In honor of National Signing Day, let’s take a look back at the greatest free agent signings in San Francisco Giants history.
To give this list some context, we need to look at the history of free agency. San Francisco Giants greats like Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Mel Ott, Christy Matthewson and others were all technically free agents when they were signed by the Giants. However, there was also no draft yet and players could not leave teams for another unless they were traded or sold. The players had no say in the matter.
Then, in 1969, St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Curt Flood became the first professional athlete to fight for free agency rights. His fight took years and was not supported by all players in the game. It wasn’t until December of 1975 when Free Agency was finally granted to the players.
We will be looking at players signed in free agency by the Giants since 1975. We will eliminate all players that were traded to the Giants and those that were drafted.
To make this list, a player will have needed to sign with the team as an amateur free agent or as a major league free agent. We will not be looking at players who re-signed to stay on the Giants either. This eliminates players like Hunter Pence and Jason Schmidt who were initially traded or Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain who were given extensions.