Matt Cain has pitched his final game for the San Francisco Giants. Since his rookie year in 2005 as a 20 year old, Cain has been a part of the rotation, the organization and the city of San Francisco itself.
The Giants, knowing Cain is in the final year of his contract, made sure Cain pitched one more home game in front of his fans at AT&T Park.
On Wednesday, Cain announced his retirement. His future now has more questions than answers about what’s next. His imprint on the organization and the fanbase, however, is unquestioned.
I’ve spent the last week speaking with fans, players, and members of the organization. I wanted to know how Cain will be remembered. The responses were as consistent as Cain was.
Some of the fans I interviewed have followed Giants baseball since their New York days, while others are new to the sport and yet Cain resinated with everyone.
Tim Lincecum was the rock star and Madison Bumgarner is Paul Bunyan. It’s so easy to be caught up in the mythical qualities of “The Freak” and “MadBum.” Cain wasn’t any of that. He wasn’t flashy. He didn’t have long hair, or a beard and in fact when Brian Wilson was famously growing his beard, the clean cut Cain was just doing his job.
Many fans in recent years will point to his struggles after the 2012 season from an elbow injury that he pitched with for a decade and finally caught up with him. However, if you look at the previous seven seasons, Cain was on a Hall of Fame track.
Now after 13 seasons, here are the thoughts from so many that watched his career up close.