #25. And I’ll bet you it takes 200 years for any other number to combine for as many career home runs.