Later today, you’ll be able to watch the Giants honor Matt Cain, Ryan Vogelsong, and Brian Wilson for their years of Giantsness with spots on the team’s Wall of Fame.
You can watch the event in person if you leave now for the stadium — it’s a free event — (tickets for the game tonight, though, are still available through sponsor StubHub) or you can watch it stream beginning around 2pm at SFGiants.com or at this YouTube link from the team right here:
**UPDATE** The entire ceremony is available to view.
The team has also opened up this contest surrounding the ceremony:
Retweet to win a Matt Cain autographed ⚾️— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) July 28, 2018
2pm this afternoon: Matt Cain, Brian Wilson and Ryan Vogelsong Wall of Fame Induction Ceremony
INFO: https://t.co/e5QTTPtTKR#ForeverGiant | #SFGiants pic.twitter.com/vmkSSoKXns
Last year, the Giants finally made Barry Bonds a Wall of Famer, and they’ll be honoring him again in a couple of weeks by officially retiring his #25 jersey number. Both of those are long overdue honors for a dude who saved the franchise, but today’s ceremony is all about the dudes who helped do something with the saved franchise.
While there are already plenty of pitchers on the Wall of Fame, you might agree that pitching is not something the franchise is best known for — it’s usually the slugging hitters. But since Bonds, the Giants have scored 50 total runs and have featured some of the least dynamic hitters in baseball history. Matt Cain represented a new wave in their ability to compete: the broadly accepted ace.
Every team would’ve loved to have Matt Cain fronting their rotation. He was the first true development talent to come out of the bad years. The first pitcher who equaled the industry standard for top of the rotation guy since Jason Schmidt. Only, Cain was younger and drafted by the Giants.
We know all about the success Matt Cain had and you can’t think about the 21st century Giants very much before you start thinking about Matt Cain. He deserves to be on that wall. We need him on that wall.
Ryan Vogelsong’s story has also been told many, many times, but it’s a fascinating one. Castoff by the team that drafted him, he found his way back and pitched like an All-Star (which automatically qualified him for the Wall of Fame despite his few years actually on the team) and had two key performances (2011 overall and the 2012 postseason) to buoy the franchise. And he came out of nowhere. He never gave up. His doggedness and irascible nature on game day is what people will most remember.
Brian Wilson was the effective hard-throwing closer the Giants hadn’t had since Robb Nen and his frustrating ability to walk the bases loaded and still somehow get out of it to preserve a 1-run lead gave us the Giants Baseball: Torture! call for 2010. Everything else surrounding him has been a clown show, but let’s not forget that in 2010, he, too, gave the Giants exactly what they needed.
What unites these three men, thematically, is that nothing came easy for them in that uniform. Matt Cain came up during one of the worst stretches in franchise history, has an industry-wide term named after him (Cained) has a “losing” career record because the team couldn’t score any runs for him. Of course, he went on to pitch a perfect game. Ryan Vogelsong was nearly out of baseball and found a second life and path to glory. Of course, he went on to be a postseason hero. Brian Wilson played for the Dodgers. He, of course, had previously recorded a Taco Bell commercial.
They’re all worthy of that wall. What are your best memories of each of them?
**UPDATE** Here’s some more fun with the honorees following the ceremony:
Matt Cain was a little rusty pic.twitter.com/j39nz0GANp— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) July 29, 2018
These are some damn fine plaques, by the way. Matt Cain’s, in particular, is far better than the one he got back in May for the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame:
The ceremony also included an update from Larry Baer himself. Previously, to qualify for the wall, candidates needed to have either played 9 seasons with the Giants or played 5 seasons with the Giants that included 1 All-Star appearance in a Giants uniform. The new qualification made official today: a player with 3 World Series rings as a Giant is eligible.
This puts into play the likes of Tim Lincecum, Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez, and Sergio Romo and it’s no surprise that a new rule was created to allow for this. Of course, it’s just a wall, but on another level, there’s no shame in honoring the past, and the raison d’être of fandom is to absorb and revel in the past.
Plus, and most importantly, Matt Cain, Ryan Vogelsong, Brian Wilson, Tim Lincecum, Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez, and Sergio Romo have given us a lot of great memories over the years and the very least that can be done at this point is give them one last day in the spotlight once they officially hang up their cleats.
Welcome to the Wall of Fame.