This Week in Giants Baseball History

This Week in Giants Baseball History

Sure, with the signing of Barry Zito, the Giants' future suddenly looks a whole lot brighter. But the Giants' past on the seven days below reflect more of a mediocre bag – and a mostly bad bag if you were a catcher. Happy New Year! Go Giants!

January 1
The Beginning of the Lettered Ballpark Era: With little fanfare and to the disgust of many, the new San Francisco Giants ballpark at Third and King was renamed from Pac Bell Park to SBC Park on this date in 2004.  This lasted all of 2+ seasons, since with another corporate merger in February 2006, the name sponsoring entity became what is now known as AT&T, Inc., and the stadium followed suit in name in March.

January 2
Not Quite a Rolls Royce: Former Giant and current Predator impersonator Royce Clayton was born on this date in 1970, in Burbank, CA.  Despite being highly touted – particularly on defense – as a minor leaguer within the Giants farm system, Clayton has to this date never won a Gold Glove, and has made only one All-Star team.  He played his first five big league seasons with the Giants during 1991-95.

January 3
Welcome Back, Mr. Vizcaino: Perhaps as an insurance clause for aging infielders Ray Durham and Omar Vizquel, the Giants signed then-37 year old veteran Jose Vizcaino on this date in 2006.  Vizcaino's second stay with the Giants was a short one, as he was released later that August after batting only .210 in 64 games.

January 4
Welcome Back, Mr. Fernandez… Almost: According to the annals of baseball history, pitcher Osvaldo Fernandez was resigned by the Giants on this date in 1999, but he never pitched for the Giants again, as he was released later that October without having thrown a single pitch in the majors.  The author's memory is a bit fuzzy on this one, but presumably he must have either sustained a major injury sometime before the 1999 season or spent the entire season in the minors.

January 5
A Gale-for-Vail Kind of Trade: Rich Gale lasted all of one season as a Giant, as he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds on this date in 1983 in exchange for outfielder Mike Vail.  Vail spent less time in San Francisco than Gale did, as he in turn was traded to the Montreal Expos later that May.

January 6
Hard to Catch on in 1997: The Giants signed veteran catcher Damon Berryhill on this date in 1997, but this was just the beginning of the catching story that season, as a total of five catchers were used during the season.  Young catcher Marcus Jensen was traded mid-season for backstop Brian Johnson, then incumbent Rick Wilkins was released later in August, and a very young Doug Mirabelli saw a bit of action at the end of the season.  Berryhill was thus the only one in this group to be with the big league ballclub from start to finish that season.

January 7
What?  Yeah!: The Giants drafted University of Southern California catcher Dennis Littlejohn on this date in 1976.  Despite being selected second overall pick of the draft's secondary phase that season, Littlejohn did very little to catch on with the Giants in three Major League seasons, and he was dealt to the Kansas City Royals six seasons later.



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 dongsoo411@yahoo.com to commiserate, cheer, and complain.

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