Wednesday, November 3, 2010

We love all you Giants

A lot of the stories being published right now would have you believe the last fifty years of fandom for supporters of the San Francisco Giants have been like a prison sentence. Don't get me wrong. It feels great to say "World Champion San Francisco Giants". It will certainly shut up some of the A's fans who actually put more effort into being Giant haters. But my memories of the Giants aren't about pain and misery. We got to root for some great teams and some astounding players over the last half century.

Of course we love Mays and McCovey and Marichal, but we also love Gaylord Perry, the forgotten man of the retired SF uniforms. He was like a precursor to Barry Bonds. Yes, he was cheating, but he was cheating for us, and that made a difference.

We also love the guys we got late in their careers who still produced for us. We love Harvey Kuenn and Joe Morgan and Rick Reuschel. We love the kids we traded away too early. We love Gary Mathews and Gary Maddox and George Foster and especially Orlando Cepeda.

We love Jose Pagan and Jose Uribe, Manny Trillo and Tito Fuentes.

We love all three Alou brothers.

We love the great nicknames. Ollie "Downtown" Brown. "Fireball" Frank Linzy. John the Count, Will the Thrill, Sudden Sam.

We love Jeff "Old Penitentiary Face" Leonard.

We love the guys we had at third. Jimmy Davenport and Jim Ray Hart. Matt Williams.

We love our second basemen. Hal Lanier, Tito Fuentes, Joe Morgan, Robby Thompson, Jeff Kent.

We even love the guys we hated. Poor Ray Sadecki, whose tombstone should read "The Bum We Got When We Gave Away Orlando Cepeda". Johnnie LeMaster, the shortstop who had the misfortune of taking the job after local boy and All-Star Chris Speier was traded away. LeMaster, who had the word "BOO" on his back for one home game back in the 1970s. We love Candy Maldanado, whose bad play in right cost us the NLCS so many years ago.

We even love Barry Bonds, a very unlovable guy. While it feels like a bad marriage now, I have to admit a screamed like a banshee at several home runs that found their way into McCovey Cove.

Thanks to all the guys who wore the uniform, who had on the cap the the big orange "SF" on it these past fifty years. It feels great now that this new team of kids and castoffs have brought home the big trophy, but we won't forget all the great guys and great memories that came before.

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