Category Archives: Custom San Francisco Giants Jerseys

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The 2019 NFL Draft is under a week away and the Bay Area has some excellent local talent that will likely be drafted come next week. Here are some of the top Bay Area collegiate prospects ranked.
The Bay Area may not be the ideal football breeding grounds for prospective NFL talent, but it’s certainly produced its fair share of successful players over the years.

Universities such as Stanford and California have each produced a myriad of NFL stars with the likes of Andrew Luck, Richard Sherman, Jared Goff, and Cameron Jordan still dominating the league to this day. Even some of the smaller Bay Area schools have been able to produce NFL talent with both San Jose State and UC Davis having sent players to the big leagues in the past.

This year will be no exception as there are upwards to 10 or more Bay Area players who could find themselves selected in the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft. As expected, the Stanford Cardinal dominate this list as they are fresh off a nine-win season and a victory in the Sun Bowl.

However, both San Jose State and UC Davis manage to have players make the list proving that even smaller schools can and do produce NFL Draft talent. Surprisingly, Cal failed to have a prospect make the overall list — apart from the honorable mentions — despite a seven-win season of their own.

With that, let’s take a look at the top six 2019 NFL Draft prospects from the local Bay Area, first with a look at some honorable mentions.

Honorable Mentions: OL Nate Herbig (Stanford), CB Alijah Holder (Stanford), RB Patrick Laird (California), P Jake Bailey (Stanford), LB Joey Alfieri (Stanford), OL Jesse Burkett (Stanford), LB Jordan Kunaszyk (California), OL Brandon Fanaika (Stanford)

2019 NFL Draft
Wide Receiver, UC Davis
UC Davis
We start our list off with one of the better small-school prospects in the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft, UC Davis wide receiver Keelan Doss.

Doss was an extremely productive receiver during his time at UC Davis having hauled in 3,744 yards and 26 touchdowns over the last three seasons. In fact, over his final two years with the Aggies, Doss recorded a whopping 233 receptions for 2,833 receiving yards establishing himself as one of the most talented players at the FCS level.

The local California product is a physically imposing receiver who used his stature to dominate at lower levels of competition. However, there are concerns about how his skill set will translate to the next level.

Doss is far from the greatest athlete and his lack of athleticism could limit his separation ability in the NFL. He doesn’t have the quickest feet and his route running isn’t particularly refined meaning that he might have trouble against more agile defenders.

At the same time, Doss’ high-point ability and ball skills are where he really shines. The UC Davis product has strong hands and he uses them to the best of his ability when he extends out to make contested grabs.

While Doss doesn’t necessarily have the highest ceiling, he should be able to find his way on to an NFL roster as a depth receiver to start off as he continues to develop. If he could improve upon his outside release, Doss could be a very productive X receiver at the next level. If not, he may be better suited as a big slot.

Either way, expect Doss to be drafted on Day 3 come next week and fight for playing time in 2019.

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The 2nd episode of Forever Giants focuses on former left fielder Jeffrey Leonard, who talks with San Francisco icon Renel Brooks-Moon about his journey from a curious coach’s kid to a 2-time Major League Baseball All-Star.

Right off the bat, he talks about how he and his dad talked baseball every single day. Later in the interview, Renel gets him to talk about Roger Craig and their relationship as a clever setup for her to reveal to him how his old manager really thought of him. It’s a touching moment.

And then, of course, we get the full story behind his memorable “One Flap Down” celebration. Watch and enjoy.

You can watch the first episode of the series featuring Dave Dravecky here.

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For several days, we have been reading about the Houston Astros, during their championship 2017 season, using a video feed from a center-field camera at Minute Maid Park as a means of stealing the opposing catcher’s signs to the pitcher.

According to the story broken by the Athletic, which appeared to be strongly supported by online sleuths looking at game videos, when the catcher would waggle his fingers to indicate a change-up, for instance, someone in the Astros dugout would signal by banging on trash can to alert the batter to what was coming.

Hitting any pitch gets easier when you know it is coming. Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred says the league is investigating.

I do not know the full story of the Astros’ alleged sign-stealing or what the defense to the allegations might be. Thus, I begin with that disclaimer. But one thing I do know is that sometimes the lessons of baseball mean drawing solid distinctions.

