On September 30, Matt Cain threw five shutout innings against the San Diego Padres to cap off a 13-year Giants’ career that included three World Series titles and the only perfect game in franchise history.
The photo gallery and podcast you’ll find in this post are KNBR’s all-access look at Matt Cain’s final week with the San Francisco Giants. Cain announced his retirement on Wednesday, September 27 in Arizona, and was honored in a ceremony after the Giants’ 5-4 victory on Sunday, October 1, the last day of Cain’s career.
Matt Cain: “I just wanted to let you guys know that I think that Saturday and this weekend will be my last time putting on a Major League and a Giants’ uniform and I can’t see myself going anywhere else to be able to play with another team. This organization has meant so much to me, it’s meant so much to my family and it’s something that’s dear to my heart. I’m just grateful that it’s been a part of my life and I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve enjoyed it so much.”
Bruce Bochy: “He’s just a complete Giant. The way he carries himself and what he did on the field, the way he played, the brand of ball that he played. How he competed out there. That was something that influenced his decision. He didn’t want to put on another uniform and that says a lot about Matt and his love for the Giants, being a Giant and just for the black and orange.”
Dave Righetti: “This is a big deal for Giant fans and anybody that grew up a Giant fan. To have a guy start and end his career here and the length of it, and the innings, the 2,000-plus innings, the 300-plus starts, so I’m with you in terms of, I know I’m going to see him again so it’s not like you’re missing a friend. I wish I could put it into words, but when a player is no longer playing, and he wears the uniform, it’s not the same as when he’s playing. Whether you’re a coach, and a guy can back up whatever he’s earned all these years and go out there and contribute and play, that’s what generates the emotion for other players and the respect and all of those things that come with it. The cool thing, and he hasn’t felt it yet, the day after he pitches and he retires, he gets to be young again. He missed out on a lot of his youth”.
Buster Posey: “I think just, he had such a stoic presence from the time that I’ve played with him. From Spring Training in 2009 to as you mentioned, 10 and 12. If he was ever nervous, you couldn’t tell. He took the mound with the same intensity and focus no matter if it was a start at the beginning of May or that Game 4 start in Detroit. I think that gave a lot of guys, not only on the staff, a sense of comfort and confidence but it also transcended to the rest of the guys on the team as well and we were able to draw some strength from that.”
Madison Bumgarner: “It says a lot. That always says a lot about a guy and his character. His leadership skills. I don’t, I wish I could elaborate more. There’s so much, especially for me, I’ve got so many different thoughts and memories in my head that it’s hard to give you one or two that take precedent to everything. There’s just been a lot of special times between us.”
Cain: “The greatest moments? It’s hard to really sum it all up. Honestly, it’s seeing the growth of an organization go through when I first came into the organization, even when I first signed, I saw an organization that was in the postseason, I saw what it looked like, I started to learn more about the organization and you know, kind of coming through the organization, it was changing, it was turning over. To be able to go through all of that entire process with an organization is special. To be able to be a part of a group that has had some really rough seasons and to be able to say that we had some amazing seasons and we won it all. Those are all special. I think being able to put all of those together is something that is very meaningful and not very many people get to see the bottom of the barrel and the top of the barrel and that’s really special to me.”
Bochy: “They’re all impressive. The job that he did, even the last game in Detroit, but I think the most impressive really is the 2010 year, he didn’t give up an earned run. He gave up one unearned run. The job that he did in our first title run, championship run, he was one of the guys that led us to that. Just played a huge part in developing the confidence in this club that we could do this and also that we could do it again.”
Hunter Pence: “Everything about this day was extremely emotional. Even last night, I could feel the energy. I woke up in bliss just knowing that he was starting. It filled all of us up with some amazing emotions and we just love him so much. This was a very special day.”
Bochy: “He means a lot to everybody in this clubhouse and he’s so well-respected and thought of and of course, for me, I can’t thank him enough for all he’s done on the field and in the clubhouse. You know, he’s just been great this year. He’s been moved around, pitched out of the pen and he’s never come in this office and complained one time. He wanted to do what was best for the club and it’s something I’ll never forget. Of course, his great pitching and what he did to help us win some championships.”
Righetti: “I guess you cherish it. We respect it. You don’t expect it. But you definitely respect it. In our division now, you see (Darren) Balsley, you see (Rick) Honeycutt, I think you’re seeing more of this. (Clayton) Kershaw is going to turn around and you know, you’ll have a nice conversation with Honeycutt one day, that’s going to be a hell of a deal. So you just appreciate it. Our game is very volatile. It can be. But I guess that part of it is very precious and so when it does happen, because you never want to coach a guy you’re not sure if you’re going to be coaching him again. What I mean by that, and a player has got to feel the same way. Is this guy going to be here next year? Why am I got to? So I think it helps to have some stability, doesn’t it? You know, god bless him. It’s been tremendous and I’m sure I’ll be able to come up with better words some day. It’ll be emotional, no question about it. You can’t get away from that.”
Posey: “I think that’s why he was play for as long as he has, pitch for as many seasons as he has just because of the consistency. He wasn’t going to deviate from what he knew had given him success in the past and Cainer was, as you guys know who’ve been around him a lot, sometimes on the surface it looks like he might not have the fire and intensity that some other guys may have but I promise you and again, you guys know that have been around him, he had the same if not more than most people.”
Cain: “I do feel that maybe if we hadn’t done some things as a team that it could be harder, but I think we’ve been through the full gamut of everything and I think that’s something that is satisfying. I know that I’m able to hang my hat at the end of the day and say that I put everything I could into this and that I’ve experienced it all and enjoyed every bit of it.”
Cain: “I feel like that’s what makes this a little bit easier for me. To know that I started out in 2002 putting a Giants’ uniform on and getting picked up by the Giants and knowing that that’s the exact same way that I’m going out, it’s with a Giants’ uniform on. I’ve been able to be lucky enough to be in the same organization and it means so much to me and I can’t picture myself putting a different uniform on.”
All photos courtesy of Chris Mezzavilla/KNBR