This Week in Giants Baseball History

It's a bit early for most, but tax season calls for some recollections on former Giants transactions and other monetary issues. Add to that a few cases of possible mistaken identity, and you have yourself the usual weekly ephemera.

February 19
Way, Way Before Castro and the Godfather Part II: On this date in 1937, the New York Giants opened up training camp – in Havana, Cuba.  This was somewhat of a rarity, but not unheard of, as the Brooklyn Dodgers also frequented the pre-socialist Caribbean island.

February 20
Record Signings: Willie Mays was the big fish on this date in 1963, as he signed a then-record $100,000 per year contract with the San Francisco Giants.  Inflation, free agency, and sheer lunacy later, his godson Barry Bonds signed a then-record $22.92 contract for two seasons, also with the Giants on this date in 1997 – nearly 115 times what Mays received annually!

February 21
Speaking of Money: Just wanted to throw a monetary reality check in here – according to Charlton's Baseball Chronology, on this date in 1968 the minimum salary for a big league ballplayer was raised to $10,000, with a daily meal allowance of $15 and $40 a week for training camp expenses.  Today, the latter two figures combined probably don't even cover a player's single Scottsdale green fees anymore!

February 22
No, No – Not Our Current Leadoff Man: On this date in 1979, the Giants signed Dave Roberts – a pitcher likely unrelated to the contemporary Dave Roberts.  This particular Dave Roberts didn't last long in orange and black, as he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates later that June.

February 23
No, No – Not the Legendary Colombian Soccer Player with a Fro: On this date in 1995, the Giants signed slick-fielding Venezuelan outfielder Carlos Valderrama.  It took him eight more years to crack the Major League roster, and he appeared in seven games with the Giants in 2003.

February 24
No, No – Not That Will Clark: On this date in 1979, the Giants signed William Clarke Bordley – better known as Bill Bordley – as a free agent.  The University of Southern California graduate got into eight games in 1980, but was promptly released at the end of the season.

February 25
Yes, That Much-Traveled Reggie Sanders: Looking to keep his playoff appearance streak intact, former Giant Reggie Sanders signed with… the Pirates on this date in 2003.  Needless to say, his streak was broken that season.

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 to commiserate, cheer, and complain.

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