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There are people in and out of baseball who indulgently chuckle over any fresh news of cheating. After all, the sport has a long history of skulduggery. At what point, though, does trying to steal an advantage become cheating? And should we care?

For one thing, cheating casts a shadow over one of the most famous moments in all of sports. In the 1951 National League playoff game between the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers, according to a 2001 Wall Street Journal article in which several Giants players finally came clean, the Giants used a telescope perched in their center-field clubhouse at the Polo Grounds to steal the opposing catcher’s signals.

Someone in the Giants’ clubhouse, often a coach, would press a buzzer connected to the team’s outfield bullpen, which was easily visible to batters facing the pitcher. One buzz for a fastball, two for an off-speed pitch.

A player in the bullpen then passed the signal to Giants batters by, say, tossing a ball in the air for a breaking pitch, or remaining still, meaning a fastball was coming.

In the bottom of the ninth of the Giants-Dodgers playoff game, backup catcher Sal Yvars was the bullpen signalman. He told the Journal in 2001 he had indicated to hitter Bobby Thomson that Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca (who later became a dear friend of mine) would be throwing a fastball when Thomson hit the game-winning home run that became known as “the shot heard ’round the world.”

When confronted by Journal reporter Joshua Harris Prager in 2001, Thomson waffled about whether he knew what was coming. Yvars and many of his former Giants teammates were not so shy. They had been stealing signs for the last 10 weeks of the season, when the Giants made a miraculous pennant run. The Giants won the pennant, but cheated to do so.

A certain amount of gamesmanship has been part of baseball from its earliest days, of course. If a team can decipher the other manager’s hand motions and figure out what’s going to happen, fine. But when physical steps are taken — whether it’s a team using a telescope or video camera in center field, or a pitcher using Vaseline (Gaylord Perry) or an emery board (Joe Niekro) to alter the surface of the ball — the sport descends into cheating.

When A. Bartlett Giamatti was the National League president — before he became MLB commissioner in 1988 — he confronted the issue of what the punishment should be for scuffing a baseball. Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Kevin Gross in 1987 was caught with sandpaper attached to his glove, presumably for roughing up the ball, which can dramatically alter the way pitches move. Giamatti seized the case to make a serious point.

Gross received a 10-day suspension, which he appealed. Giamatti’s denial of the appeal took the form of an essay worthy of the former Yale president. He explained why baseball must not tolerate common kinds of cheating, such as spitballs or corked bats or scuffed balls.

There was nothing amusing about them to Giamatti. “Cheating has always been considered destructive of the essence of a contest designed to declare a winner,” he wrote. “Cheating corrodes the integrity of any game.”

I’ll restrict myself here to discussing on-field cheating. The use of steroids and performance-enhancing drugs — chemical cheating — is its own special category. The Giants’ telescope and Gross’s sandpaper were instruments intended to assist the player other than the game equipment and the athlete’s skills and talent. If the Astros used video for sign-stealing just as the Giants used a telescope, justice should be meted out.

Is there any doubt that Houston would have continued to use its alleged advantage after winning the 2017 World Series? If the Washington Nationals overcame that hurdle to beat the Astros in the World Series last month, somewhere Bart Giamatti is smiling.

Vincent was commissioner of Major League Baseball from 1989 to 1992.

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The New York Mets have a new manager: Carlos Beltrán, who also played for the franchise from 2005 through 2011. Beltrán returns to New York with a laundry list of recommendations from his days as a de facto coach on the bench for the 2017 World Series-winning Houston Astros — and he could have the highest ceiling of anybody the Mets might have hired this offseason. But his hiring does come with a potential pitfall, if MLB history is any guide:

He was a legitimately great ballplayer.

Although many Met fans will never forgive Beltrán for taking the called strike that ended the 2006 National League Championship Series, he ended up compiling 30.2 wins above replacement1 for the franchise in his career, which ranks seventh all-time behind only Tom Seaver (74.6), Dwight Gooden (51.3), David Wright (51.2), Jerry Koosman (37.9), Darryl Strawberry (36.2) and Jacob deGrom (34.3). Tack on the 38.5 WAR he earned at his other destinations — the Royals, Yankees, Cardinals, Astros, Giants and Rangers — and Beltrán established himself as one of the best center fielders in MLB history, a borderline Hall of Famer at the very least.

