Happy weekend, San Francisco Giants fans. Today we take a moment to celebrate the career of a very beloved Giant: Joe Panik. The lovable second baseman retired this week, after failing to catch on with an MLB team in 2022.
Panik was a late first-round pick by the Giants in 2011, and broke through with the team in 2014, when he finished sixth in Rookie of the Year voting and played a key role in the World Series winning team.
He followed it up with a career year in 2015, hitting .312/.378/.455 and making the All-Star team. His offense started to fall off a year later, but his excellent defense made him a valuable player nonetheless, and he collected a Gold Glove Award.
And then things unfortunately started to go downhill, perhaps because of the back injury he suffered in 2015. His offense began to falter, and in 2019 the Giants designated him for assignment. He caught on with the New York Mets and rebounded a bit, having a quite good season with them. He played for the Mets again in 2020, and split 2021 between the Toronto Blue Jays and Miami Marlins, but by that time both his offense and defense were well below the levels that had made him an All-Star.
Panik will be added to the Giants Wall of Fame, as he fits one of the criteria: spending at least five seasons with the team and making an All-Star Game.
Giants fans will remember him for many things, most notably the sensational double play in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series. One thing I’ll always remember him for is the start of the 2018 season, when the Giants beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first two games of the year, winning 1-0 in both games ... with Panik home runs providing both runs.
Panik and his wife had their first kid last year, and he had an awesome career to reflect on. So hopefully retirement is wonderful.
What time do the Giants play this weekend?
The Giants play the San Diego Padres at 1:05 p.m. PT on both Saturday and Sunday.