2014 SF Giants World Series champion throws out 1st pitch for team's Double-A affiliate

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Former SF Giants infielder and 2014 World Series champion Joe Panik continues to have a presence with the organization. On Opening Night for the Richmond Flying Squirrels, Panik was tabbed to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

2014 SF Giants World Series champion throws out 1st pitch for team's Double-A affiliate

Given the Giants' offensive struggles to start the year, I think the first question fans might have is whether Panik can help the club today. However, he retired after the 2021 season but did not stray too far from baseball.

Before the start of the 2023 season, the Giants announced that they had brought back the fan favorite as a special advisor to player development. He spent some time working out with the San Jose Giants last season.

Being in Richmond is a return to familiar territory for Panik. After being selected in the first round of the 2011 draft out of St. John's University, the second baseman spent his 2013 season with the Flying Squirrels.

It was not that long ago, but it was a little more common back then for a player to spend a year at each level. Now, front offices are much more aggressive with promotions. During his time with Richmond, Panik posted a .680 OPS with four home runs in 599 plate appearances.

Of course, he would become a key cog in the Giants' 2014 World Series run only a year later. As a rookie in 2014, he slashed .305/.343/.368 (105 OPS+) with one home run, 18 RBI, and 31 runs in 287 plate appearances down the stretch.

The biggest play of Panik's career came in that same season. In Game 7 of the 2014 World Series, he snagged a ground ball off the bat of Eric Hosmer to turn a clutch double play with Brandon Crawford. The play can be viewed here.

The lefty bat was a staple in the Giants lineup until his tenure came to an end midway through the 2019 season. He appeared with the New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays, and Miami Marlins before hanging up his cleats for good. That said, the Giants believe that he still has a lot to offer the game and he continues be a presence around the minor league circuit.