Beltrán retired with a JAWS score (a measure of Hall of Fame value that averages together a player’s lifetime WAR with his WAR from his seven best seasons) of 56.4 over his playing career. Since 1901, there have been about two dozen players with a JAWS as high as Beltrán’s who tried their hand at managing as well. The best, according to The Baseball Gauge’s “Manager Points” — which reward managers for winning games and advancing in the playoffs — was easily shortstop Joe Cronin (58.4 JAWS). Cronin played for the Pirates and Senators before Washington named him player/manager in 1933 — a role he resumed in Boston after he was traded to the Red Sox two seasons later. He ranks 43rd all-time in Manager Points, slightly behind new Phillies manager Joe Girardi — whom, coincidentally, the Mets reportedly passed on as a managerial choice last month.

Cronin was a rare success story for great players-turned-managers. The typical case in that category, however, turned out more like Eddie Mathews or Ted Williams, neither of whom were able to convert their considerable knowledge of the sport into a winning record at the helm of a team. (The same tale basically went for players as legendary as Ty Cobb, Cy Young and Honus Wagner.) Williams — who once famously said, “all managers are losers; they are the most expendable pieces of furniture on the face of the Earth” — did manage to lead the Washington Senators to a surprising 86-win season in 1969, his first year with the club. But he was unable to replicate that success in subsequent seasons, going an abysmal 187-288 over his final three campaigns before walking away from the managerial game.

Perhaps that shouldn’t have been too surprising. As we’ve seen in our other research about players-turned-coaches, there is surprisingly little relationship between how well players played the game and how effectively they can guide others to playing the game well.

Plenty of managers do come from a playing background, of course. It’s just that most of history’s greatest managers were mediocre players at best. Two of the all-time leaders in Manager Points, for instance, are former Cardinals skipper Tony La Russa and ex-Braves boss Bobby Cox — who combined for a grand total of 0.6 WAR in their playing careers. If you plot out a manager’s JAWS score as a player against his Manager Points in the dugout, very few achieved excellence in both categories:

Cronin is in that group, as are former Chicago Cubs player/manager Frank Chance (who, in 1908, led the last championship winner on the North Side before 2016); three-time pennant-winning New York Giants manager Bill Terry; and even Dusty Baker, who managed the Giants, Cubs, Reds and — most recently — the Nationals. So it’s not entirely impossible to be a good player who becomes a high-quality manager (though none aside from Cronin was quite as good on the field as Beltrán was).

The only truly runaway success story among players-turned-managers is Joe Torre, who was an MVP in 1971 and retired with a JAWS of 49.3. He is not in the Hall of Fame as a player, but he was close to checking off a few of the boxes that mark a career bound for Cooperstown. As a manager, he overcame a below-average start to his career on the bench to win four championships and six pennants with the New York Yankees in the 1990s and 2000s. Torre ranks fourth on the all-time list of Manager Points; he was inducted into the Hall of Fame for his managerial work in 2014.

So Torre was almost as good on the field as Beltrán and a rousing success in his post-playing career. Needless to say, Mets fans would be beyond ecstatic if their new hire’s managerial stint in New York mimicked Torre’s. But Torre is the exception to the general rule that great players seldom make great managers — and that the greatest managers came from humble playing roots.

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What separates great major league baseball managers from good ones? Is it their ability to stay calm under pressure like the recently retired Bruce Bochy? Or do we head to the other end of emotional spectrum and celebrate managers like Billy Martin, who had a penchant for igniting players, bench coaches, umpires, fans, broadcasters, mascots — basically, anyone who had the misfortune of being in the line of fire?

Or rather, is greatness less about what goes on between the ears and in the heart, and more about winning championships? While this may seem like the simplest and purest way to distinguish the best from the rest, consider that acclaimed managers like Al Lopez (1, 410 wins), Bill Rigney (1,239 wins) Dusty Baker (1,484 wins), and Gene Mauch (1,902 wins) never hoisted a World Series trophy. Surely, no rational, objective, informed, and clear-thinking baseball fan or follower would deny these worthy men entry into the “Best Managers of All Time Club”.

