This Week in Giants Baseball History

No drug rumors here – most memories in this column are nice ones. More winter free agency signings of the past below, including some big names changing uniforms, and everything you could possibly want to know about Scott Servais.

January 15
Pre-Bonds Outfield Addition: Remember Chris James?  The veteran outfielder that had previously been with the Philadelphia Phillies, San Diego Padres, and the Cleveland Indians signed with the San Francisco Giants on this date in 1992.  James joined what ended up being a crowded outfield in '92, joining incumbents Willie McGee, Mike Felder, Darren Lewis, Cory Snyder, and Kevin Bass.  James had a mediocre season (.242/5/32), and wasn't invited back the following season – the Giants went another direction and signed some guy named Barry Bonds.

January 16
Third Time Not the Charm for Servais: Continuing a trend of signing veteran catchers in lieu of developing minor league ones, the Giants signed backstop Scott Servais on this date in 2002.  Servais had previously been with the team on two separate stints in 1999 and 2000, but he never saw any Major League action after his final signing.

January 17
First Time Was a Bit Better: Speaking of which, Servais signed his first Giants contract on this date in 1999.  Serving in a platoon role with Brent Mayne that season, Servais played in 69 games and put up some respectable numbers (.273/5/21).  However, he was granted free agency at the end of the season, but still managed to find his way back to the team for seven games by way of waivers at the trading deadline the following season.

January 18
A Baby Bull of a DH: After spending three games as a member of the Oakland Athletics the previous season, then-career National Leaguer and ex-Giant Orlando Cepeda decided to go with the designated hitter role and signed with the Boston Red Sox on this date in 1973.  The decision proved to be a wise one for the Baby Bull, as the fading slugger had a resurgent year at the plate (.289/20/86).  His 17-year career, however, would conclude the following season in a limited role with the Kansas City Royals.

January 19
Speaking of the Aforementioned Trend: The Giants signed veteran catcher and now Hall of Famer Gary Carter on this date in 1990.  In his lone season as a Giant, the once-offensive powerhouse Carter split time with incumbent Terry Kennedy and posted mediocre numbers (.254/9/27).

January 20
Two Stops Before a World Championship: Now-veteran pitcher Dustin Hermanson signed on for a second stint with the St. Louis Cardinals on this date 2003.  Marginally effective with the Cardinals this time around, Hermanson was released that June and promptly picked up the by the Giants, where he spent 1+ season as a valuable swingman and closer.  When the Giants didn't see Hermanson as their closer of 2005, he signed with the Chicago White Sox and proceeded to save 34 games for the eventual World Champions.

January 21
Last Stop for Vida: Except for a two-season stay with the Royals, Vida Blue spent his entire 17-year career with either the Athletics or the Giants.  And after finishing the 1986 season with the Giants, Blue decided to call it a career by signing a ceremonial contract with the A's on this date in 1987.  He might be known now for asking for donations on the radio, but Vida was a heck of a pitcher and is a Bay Area treasure.



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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