Picking a San Francisco Giants All-Time Starting Lineup
It took the San Francisco Giants 52 long years to win their first World Series title in San Francisco. Over a half century of baseball had been played in "The City By The Bay" when manager Bruce Bochy led the Giants to their first world championship.
In the Giants' tenure in San Francisco, many Hall of Fame members and outstanding players have worn the orange and black.
Let's take a position by position look at the all-time San Francisco Giants team, from 1958 to today.
Starting Pitcher: Juan Marichal
Juan Marichal, the "Dominican Dandy," is our all-time San Francisco Giants starting pitcher. He is a Hall of Fame member and pitched for the Giants from 1960-1973. Over those 14 seasons, Marichal won 238 games and lost 140.
Marichal had an ERA of 2.84 and WHIP of 1.095, both slightly better than Tim Lincecum. Marichal threw 3,443.2 innings as a Giant, allowing 3,153 hits and striking out 2,281 hitters.
As a Giant, Marichal was a nine-time All-Star and twice led the National League in wins. He also has 244 complete games and 52 shutouts to his credit.
It was a tough decision between Marichal and Tim Lincecum, as both are truly outstanding pitchers. I ultimately went with Marichal based on his longevity and 14 great years in a Giants' uniform.
Honorable Mention: Tim Lincecum
He is the only pitcher in the history of baseball to win back-to-back Cy Young awards in his first two full major league seasons. Lincecum has a career record of 69-41, with an outstanding ERA of 2.98 and WHIP of 1.188.
Lincecum broke in with the Giants in the middle of the 2007 season. In these past four and a half years, he has thrown 1,028 innings and struck out 1,127 batters. He has led the league in strikeouts in three different seasons.
Lincecum is adored by the Giants fans, and he has thrived in San Francisco. He has been a dominant pitcher over his career and helped lead the Giants to their first World Series title in San Francisco.
Honorable Mention: Gaylord Perry
Perry pitched 10 of his 22 seasons with the San Francisco Giants. He compiled a record of 134-109, with an ERA of 2.96 and WHIP of 1.152.
As a Giant, Perry threw 2,294.1 innings, allowing 2,061 hits and striking out 1,606. Perry was also known for his propensity to load up the baseball with illegal substances from time to time.
In one of the worst moves in Giants history, Perry was traded to Cleveland following the 1971 season for Sam McDowell. He went on to win the first of his two Cy Young awards that very next year.
Relief Pitcher: Brian Wilson
Brian Wilson gets my vote in a very tight race, as there were many top candidates for this award.
In addition to being a top-notch closer for the past four seasons, Wilson was the man who closed out the NLCS and World Series for the Giants, giving them their first championship in San Francisco.
Wilson's career numbers are solid, although there is room for improvement. He has pitched for the Giants from 2006 to now and has a career ERA of 3.17, with 170 career saves. His WHIP of 1.327 is high, but Wilson always has a knack for getting that final out.
Wilson has struck out 338 batters in 318 innings of work. In 2010, he led the National League with 48 saves. He is also a three-time All-Star. I believe when Wilson's career with the Giants is over, he will ultimately be the saves leader.
Honorable Mention: Rod Beck
He pitched seven years for the Giants and saved 199 games. His career ERA was 2.97 and he had a WHIP of 1.073. Beck also was a three-time All-Star.
Statistically, Beck is a bit better than Wilson, but as a life-long Giants fan, I will always remember Wilson closing out the NLCS and World Series, so he gets my vote.
Honorable Mention: Robb Nen
He pitched for the Giants for five seasons from 1998-2002. Nen accumulated 206 saves with an ERA of 2.43 and WHIP of 1.084. These numbers are also better than Wilson, but Nen was unable to deliver a World Series to San Francisco in 2002.
Nen struck out 453 hitters in 378.1 innings of work. He was probably the most dominant of the Giants' closers, but even so, I give Wilson the nod because of the World Series.
Honorable Mention: Greg Minton
The "Moon Man" pitched 13 seasons for the Giants, with 125 saves. He threw a total of 870.1 innings for the Giants, with an ERA of 3.23 and WHIP of 1.417.
Catcher: Buster Posey
With all due respect to Dick Dietz, Benito Santiago and Bengie Molina, Buster Posey gets my vote for the Giants all-time catcher. I may be "betting on the come" so to speak, but I believe that Posey will easily surpass the others in every offensive category.
Posey broke in with the Giants in 2009 as a late season call-up. He started 2010 in the minors and was called up to San Francisco in late May of 2010. What Posey did from that point on was incredible.
Posey caught a great pitching staff, batted clean up and became one of those "glue guys" that every successful team needs. Posey was the NL Rookie of the Year in 2010.
Big things were expected of Posey in 2011, but his season was cut short due to a severe injury. He is doing well with his rehab and is expected to be back at full strength for the 2012 season.
For his career, Posey has hit 294 with 22 home runs and 88 RBI in 160 big league games. The Giants are counting on Posey returning strong and helping to lead the offense in 2012.
First Base: Willie McCovey
Hall of Famer Willie McCovey is our pick for the greatest San Francisco Giants first baseman. He was the most feared left-handed hitter of his time.
McCovey broke in with the Giants in 1958 and played a total of 19 years in San Francisco. As a Giant, McCovey hit .274 with 469 home runs and 1,388 RBI.
McCovey was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1959, a six time All-Star and was the league MVP in 1969.
Honorable Mention: Orlando Cepeda
The "Baby Bull" broke in with the Giants in 1958 and earned NL Rookie of the Year honors. He played for the Giants until early 1966, when he was traded to St. Louis for Ray Sadecki in another terrible blunder by Giants' management.