Like so much in baseball, any conversation that has the word “best” — let alone “best of all time” — is sure to spark plenty of debate, disagreement and perhaps more than a few colorful words that would have made Billy Martin proud. But then again, it’s the arguments about baseball that elevate the sport and transform it from a pastime into — to echo the glorious movie Bull Durham — a religion.

And so, as we all gather in the hallowed and historic Church of Baseball, we turn our attention and hand over the pulpit to Marvin Benard, a former major league outfielder who spent nine seasons with the San Francisco Giants from 1995-2003, and who managed the Nicaraguan National baseball team in 2016 for the World Classic pre-qualifier tournament. In his view, here are the three core qualities that make and separate great managers from the rest:

1. They Have Masterful Strategic and Tactical Abilities
Great baseball managers have the ability — cultivated over many years of experience, but also rooted into their innate talent and intelligence — to see the game on multiple levels. For example, based on a dizzying array of factors that range from individual player health to ballpark dimensions, they put together line-ups that have the best chance of winning. At the same, they make shrewd, and often brilliant in-game decisions about defensive shifts, bullpen calls, mound visits, pinch-hitters, steals, hit-and-runs, mound visits — and the list goes on.

Marvin Benard, who later went on to be part of the broadcast crew for the Giants’ Spanish-language radio broadcasts, says there are many times when strategic plans and tactical decisions don’t align. For example, the plan may be to help a promising rookie pitcher get experience early in the season, so they will be more prepared for a possible pennant run in late summer. But what happens when this decision leads to blowout losses that negatively affect other players — not to mention the pitcher himself, who has gone from dominating at the college level to flopping at the Major League level? That’s where great managers make adjustments that pay dividends in the long run.

2. They Effectively Manage Egos
It doesn’t take much for a clubhouse to go from functional to dysfunction, and harmonious to toxic. Often — and perhaps surprisingly to some fans — this is not always mapped to wins and losses. For example, a team could be leading their division and racing to the post season, yet behind closed doors (and sometimes in front of them) there could be an ongoing saga that makes afternoon soap operas seem tame by comparison. That is where great managers rise to the occasion and effectively manage various egos —through coddling, tough love, agents, line-up decisions, the media — and so on, in order to keep the wheels on the bus from coming off.

According to Marvin Benard, the best example of a manager in recent times who had an incredibe knack for managing egos was Joe Torre and his time spent with the Yankees. He openly and proudly admitted that he cultivated different relationship dynamics with every man on his roster, because he felt there was no other way for them to succeed as players, and for the team to succeed as a whole. While his talent in this area was not the only reason for his success as a manager, it certainly went a long way towards helping his teams win 2,236 games, reach the post-season an unbelievable 12 consecutive years, and win the World Series four times in 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000.

3. They Achieve Synergy
Yes, we all know that the word “synergy” is an overused, often tedious staple of the corporate-speak vocabulary. But there are situations where synergy — i.e. when the sum total exceeds the individual value of its component parts or elements — is a legitimate thing that, as if by magic, turns ordinary into extraordinary. Well, with all due respect to the baseball gods, this kind of magic is not celestial: it’s pragmatic, on-the-ground reality conjured up by great managers who get more out of their teams than anyone had a reasonably right to expect; including players themselves.

Marvin Benard states that every year, there are teams that on paper are either slated to be non-competitive — which is a nicer way of saying that everyone expects them to stink — yet they over-achieve and fight for a pennant; sometimes going all the way. Granted, there are many factors that contribute to this success, but make no mistake: great managers raise the bar and get much more out of their players and tea

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Atlee Hammaker easily could look back on his big-league career with great pride or great disappointment.

Pride comes from the fact that the former Giants left-hander put together a dominant 1983 season in which he led the National League with a 2.25 ERA, and that he overcame several injuries to spend a dozen years in the majors.

Disappointment would come from the fact that those injuries prevented him from having the type of career he might have envisioned in the early 1980s.

Actually, Hammaker — whom the Giants acquired from Kansas City in the Vida Blue deal just prior to the 1982 season — admits he reflects on his time in the big leagues with both pride and disappointment, although disappointment isn’t the word he uses.

