Giants honor Vogelsong in pregame ceremony

World Series hero retired as a member of the club

September 11th, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO -- A moment says was six years in the making took center stage Sunday. Dressed in his No. 32 home jersey, Vogelsong took the mound, tipped his hat to the crowd and fired three warmup pitches with his son, Ryder, by his side to officially retire as a Giant.

Manager Bruce Bochy emerged from the San Francisco dugout to take the ball from Vogelsong. The cheers of "Vogey" only intensified as Vogelsong shook hands with starter Chris Stratton and again waved to the crowd.

The moment became feasible during a conversation with Giants general manager Bobby Evans in July.

"He was floored that I even said it," Vogelsong said. "He just said to me, 'I'm not going to be able to keep this a secret. They're going to want to do something for you.' … I just knew that I wanted to end my career as a Giant."

The right-hander, who pitched seven of his 12 Major League seasons for the Giants, said he never planned to face a batter. "I haven't touched a baseball -- other than playing catch with Ryder -- since I left [the Minnesota Twins'] Spring Training."

But the 40-year-old wanted to find a way to return to AT&T Park. He had a spot in the Giants' clubhouse Sunday. His wife, Nicole, was also on hand to greet Bochy and other key characters on the team.

"It's uplifting to have him around," right fielder said. "It brings back a lot of good memories and feelings. He was so impactful."

Vogelsong's perseverance, on display for plenty of postseason starts, earned him respect from the Giants' fanbase. He made his Major League debut in 2000 with the Giants after the organization drafted him in 1998.

An All-Star in 2011, Vogelsong revitalized his pitching career with the Giants. He also delivered on the biggest stage, recording a 1.09 ERA in four starts during the 2012 postseason.

"He kept pursing his dream to become a Major League pitcher," Bochy said. "He never stopped working at it. … He played a huge, critical role in our success. Not just during the season -- but during the postseason. Every game he was in, we found a way to win."

Because of Vogelsong's nontraditional path to the Majors, many believe he would be a good fit to one day coach the next generation of Giants. It's a prospect he's considered as well.

He will spend five days starting next Saturday at the Giants' instructional league as a way to get his foot in the door. He's not yet ready to commit to a long-term position, though.

"I would love to," he said of coaching. "I just know that I'm not ready for a full-time coaching job yet. At some point, I would love to be in the organization again on a full-time basis. I just need some time to be a dad first."

Worth noting

• Catcher was out of the lineup Sunday after taking a foul tip off his left big toe. Bochy expects him back Tuesday.

• Left-handed reliever Will Smith threw before the game for the first time since undergoing a Tommy John surgery in March.