Vote for Dusty: After guiding the San Francisco Giants to a surprise 90-72 record in 1997, Dusty Baker was named the NL Manager of the Year by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on this date in 1997. It was his second time Baker was honored with the award he won it first in 1993, and would win it again in… see below.
Rest in Piece, Joe: He never played for the Giants in a 22-year Major League career, but All-Star pitcher Joe Niekro gave birth to a Giant, current first baseman Lance Niekro. Joe would have been 62 on this date, were it not for a brain aneurism that eventually took his life a few weeks ago. Our prayers go out to the Niekro family.
Goodbye to Gardy: After six mostly successful seasons in a Giants uniform, the Giants bid adieu to veteran pitcher Mark Gardner, granting him free agency on this date in 2001. Gardy, however, came back to the Giants as a bullpen coach a year later, and continues in this role to this day.
A Parting Gift: No longer manager of the Giants by this date in 2002, Dusty Baker was nevertheless won his record-tying third NL Manager of the Year award for leading the Giants to the World Series. His reward? Four years as the manager of the Chicago Cubs. Ouch.
Steve Finley, MVP?: Not pulling your leg; it did happen in Japan. Probable former Giants outfielder Steve Finley (at the time a member of the San Diego Padres) was named the Most Valuable Player of the series between the Major League All-Stars and the Japanese All-Stars on this date in 1996. Finley went 8-for-20 in the series, driving in nine runs.
Barry Bonds, MVP: Outfielder Barry Bonds was named NL Most Valuable Player for a record fifth time on this date in 2002. He would pad this number by winning the award in each of the following two seasons.
Goodbye, Vida Twice!: On consecutive years on this date, the Giants granted pitcher Vida Blue free agency. The first time was in 1985, and the Giants resigned Blue a month later. The Giants did not sign him a second time in 1986; rather, Blue signed in January with his original team, the Oakland Athletics, and retired.
Don Shin eats, breathes, thinks, and bleeds in Orange and Black. Pac Bell Park officially opened on his 25th birthday (the one year he decided to move out of the Bay Area!!!). For the 2000 playoff drive, he dyed his hair orange while studying in Korea. He watched Game 6 of the '02 World Series at a restaurant in LA, and couldn't finish his meal afterwards. Feel free to write him at firstname.lastname@example.org to commiserate, cheer, and complain.
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