“It was frustrating,” Hammaker said during a recent phone interview from Knoxville, Tenn., where he lives. “… It was frustrating to me, and to management. You can get labeled, ‘He’s good when he’s on, but he’s hard to keep on the mound.’

“Sure, sometimes you think about what could have been, should have been, but I look at my whole career as a rewarding experience.”

Atlee Hammaker, 1987
Atlee Hammaker, 1987
Few big-league experiences could have been more personally rewarding for Hammaker than the one he enjoyed exactly 22 years ago today. At Candlestick Park on April 17, 1983, Hammaker retired the first 21 Reds before Johnny Bench broke up his bid for perfection with a single leading off the eighth inning. Hammaker wound up with a two-hitter in a 3-0 victory.

In his next start, he held the Cubs hitless for five innings at Wrigley Field en route to a three-hit shutout.

So how good does Hammaker believe he was when he was at the top of his game?

“I didn’t think anybody could touch me,” he said in a rare bit of bravado.

Unfortunately for Hammaker, injuries could touch him. By the time he toted a 1.70 ERA into the 1983 All-Star Game at Comiskey Park, he had been dealing with shoulder tendinitis for probably his previous three starts. Nevertheless, he agreed to pitch that night, and wound up allowing seven runs in two-thirds of an inning. Fred Lynn tagged him for the first grand slam in All-Star Game history.

To those fans who believe Lynn’s slam irreparably ruined Hammaker’s psyche, he politely might answer, “Rubbish.” Hammaker said his All-Star Game memory is a positive one. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t aware of those negative perceptions.

“I already knew what people were gonna say,” Hammaker said, adding that he put off going on the disabled list because, in essence, he wanted to prove to any doubters that the slam would not affect him.

His first start after the All-Star Game: a complete-game, 4-2 win over the Cubs. His last start of ’83: a 14-strikeout, one-walk, 7 2/3-inning outing against Houston. So much for a damaged psyche.

A damaged body, that’s another matter. Hammaker missed most of the 1984 season after having arthroscopic surgery on his rotator cuff and enduring bone spurs in his elbow. He missed all of the ’86 season because of shoulder problems, surgery on both knees and a debilitating virus.

Hammaker returned in 1987, and had a 10-10 record for the Giants in their NL West-championship season. Of course, some fans remember Hammaker in ’87 only for the three-run homer he allowed to the Cardinals’ Jose Oquendo in Game 7 of the NLCS in St. Louis’ 6-0 romp.

Unlike Lynn’s slam, Oquendo’s home run hasn’t been that easy for Hammaker to accept.

“Now that one was frustrating,” is how Hammaker put it.

He spent the next 2 1/2 seasons with the Giants before they released him in August 1990. He pitched briefly for the Padres in 1990 and ’91, and then after “Tommy John” surgery cost him all of the ’92 and ’93 seasons, Hammaker finished his career with the White Sox in 1994 and ’95.

In the decade since he retired, Hammaker devoted much of his time to working for a charitable organization, the Knoxville Christian Community Foundation. He also is a part owner of some Papa John’s pizza franchises in the Columbus, Ga., and Chicago areas.

More recently, Hammaker, 47, has become a part owner of a company that handles office-records management. He also works as a pitching instructor at a Knoxville baseball facility called “The Yard,” run by former Blue Jays infielder Garth Iorg.

Hammaker and his wife, Jenny, have been married for more than 25 years. Befitting someone who played two years as a shooting guard at East Tennessee State (“I was a slasher,” he said), Hammaker could put together a basketball team with his daughters. The Hammaker starting five: Erica, 18, a freshman at Belmont College; Jenna, 16; Alesa, 13; Christa, 11; and Anna, 8.

The former Giants with whom Hammaker remains close are fellow pitchers Dave Dravecky, Gary Lavelle and Scott Garrelts. Hammaker still hasn’t seen the Giants’ ballpark in China Basin, but he did make it to the final game at Candlestick on Sept. 30, 1999.

That day provided Hammaker with a full-circle, what-it-all-means perspective. For one, Hammaker said that former Giants general manager Al Rosen told him, ” ‘Don’t ever have any regrets about your career. You were always one of my favorite players.’ That meant a lot to me.”