As a Giant, Cepeda was a six-time All-Star and hit .308, with 226 home runs and 767 RBI. Cepeda is also a Hall of Fame member.
Honorable Mention: Will Clark
Will "The Thrill" excited Giant fans with his gritty attitude and his sweet swing. Clark played for the Giants from 1986-1993 and was a five-time All-Star and also won a Gold Glove in 1991.
As a Giant, hit .299 with 176 home runs and 709 RBI.
Second Base: Jeff Kent
Our all-time San Francisco Giants second baseman is Jeff Kent. He played for the Giants from 1997-2002. In those six years, he drove in over 100 runs every season. He teamed with Barry Bonds to form a powerful one-two punch in the Giants' lineup.
Kent batted .297 with 175 home runs and 689 RBI as a Giant. He was a three-time All-Star and also the NL MVP in 2000. Much was made of the icy relationship between he and Barry Bonds, but on the field, the duo complimented each other perfectly.
There is a decent chance that Kent will make it into the Hall of Fame at some point.
Honorable Mention: Robby Thompson
Thompson played his entire 11-year career for the Giants from 1986-1996. He was an excellent fielder and good contact hitter.
Thompson hit .257 with 119 home runs and 458 RBI. He was a two-time All-Star and won one Gold Glove.
Third Base: Matt Williams
Matt Williams broke in with the Giants in 1987 and played for San Francisco for 10 seasons. He batted .264 with 247 home runs and 732 RBI. He was known for his power and led the league with 43 home runs in 1994. Defensively, Williams was also solid at the "hot corner."
Williams was a four-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner.
Shortstop: Rich Aurilia
Rich Aurilia gets the nod as our shortstop. He played for the Giants from 1995-2003, then again in 2007-2009. Over that 12-year stint, Aurilia amassed 143 home runs and 574 RBI while hitting .275.
Aurilia had his best season as a Giant in 2001, when he led the NL in hits with 206. He also belted 37 home runs with 97 RBI and batted .324. This was Aurilia's lone All-Star season.
Aurilia was also a solid, although unspectacular, defender.
Honorable Mention: Chris Speier
Speier played 10 years with the Giants and recorded three All-Star selections. He hit .248 with 70 home runs and 409 RBI.
Left Field: Barry Bonds
Barry Bonds played 15 of his 22 seasons in a Giants uniform. As a Giant, Bonds batted .312, with 586 home runs and 1,440 RBI. He was a 12-time All-Star as a Giant (14 overall) and won five MVP awards (seven overall).
Bonds was an excellent overall player. He stole 514 bases in his career, 263 of those as a Giant. He was also a fine defensive player and won five Gold Gloves as a Giant (eight overall).
He was the most feared hitter of his time and led the league in walks 12 times, as pitchers were afraid to challenge him. As a Giant, Bonds had an OBP of .477, SLG of .666 and OPS of 1.143. Those are just incredible numbers.
Bonds' career has been tarnished with allegations of steroid use, but he was still a great player. He finished his career as the all-time home run leader with 762 and all-time walks leader with 2,558.
Honorable Mention: Kevin Mitchell
This slugger played five seasons in San Francisco from 1987-1991. He hit 143 home runs with 411 RBI. Mitchell was a two-time All-Star and won the NL MVP award in 1989. In that season, Mitchell led the league with 47 home runs and 125 RBI.
Center Field: Willie Mays
In my opinion, Willie Mays was the greatest all-around player in the history of the game. He could do it all and was a true five-tool player. Mays also likes to say he was a six-tool player, as his knowledge of the game and baseball instincts was also superior.
Mays played 23 seasons in the majors, 21 of which were for the Giants. He broke into the big leagues as a Giant in 1951 and won Rookie of the Year honors. He moved west with the team in 1958.
His overall body of work is incredible. As a Giant, Mays played in 2,857 games, hit 646 home runs (660 total) and drove in 1,859 runs. Mays was also a tremendous defensive player, winning 12 Gold Glove awards.
What makes these numbers even more impressive is that Mays missed two and a half of his prime years due to military service.
Mays was a 20-time All-Star, 19 of which were in a Giants uniform. Mays was also a two-time MVP.
Mays is honored in front of the beautiful AT&T Park, located at No. 24 Willie Mays Plaza, with a beautiful statue. If you ever go to a Giants game, make sure to stop by and see it. It lists his incredible accomplishments as a Giant.
Right Field: Bobby Bonds
Bobby Bonds played seven seasons for the Giants from 1968-1974. Over those years, he hit .273 with 186 home runs and 552 RBI. He also had great speed and stole 263 bases.
Bonds was a tremendous athlete and was often unfairly compared to Willie Mays. The two, however, became friends, and Bonds had such a respect for Mays that he made Mays the Godfather to his son Barry.
As a Giant, Bonds was a two-time All Star and won two Gold Gloves. After his playing career, Bonds was also a batting coach for the organization.
Honorable Mention: Felipe Alou
Alou played for the Giants from 1958-1963. Over that six-year period, Alou batted .286 with 85 home runs and 325 RBI. He earned one All-Star selection in 1962.
After his playing days, Alou managed the Giants from 2003-2006. He led the team to one playoff appearance.
An interesting fact is that Felipe, along with brothers Matty and Jesus, became the only trio of brothers to ever play in the same outfield, accomplishing this feat in 1963. The middle brother, Matty, passed away a few days ago. RIP.
Manager: Bruce Bochy
Bruce Bochy has managed the Giants for four seasons and gets our nod for the all-time Giants manager. He is the only manager to lead the Giants to a World Series title. For this, Bochy will always be revered in the minds of Giants fans.
Honorable Mentions: Herman Franks, Roger Craig and Dusty Baker