Last year, I was covering the San Francisco Giants for a photo wire service. I’d never covered a minor league game before, but there were two highly touted prospects playing for the Giants’ A-ball team in San Jose. After checking the pitching match-ups for an early season homestand that coincided with the big club playing on the road, I asked my editor to get me a credential for the game.
The minor league club, filled with 18- and 19-year-old kids playing in their first year of pro ball, clearly didn’t get much coverage as the team’s head of media relations met me at the gate and gave me a tour of the park. It was a beautiful day and the rookies dominated the game. I sold one of my photos of the catcher to Sports Illustrated, but nobody was interested in the pitcher or the shot of the two of them on the mound.
It was an effortless win and the two obviously had great chemistry. After the game, I told everyone with any interest that I just saw the future of the Giants and it looked awfully promising. I never would have believed, however, that it’d be so soon and on such a big stage.
Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey just led the Giants to the brink of the team’s first World Series championship in 56 years. Bumgarner shut out the most potent offense in the American League, scattering three hits over eight innings. Posey homered, threw out the only attempted stolen base, and called a perfect game behind the plate.
With parts of my family in town for the last 6 weeks, I’ve been neglecting my blog posting duties. I’ll be back to Canada and foreign service topics this week, but I wanted to note the passing of Bobby Thompson, the legendary member of the New York (baseball) Giants. Thompson will be forever linked to the greatest comeback in sports history.
In August 1951, the Brooklyn Dodgers held a seemingly insurmountable 13-1/2 game lead over the second-place cross-town rival Giants. The Dodgers mailed it in down the stretch winning 26 and losing 22 over the last 48 games. The Giants did what they had to do. They closed stronger than any team. Ever. Starting with 16 wins in a row, the Giants won 37 of their last 44 games, including the last seven in a row to force a best of three playoff with the Dodgers.
Willie Mays and the Giants prevailed 3-1 in game 1. Jackie Robinson and the Dodgers rebounded 10-0 in game 2. Despite the miraculous comeback, the Giants once again faced elimination as the Dodgers looked to close out a 4-1 victory in the bottom of the 9th in the decisive game 3. The Giants pushed across one run, making it 4-2. After a couple of base hits, Thompson came to the plate with one out. Legendary Giants broadcaster Russ Hodges describes the last confrontation:
I’ve heard Hodges’ call more times than I can count and it still gives me a chill. We’ll miss you, Bobby.