Also that day, Marge Wallace was wearing a Hammaker jersey. Wallace, a physically and mentally challenged woman who used to station herself outside the Giants’ clubhouse before each game, was one of the team’s most devoted and noted fans (she died in 2003). Seeing Wallace in one of his jerseys, “I was as proud as I’ve ever been,” Hammaker said.

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Swinging a football helmet at someone’s head is a terrible thing.

Swinging a baseball bat at an opponent’s noggin is far more hazardous.

The sports world has been abuzz about the NFL “Footbrawl” on Nov. 14 in which the Cleveland Browns’ Myles Garrett lost control of his senses.

The Browns defender, in an end- of-game rage, ripped the helmet off Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph. Even worse, he slammed Rudolph on top of his head with the helmet.

No one was seriously hurt, but Garrett has been suspended indefinitely and lesser penalties have been doled out to others caught up in the fracas.

Frightful as it was, it was child’s play compared to what unfolded in a baseball game on Aug. 22, 1965, at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park.

In one of the ugliest sports scenes ever, angry San Francisco Giant Juan Marichal swung his bat at Los Angeles Dodgers catcher John Roseboro, splitting the top of his head. The injury required 14 stitches.

A bench-clearing brawl broke out. Another Giant, on-deck hitter Tito Fuentes, held his bat in a cocked position, but never swung it.

Umpire Shag Crawford tackled Marichal, who continued kicking, with the ump suffering cuts in the process. Others suffered minor injuries.

If not for Giants superstar Willie Mays, the brawl might have been much worse. In the role of peacemaker, Mays ushered Roseboro, a personal friend, to safety and helped calm the situation.

Later in the game, Mays slugged a two-run homer run off Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax, leading to a 4-3 Giants victory.

By today’s standards, the penalties for that fight were light. Marichal was fined $1,750 and suspended for eight days.

Roseboro sued Marichal for $110,000 and was granted $7,500.

That Sunday afternoon game had been a pressure cooker prior to Marichal’s bizarre decision to strike Roseboro in the head — an action never seen before or since on a big league diamond.

In a battle of future hall of famers, both pitchers — Marichal and Koufax — had thrown pitches perilously close to hitters, seemingly on purpose.

Batting in the bottom of the third, Marichal felt catcher Roseboro intentionally had returned a throw to Koufax near his cheek.

Speaking later, Roseboro admitted the close call was “no accident.” Marichal confronted Roseboro, who removed his mask. After the men exchanged expletives, Marichal began swinging his bat like a club.

Contributing to the incident, perhaps, were disturbing activities away from the stadium. A bloody civil war was raging in Marichal’s homeland of the Dominican Republic.

In South Central Los Angeles near Roseboro’s home, the infamous Watts riots were taking place. Flames were visible at Dodgers Stadium.

Regarding the recent football violence, it remains to be seen if Garrett and Rudolph will ever make up. But there is a happy ending, of sorts, to the Marichal-Roseboro feud.

In 1975, Marichal was traded to the Dodgers. Years later, Marichal and Roseboro played together in a Dodgers’ Oldtimers game. Roseboro let it be known he carried no grudge.

In 2002, Roseboro, one of baseball’s first African-American catchers, was laid to rest in Los Angeles at age 69. Against all odds, Marichal, his one-time adversary, served as a pallbearer and offered an inspiring tribute.

All was forgiven, it seemed. That doesn’t mean it will be forgotten.

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The San Francisco Giants open a three-game series with the Reds at Oracle Park on Friday, and ace Luis Castillo will take the mound for Cincinnati in the opener.

Back in 2015, he was a little-known Single-A reliever when the Giants packaged him along with another pitching prospect and traded him to the Miami Marlins for veteran Casey McGehee.


Overall, the Giants have a fairly clean history when it comes to cringe-worthy trades. Trading a young George Foster to the Cincinnati Reds and flipping Gaylord Perry for Sam McDowell stand out as the two major blemishes on the long, storied history of the franchise.

That being said, there are a few other active players who came up in the Giants system but found success elsewhere after they were cut loose via trade, waivers, Rule 5 draft or outright release.

Ahead we’ve ranked the top five based on how much the Giants would like to have those players back here in 2019.

Let’s start with a few honorable mentions.

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The San Francisco Giants are honoring their 1997 team at tonight’s game, marking the 20 year anniversary of their improbable National League West crown. Two of the most important members of that team will only be there in fans and the team’s memories.

