By now you know the Giants made a big deal out of Opening Day at AT&T Park by honoring the living legends of the franchise from 60 years of history in San Francisco. Willie Mays, Barry Bonds, Willie McCovey, Dusty Baker, and... Brian Wilson... were on hand to receive warm ovations from a “sell out crowd” and watch as the Giants got down 4-0 early.
It was an unavoidable ceremony, given the occasion, and diluted by the fact that the Giants have used every opportunity to spotlight franchise history and, specifically, these living legends. That’s actually not a bad thing. It just made me me wonder what’s going to happen for the 67th anniversary, if anything. Would the Giants ever consider bringing back any random dudes who just were Giants at some point and either had forgettable or regrettable years?
The answer, of course, is absolutely not. But it’s not a ridiculous idea. They could play it for fun, like an Old Timers’ Day. Self-deprecation is the soul of wit, or something. And because of all the recent success, the plays and poor track records these guys might be remembered for simply won’t sting. The Giants won the World Series. Their history is flush with success and Hall of Famers. Why not take one random year to have a little fun?
Okay, fine. They’ll obviously never do that. And most fans and season ticketholders have their own lists of players they never, ever want to see again in a Giants uniform (... Brian Wilson...). Who are some of these forbidden or simply forgotten but hold-a-grunge-against-worthy players?
One caveat: pre-game ceremonies almost always feature random players and people, so, it’s entirely possible that every single player on this list has shown up in one of those. I’m only thinking about an Opening Day pre-game ceremony. I recognize, too, that sometimes teams celebrate teams from other years on Opening Day, too, so some of these guys could just show up because he was on the roster at the time.
This is not the same as assembling a Giants Suicide Squad. These are players who were on the team at some point and did more harm than good. Or, as in the case of my #1 pick for the list, only did harm.
Giants career: 31 games (2004)
The Case: In 2004, Ricky Ledee played 31 games for the Giants. He had 6 hits (2 doubles), 5 walks, and 20 strikeouts in 60 plate appearances, “good” for a line of .113/.200/.151. The Giants traded for him at the deadline and in his half season with the Phillies up to that point, he had a .393 OBP and OPS+ of 128. He absolutely tanked when the Giants traded for him. He did it because he hated the Giants. At least, it seemed like he did. In 34 games against the Giants, .328/.365/.569 in 63 plate appearances. He did most of that with Philadelphia. But the rest of it came the following season after he went to the Dodgers.
In 2005, Grant wrote:
Ledee might be the greatest human being to ever step on a baseball field. After every game, he could go coach midnight basketball games for troubled youth, and stop by a soup kitchen to help serve before he went home. On the other side of the ledger, he has done everything in his power to prevent the Giants from winning any game he’s associated with. To recap:
Ricky Ledee, 2004 Giants: 53 at-bats, 6 hits, none coming in a game-defining situation.
Felix Rodriguez, 2004 Phillies: 21 innings, 7 earned runs, good for a 3.00 ERA
Number of wins the 2004 Giants were short of the playoffs: Two.
It seems petty to say the Ricky Ledee trade cost us the division, but the Ricky Ledee trade cost us the division. And now he’s starting ninth-inning rallies against Armando Benitez, and roping bases loaded singles in the ninth inning of a tie game against the Giants? In a Dodgers uniform? Give me the damn pie.
You’ll have to click the link to figure out what the pie reference is all about in that last sentence.
Giants career: 31 games (2003)
Angry Jon Miller should have his own pre-game ceremony.
Giants career: 195 games (2003-2007)
The Case: He was a part of a long line of hitting prospects this century who never quite panned out. He’s one of the few to get “extensive” playing time. He’s a reminder of the Giants’ failed development pipeline prior to the Cain to Panik era. If you’ve never heard of Phil Niekro and you aren’t deeply into the Giants, there’s an excellent chance this player is a complete blank in your memory.
Giants career: 114 games (2001-2004)
The Case: The setup for the following image is that Cody Ransom was considered to be the top defensive player in the entire Giants organization.
What players do you think the Giants would never invite to an Opening Day ceremony?