The New York Giants had five World Series trophies before the team moved to California, but it wasn’t until these castoffs and misfits joined the San Francisco Giants that a trophy was won in San Francisco. The Giants went on to win two more championships in the next four years, but no fan will ever forget the contributions of the members of the first championship.
All four retired the following season, which is why they are each eligible for the 2017 Hall of Fame. Renteria signed with the Cincinnati Reds for one season before retiring. Burrell signed a one year deal to stay in San Francisco, but didn’t have nearly the same contribution to the team in 2011. Sanchez was unable to play in 2011 because of injury and Rowand was released and signed with Miami before 2011 was done.
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None of the four will be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. It is even possible that they will not receive any votes at all. However, it is important to remember key contributors to any championship team. Renteria, Burrell, Sanchez and Rowand all played key roles on that team.
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Renteria won the World Series MVP, but most fans remember Renteria as a major disappointment before that October. Renteria could not stay on the field as injuries kept him from contributing. Juan Uribe and others helped the Giants at shortstop and continued to win despite Renteria’s injuries. However, Edgar made a promise to his teammates that if they could get to the post-season, he would help them win. That became quite the understatement as Renteria had as big an impact as anyone as they beat the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and Texas Rangers. It was the World Series in particular where Renteria shined, as his two home runs helped the Giants win Games 2 and 5 and finally bring a trophy to San Francisco.
Burrell was released by the Tampa Bay Rays during the 2010 season, and former college teammate Aubrey Huff helped convince the Giants to sign him and bring him to San Francisco. Unlike Renteria, Burrell thrived in the regular season. His 18 home runs were a huge part of the Giants second half push to the playoffs as they beat the San Diego Padres by a single game. Despite his struggles in the post-season, Burrell was instrumental in helping the Giants even play in October.
Sanchez helped solidify second base in 2010. It was a position that has always seemed to have a revolving door in San Francisco in recent history, but in 2010, Sanchez was their every day second baseman. He was as important in the lineup as he batted second and helped set the table throughout the playoffs. He was a double machine and helped the Giants with some magnificent defense as well. 2010 was Sanchez first opportunity in his career to play in October and he made the most of it.
Rowand was mostly a disappointment in his five seasons in San Francisco. There was a chance that he wouldn’t even make the 25 man roster in the post-season because he had lost his everyday center field job to Andres Torres. With Burrell and Cody Ross starting in left and right field, Rowand was a high priced outfielder without a position. However, manager Bruce Bochy knew Rowand could be valuable as a pinch hitter and more importantly as a defensive replacement. Burrell was not a strong defender and with him likely to be the designated hitter in the World Series, Rowand could play the outfield in Texas. His defense was critical for a team reliant on pitching and defense and he was on the field for the final out in Game 5. While it wasn’t a storybook career for Rowand in San Francisco, you can’t underestimate each and every player’s contributions on a 25 man roster when you only make the playoffs by a single game and get pushed to the limits in October.
The Hall of Fame has such a small percentage of the players that have played this great game. The four Giants from the 2010 team that are eligible will not be added to that short list. However, it is impossible to think of that first championship without thinking about the contributions of these Giants. They may not be Hall of Famers, but they will be enshrined forever in Giants fans memories for what they did in 2010.
The results of the Baseball Writers Association of America election will be announced on Jan. 18. Any candidate receiving votes on at least 75 percent of all ballots cast will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on July 30, 2017.