Darryl Hamilton and Rod Beck are no longer with us, but their play on the field and their personalities off the field have kept them in our memories ever since.

After the 1996 Giants finished in last place, manager Dusty Baker’s boys went from worst to first. It was Brian Sabean’s first season as General Manager and he began by trading fan favorite Matt Williams to the Cleveland Indians for second baseman Jeff Kent, shortstop Jose Vizcaino, relief pitcher Julian Tavarez, and Joe Roa.

The Giants also traded for first baseman J.T. Snow from the Anaheim Angels and started rookie third baseman Bill Mueller, completely revamping their infield.

Hamilton was signed in January as a free agent. He had been with Texas the previous year, hitting .293 and the Giants brought him in to be their new center fielder and leadoff hitter.

The 32 year old played 125 games in 1997, but his leadership on and off the field could not be measured by any numbers. After Marvin Benard was asked to start as a 25 year old rookie in 1996, it was critical to bring in a veteran like Hamilton to shore up such a critical position as center field at Candlestick Park.

Beck, who had been with the Giants since 1991, was already established as the team’s closer. Known as “Shooter,” Beck already had 162 career saves with San Francisco when the year began. His 37 saves were great, but it was one of his seven wins that every Giant fan will remember forever. In what is known as “The Brian Johnson Game,” it was Beck who gave Johnson the chance to bat in the 12th inning.

Beck began the inning by allowing three straight singles to load the bases in a 5-5 game in the 10th inning. He followed that up with a strikeout and a double play to send “The ‘Stick” into a frenzy.

What was even more remarkable than the torturous 10th inning was the next two innings Beck pitched. Beck went 1-2-3 in both the 11th and 12th innings to set up Johnson’s walk off to lead off the bottom of the 12th.

Both the Giants were 84-69 after the game, but all the momentum was in San Francisco.

The team of “Dustiny” clinched the West in one of the most remarkable one year turnarounds in team history.

Hamilton was gone the next season in a trade with the Colorado Rockies for Ellis Burks. After two seasons in Colorado, Hamilton finished his career with the New York Mets, including going to the World Series in 2000.

Beck would go on to save 51 games for the Chicago Cubs in 1998 and also had stints with the Boston Red Sox and San Diego Padres before retiring in 2004. Just three years later, the beloved closer had died at the age of 38.

“It’s such a tragedy for him to go at such an early age,” said Giants Manager Bruce Bochy, who managed Beck in San Diego. “It’s a bad day for baseball. Everybody who played with Rod Beck could tell you what a big heart he had.”

Hamilton was killed two years ago in a murder-suicide that was hard for many in the game to accept.

Thoughts and prayers out to the family of Darryl Hamilton. Great man, great teammate, and even better person. RIP DHam.

— Dan Plesac (@Plesac19) June 22, 2015

RIP DHam-Just can’t believe this is real..You will be missed bro.

— cliff floyd (@CliffFloyd30) June 22, 2015

When the Giants honor the teammates of Hamilton and Beck today at AT&T Park, their memory will be felt throughout the stands and throughout the city.

The man who led games off and the man who finished them will never be forgotten.

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In his first major-league at-bat, Johnnie LeMaster hit an inside-the-park home run off the Dodgers’ Don Sutton. LeMaster didn’t even have to slide.

The rest of LeMaster’s 12-year big-league career didn’t go so smoothly. He had a career batting average of .222 and hit just 21 more homers.

Worst of all, he became the whipping boy for Giants fans during a dark era in their history. Although known mainly for his defensive prowess, he committed 175 errors during his 10-plus years with the team, a career record for a Giants shortstop.

He was booed so often and so loudly at Candlestick Park that, as a joke, he entered a game in July 1979 wearing a jersey with the word “BOO” on his back, in place of his name.

When the Giants played their final game at the ’Stick in 1999, he joined a group of other former players for the occasion. True to form, the fans booed him.

“It was kind of a joke,” LeMaster said on the phone from his hometown of Paintsville, Ky. “They’ve had two Johnnie LeMaster Nights since I retired. It’s unbelievable how the fans come up to me and say, ‘We don’t think you were treated right while you were here.’”