The other night, in a — and I hate to use an adverb here but I need to in this case — staggeringly emotional evening, the San Francisco Giants gave Sergio Romo a chance to pitch in front of fans one last time. It marked the end of his 15-year pro career, which began June 26, 2008. Quite a lot has happened in the last 15 years, and if you’re an older Giants fan like me, the passage of time might’ve snuck up on you.
Fifteen years prior to Romo’s debut? June 26, 1993. The second game Barry Bonds sat out in his debut season with the Giants (a 5-1 loss to the Rockies; Armando Reynoso pitched a complete game). So, this post is about feeling old using dates from Giants history. It’s 2023. Time to dust off some memories and see if they make us feel young again or remind us of our mortality.
5 years ago... Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria became Giants
It’s already been five years? Time. Flies. Come September, it will also be the five-year anniversary of the worst September in team history (5-21). So, five years ago, things were memorably wobbly and the circumstances for the acquisition of Farhan Zaidi were coalescing. If you look at the five seasons preceding it, from 2013-2017, the Giants went 399-411 (.493). In the four seasons following 2018 — the Zaidi era — the Giants are 294-252 (.538). So, consider 2018 an inflection point.
9 years ago... Sergio Romo and Buster Posey star in Mi Amor
Still a crowd pleaser!
Nine years prior to that? We had the STILL memorable Life Coach Bill campaign:
9, 11, and 13 years ago... San Francisco Giants win the World Series
We’ve already been revisiting these with the reunion special events and, by gawd, the passage of time is brutal. Nine years prior to the 2010 World Series? Barry Bonds hit 73 home runs. Eleven years prior to that?
16 years ago... Tim Lincecum’s debut (May 6, 2007)
In about five weeks, this moment in Giants history will be able to get its drivers license. And since then, the Giants have completed a rebuild, one three championships, false started another rebuild, changed front office culture and stealth rebuilt on their way to perhaps a new competitive window. But The Freak was the sign that the Giants were about to turn a corner and become a real force. He fulfilled that promise and more.
18 years ago... Matt Cain’s debut (August 29, 2005)
As much as Lincecum’s arrival heralded the franchise’s rise to prominence, Cain’s signaled that player development would start helping to turn things around. That’s no small thing. The Giants’ farm system has, historically, been a place where hope goes to die a brutal death. A black hole of humanity and math. But since Cain didn’t lead the Giants to playoff berths by himself, he couldn’t be The Guy, even though he was a tremendous opening act that a lot of people swear they were in on the ground floor.
I usually compare Logan Webb to Matt Cain if only because of their vague similarities in style — though Cain was an incredible popup inducer rather than groundball expert — but 18 years on and there still haven’t been two players on the Giants like Cain and Lincecum.
20 years ago... the Giants moved on from Jeff Kent and had a 100-win season
And everything was great! There are no bad memories from the 20 years ago Giants team!
23 years ago...
Pacific Bell Oracle Park opened
The park’s opening being the nice round number of 2000 really makes it easy to keep track of just how quickly time passes.
30 years ago... Barry Bonds joined the Giants and they won 103 games
And everything was great! There are no bad memories from the 30 years ago Giants team!
34 years ago... Kevin Mitchell’s barehanded catch
Still a crowd pleaser!
65 years ago... the Giants moved to San Francisco
You know what was going on 65 years before that?
- Grover Cleveland began his second term as President of the United States — the first and only (so far!) time that a two-term president has served those terms nonconsecutively.
- The Ivory Coast became a French colony.
- The very first World’s Fair.
- The f-in kinetoscope has its first public demonstration.
- The Supreme Court declares the tomato to be a vegetable.
- License plates were invented.
Those were just ten that jumped to mind. I have some other honorable mentions: Jeff Kent lost a dugout fight to Barry Bonds 21 years ago; Bonds’ first home run as a Giant was also 30 years ago (4/12/1993); the first Giants game I ever attended was 35 years ago; the last 30-home run hitter was Barry Bonds with 45, 19 years ago; the last 100-RBI guy was Buster Posey 11 years ago; Madison Bumgarner rode a dirt bike and effectively ended his Hall of Fame chances six years ago; and, the first McCovey Chronicles post was 18 years ago.
Should that mean anything to you? If you’re a long-time reader of this site, I think it should! If nothing else, the legacy of this site will be two things: 1) willing the Marco Scutaro snow globe into the world (that was 10 years ago!) and 2) cementing Grant Brisbee as a baseball writer, whose work set into motion the series of events that led to the pitch clock, which might very well save Major League Baseball.
What are some of your “I can’t believe how long it’s been?” Giants memories?