San Francisco Giants: Matt Cain and the 5 Most Loyal Giants in History
The San Francisco Giants franchise has been around a long time, all the way back to the New York Gothams of 1883. Players have come, players have gone, but there have been a select few that have remained dear to the hearts of Giants fans due to their unwavering loyalty to the orange and black.
This week’s article focuses on Matt Cain and the five most loyal Giants. Considering that Cain is a “gimme,” and I do not yet consider him one of the “most loyal” Giants yet, that leaves me with only five places to fill.
Unfortunately, this list will not be able to accommodate consummate Giants like New York great Carl Hubbel, Vida Blue (who came back to finish his career as a “Real G”), Rich Aurilia and JT Snow (who both came back to finish as Giants), Juan Marichal (perhaps the best pitcher in team history), or recently Ryan Vogelsong (whose resurgence shows that second chances can work).
There are some all time greats on this list, however, so enjoy!
#6: Matt Cain
To be fair, Matt Cain is not necessarily sixth on this list. We do not yet have proper perspective with which to view Cain’s decisions and determine their loyalty to the San Francisco Giants.
What we do know, however, is that Matt Cain is a wonderfully humble, incredibly talented, and seemingly genuine young starting pitcher. It would be hard to envision a scenario wherein Giants fans would be upset about keeping him around too long.
#5: Mel Ott
This is such a difficult list because it involves ranking one of the greatest hitters of all time that played his entire 22-year career with the New York Giants fifth on the list of most loyal Giants.
There is no question that Mel Ott is one of the most loyal Giants of all time, but seeing as how the era in which he played was inherently less fluid than the market that exists today (plus, the financial stakes were comparatively lower), Ott’s tenure with the team may have occurred more as a matter of fortuitous happenstance rather than loyalty, per se.
#4: Will Clark
Will Clark had his finest seasons with the San Francisco Giants before leaving for greener pastures with the Texas Rangers. His 1994 salary with Texas was actually lower than the salary he earned with the 1993 Giants, but the Giants got the last laugh as his production never again reached his pre-free agent levels.
So why is Will Clark on this list? First, because most Giants fans absolutely love “The Thrill.” Second, because he came back to the organization to work in the front office, which makes him a G for life.
#3: Willie Mays
This one was tricky, as the top three are perhaps the loyalest of loyal Giants. Willie Mays is the granddaddy of the Giants. He cried following the 2010 World Series victory. He serves as mentor to throngs of new Giants. He is among the best players—if not the best player—of all time.
The only reason Mays is not number one is because he did not finish his career as a Giant, playing for the Mets in 1972-1973. Does this mean that Willie Mays was any less loyal than the two superstars that proceed him on this list? No. But I had to order it somehow, didn’t I?
#2: Barry Bonds
Barry Bonds is perhaps the most famous San Francisco Giant—for better or worse—in history. Regardless of implications of steroid use or the veracity of his home run title, Giants fans know that Barry Bonds truly loves the San Francisco community.
His loyalty was never more evident than it was when he re-signed with the Giants at figures well below what the open market would have offered him. He took the city by storm when he arrived, and he went out a G.
#1: Willie McCovey
Want to argue here?
Willie McCovey began his tenure with the San Francisco Giants as a 21-year-old rookie in 1959. Despite playing 52 games, he won the Rookie of the Year Award (granted, the standards were different, but still). He then played as a Giant until 1974, when he spent a few years checking out San Diego and Oakland before returning to the city where he left his heart from 1977 until 1980.
Willie McCovey is the most loyal Giant in history. Don’t believe me? See the Willie Mac Award. See McCovey Cove. See him at the games.