It didn’t take long for former San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Matt Cain to be inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame once his playing career was done.
Cain’s last pitch for the San Francisco Giants came on October 1, 2017, the final day of the regular season and less than a year later, he is forever enshrined in the BASHOF halls at the SAP Center in San Jose.
At the time, I wrote what Matt Cain meant to the fans, teammates and the Bay Area. It was clear yesterday that the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame agreed with the people I interviewed.
The ceremony was last night, and saw other Bay Area legends like the Golden State Warriors Tim Hardaway and Santa Clara University and local legend Brandie Chastain.
Chastain made national and even international news as word got out that the plaque that was made for her looked nothing like her.
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Cain, on the other hand, was the chiseled right hander who outlasted them all. For 12 seasons, he amassed more service time than any other pitcher in Giants history, since their move to San Francisco in 1958.
From his perfect game, to his perfect ERA in the 2010 post-season, to his series clinching wins in each round of 2012, Cain’s best moments were the team’s best moments.
For seven seasons, he was on a Hall of Fame pace and was set to become the most accomplished pitcher in Giants history.
Then, in 2013, Cain finally had his pitching elbow looked at. For nearly a decade, he had pitched with an elbow that wasn’t 100% and it was finally impacting his pitching.
Cain continued to try to go out every fifth day and pitch the way he was used to pitching. He never quite returned to the form that Giants fans had become accustomed to from their horse.
It was fitting that he would pitch five scoreless innings in his final start only to see the Giants lose in the late innings.
One of the most infamous things about Cain throughout the years was his ability to keep bad Giants teams in the game only to see a worse bullpen give up the lead. It became referred to as getting #Cained. Ultimately, this is what endeared Cain to so many over the years, because he never complained and continued to take the ball every fifth day to give the Giants a chance to win.
When the Giants started winning in 2010 and 2012, Cain was at the center of the turnaround. He had his best year in 2012, starting the All-Star game, going 16-5 with a 2.79 ERA and a 1.040 WHIP.
It says a great deal about how he is viewed in the Bay Area that they immediately voted him into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. Giants fans feel the same way about one of the greatest pitchers to ever put on the black and orange in San Francisco.