SF Giants History

What Matt Cain Has Meant to the San Francisco Giants

By Michael Saltzman
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 13: Matt Cain /
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PHOENIX, AZ – JULY 11: National League All-Star Matt Cain
PHOENIX, AZ – JULY 11: National League All-Star Matt Cain /

What is Matt Cain’s Legacy?

Fracchia: I, in a sense, view Matt Cain in a similar way as I view Willie McCovey. McCovey was a bridge player bridging the gap from the 1960’s to the 1978 Giants, which I saw and loved. Cain was a bridge player from the Bonds era to the World Championship era. These are the players that bridge the gap of fans from one generation to the next, and they play without fanfare and without drama, and they are needed and loved. I look forward to the day when Matt Cain get his plaque on the Wall of Fame. It is well-deserved, as it is for the other players up there, as well.

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As for me, I view Matt Cain as the ultimate example of a pitcher. He didn’t have anything but a fastball and a curveball in 2005 and he made it work. On days when he couldn’t locate his fastball, he battled anyway. When he would give up a lead off double and that runner would advance to third on a ground ball, Cain would stand the runner by inducing a lazy pop fly and striking out the cleanup hitter on a fastball with a little more life on it than previous pitches that inning. He’d give up a solo home run and a double, and then walk the next batter because the umpire squeezed him on a 2-2 pitch, and he’d brush it off, get the ground ball he needed and minimize the damage.

Cain worked with what he had. He never complained. When the Giants offense couldn’t score any runs, he talked about what he could do to pitch better. When the Giants could score runs for him, like in 2012, he was the best pitcher in the game.

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Others had more strikeouts. Others had more miles per hour on their fastball. Others had more late movement on their pitches. Others received more acclaim and other pitchers of his era will be considered better. But no pitcher got more out of what he had than Matt Cain.