SAN FRANCISCO -- For most of their history, the Giants have set the bar high when it comes to retiring numbers. That honor has long been reserved for Hall of Famers, though the Giants have made two exceptions in recent years.
Twelve others have had their jerseys retired by the Giants. Who will become the 15th member of this exclusive club? Let’s take a look at some of the most compelling candidates:
Bruce Bochy, No. 15
The Giants’ decision to retire Bonds and Clark’s numbers could open the door for several other players who won’t be in the Hall of Fame, but the club shouldn’t have to make an exception for Bochy, who appears bound for Cooperstown after guiding San Francisco to three World Series titles over his 13-year tenure as San Francisco’s manager.
Bochy, who stepped down at the end of last season, posted a 2,003-2,029 record over his 25-year managerial career, including a 1,052-1,054 mark with the Giants, who hired him away from the Padres ahead of the 2007 season. Bochy is one of 11 managers to record 2,000 wins and one of 10 to win three or more championships; the others are enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
Bochy hasn’t ruled out a return to the dugout, but if he truly is retired from managing, he will be eligible to appear on the Today’s Game Committee ballot in December 2021, setting him up for possible induction in the summer of 2022. A number retirement ceremony at Oracle Park shouldn’t be too far behind.
Tim Lincecum, No. 55
In September, Tim Lincecum made his first public appearance at Oracle Park since 2015 to attend Bochy’s farewell ceremony. Lincecum received the loudest ovation from fans, a sign of his enduring popularity in San Francisco. “The Freak” became a cult figure over his nine seasons with the Giants, winning back-to-back National League Cy Young Awards from 2008-09 and leading the NL in strikeouts for three consecutive years, ’08-10. He was a member of the club’s championship teams in ’10, ’12 and ’14, earned four All-Star selections and tossed two no-hitters with the Giants. Lincecum produced some of the most dominant pitching seasons in franchise history at his peak, a feat that should make him a strong candidate to have his number retired.
Matt Cain, No. 18
Matt Cain spent his entire 13-year career with the Giants, going 104-118 with a 3.68 ERA, though he endured so many hard-luck losses that he inspired the term “Cained,” which is used to describe an instance in which a pitcher throws well, only to have his work spoiled by his teammates. Cain’s record matters less than his three All-Star selections, his 2.10 ERA in eight postseason starts and his 2012 perfect game against the Astros.
Madison Bumgarner, No. 40
Madison Bumgarner established himself as one of the greatest postseason pitchers in baseball history during the Giants’ three World Series championship runs. He carried the club over the finish line in 2014, when he logged a 0.43 ERA over 21 innings against the Royals and converted a five-inning save in Game 7 to close out the club’s third title in five years.
Bumgarner spent the first 11 years of his career with the Giants, going 119-92 with a 3.13 ERA while earning four All-Star nods and two NL Silver Slugger Awards. He signed a five-year, $85 million contract with the D-backs in December, so it likely will be a while before the Giants begin to seriously consider retiring his number.
Buster Posey, No. 28
The arrival of catcher Buster Posey coincided with the beginning of the championship era for the Giants, underscoring the value of the clubhouse leadership he displayed even as a 23-year-old rookie in 2010. He quickly emerged as a franchise cornerstone for the club, winning the 2010 NL Rookie of the Year Award and the 2012 NL MVP Award. His credentials also include six All-Star selections, four NL Silver Slugger Awards, an NL Gold Glove Award and the 2012 NL batting title.
Posey’s 961 starts behind the plate are the most in Giants history, and he ranks in the top 10 in several offensive categories in the San Francisco era, including batting average (.302), games played (1,258), hits (1,380), doubles (270) and RBIs (673).
Posey is signed through 2021, and retirement doesn’t seem imminent for the 33-year-old.