On a night when he hit two home runs, Brandon Crawford did not need the third-base coach’s direction a whole lot.
His wise words, though, kicked in afterward.
Among Crawford’s many feats, and there are many — those World Series rings, three Gold Gloves and one gold medal from the World Baseball Classic, a Silver Slugger, too — being the all-time leading Giants shortstop in games played is “one of the cooler accomplishments of my career,” Crawford acknowledged.
It started with Crawford alone on the field and ended with his surrounded off of it, Ron Wotus doing the toasting. Crawford had about as eventful a game as possible on his 1,326th as Giants shortstop, passing Hall of Famer Travis Jackson on the list in a 9-4, comeback win over the Rangers at Globe Life Park on Tuesday.
When he took the field for the first time in the first inning, he stood alone — literally. The other Giants did not follow him out, and both dugouts and an impressive amount of fans began clapping as the Texas PA announcer saluted Crawford.
“It was kind of like in ‘Talladega Nights’ — like, I don’t know what to do with my hands,” Crawford said with a smile. “But also very special, actually got a surprising amount of cheers.”
The Rangers fans who paid tribute may have regretted it. Crawford blasted one home run in the sixth, then a three-run slug in the ninth, which turned a close game in which the Giants had just crept ahead into a going-away victory. They were his 13th and 14th home runs of the season in 52 games; he knocked 11 in 147 games in 2019. At 34 and after an awful lot of work put into his swing, he is better than he ever has been before.
Crawford hits another one. He is nuclear right now 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/hsehqpMiCh
— KNBR (@KNBR) June 9, 2021
Which suggests, in the last year of his contract, that he might have a whole lot more than 1,326 games at short with the Giants before he’s done. Maybe Wotus will see them all.
The third-base coach and infield coach has always been there, the longest-tenured coach in franchise history, and he had some words for the longest-tenured shortstop in franchise history.
“Wo, spoke, appropriately, and shared that what Craw accomplished here is as impressive as anything else he’s done in his career, and in large part because it’s very difficult to keep your job at the major league level, let alone play as many games as he has in a San Francisco Giants uniform at that position,” Gabe Kapler said over Zoom after Mike Tauchman’s eighth-inning grand slam put the Giants ahead to stay.
“I really appreciated everything he said,” Crawford said. “Coming from him … Wo’s been with me my whole career and been my infield coach for most of my career. It was really special — just kind of completed the whole night.”
The kid from Foothill High School, who always wanted to be the San Francisco Giants shortstop, has been the Giants shortstop longer than anyone in history.
“Growing up a Giants fan and seeing so many great shortstops come through the organization and then to be able to pass a Hall of Famer — it’s just a very cool accomplishment,” Crawford said. “Something you never really think about throughout your career.”
Alex Dickerson left the game early with back tightness. Kapler downplayed it and referenced the swarm of injuries around the team. Any sniff of potential pain, and he wanted to remove Dickerson.
“I don’t know that he needed to come out of the game. I don’t know that it was a necessity,” Kapler said.
The Giants said righty Zack Littell will start Wednesday. Sammy Long, who is expected to be activated, should be available out of relief and is built up to throw about 60 pitches.