Crawford driven to 'prove doubters wrong'

February 27th, 2021

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- ’s decorated resume includes two World Series rings, two All-Star Game selections, three Gold Glove Awards and a Silver Slugger Award, but the veteran shortstop still arrives at Spring Training every year feeling like he has something more to prove.

“I think I’ve always kind of done that throughout my whole career,” Crawford said during a Zoom call with reporters on Friday. “Trying to prove doubters wrong, prove people wrong. That’s definitely not going to stop this year.”

For the past decade, Crawford has been a mainstay in the infield for the Giants, the team he grew up rooting for during his upbringing in the Bay Area. He’s been living his childhood dream since debuting with the Giants in 2011, but his tenure in San Francisco could be winding down as he enters the final year of the six-year, $75 million extension he signed in November 2015.

With highly touted shortstop Marco Luciano on his way, Crawford’s future with the organization is murky, but he said he’s trying not to look too far down the road.

“I’m trying not to think about that a whole lot,” Crawford said. “I’m just trying to get ready for the season. I’ll try to make it my best year of my career so far. I’m not really focusing on all that stuff yet.”

Regardless of when he plays his final game for the Giants, Crawford is poised to go down as one of the greatest shortstops in franchise history. He leads all San Francisco-era players with 1,274 games at shortstop, leaving him only 53 shy of surpassing Hall of Famer Travis Jackson’s franchise mark.

Crawford turned 34 last month, but he showed he still has plenty left in the tank after delivering an impressive bounce-back performance in 2020. He hit his way out of a platoon role to start the year and finished the truncated regular season batting .256 with a career-high .792 OPS and eight home runs over 54 games.

“I always prefer to be the everyday guy whether it’s a righty or lefty on the mound because I think consistent playing time will keep your swing more consistent,” Crawford said. “The more consistently I face lefties, the better I’m going to hit off of them. I think my numbers throughout my career have backed that up.”

Crawford has credited hitting coaches Donnie Ecker, Justin Viele and Dustin Lind with helping to revamp his swing ahead of the 2020 season, and he said he plans to continue to incorporate their feedback in the hopes of sustaining the same levels of offensive production he enjoyed last year. The Giants still view him as their everyday shortstop, but Mauricio Dubón could draw some starts there occasionally to help spell Crawford against tough lefties this year.

“Craw had an awesome season last year,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “We're just going to look at the opposing pitcher every night and decide which lineup gives the Giants the best chance to win.”

Dubón attended high school in Sacramento and went to his first Major League Baseball games at Oracle Park, often wearing Crawford’s No. 35 jersey. It’s still a surreal experience for him to regularly take ground balls alongside Crawford, who has served as a key mentor since he came over to the Giants in the Drew Pomeranz trade with the Brewers two years ago.

“It’s crazy having his perspective and being so close to him,” Dubón said. “He’s a Gold Glover, and it’s crazy how he can help. There’s a reason why he is, he puts a lot of work in his craft.”