Barry Bonds, baseball’s all-time home run leader whose impact upon the Giants transcended statistics, will be honored with a spot on the club’s Wall of Fame on July 8.
Bonds, who had 762 home runs when his career ended following the 2007 season, will become the 49th player to be immortalized with a plaque on AT&T Park’s brick King Street wall. Those who receive this distinction must have performed for the San Francisco Giants for at least nine seasons, or for five years with at least one All-Star selection.
Bonds, 52, rejoined the organization in March when he was named special advisor to club president and chief executive officer Larry Baer. Possibly the most productive player obtained through free agency in professional sports history, Bonds signed with the Giants in the 1992-93 offseason and spent his final 15 seasons with them after beginning his Major League career with Pittsburgh.
Acquiring Bonds, which occurred after a group led by Peter Magowan purchased the franchise and prevented it from moving to Tampa-St. Petersburg, demonstrated that the new ownership was serious about upgrading the organization.
The combination of the energy sustained by the new ownership and Bonds’ Most Valuable Player-level skills “really did revitalize interest in baseball,” Magowan said.
“I was just glad it was over,” Posey said. “It gets to the point when you’re playing this many extra innings that your body hurts. There’s no way around it. It just hurts. We had some good swings and balls were hit to the wall. Fortunately I got one there that I could handle.”
Posey had singled and struck out in six at-bats before hitting his sixth home run of the season and second in three days. He turned his head toward the Cincinnati dugout briefly as he flipped his bat even before the ball cleared the fence and was greeted at home plate by a mob of his teammates.
The game-winning blast also carried a little historical significance with it.
It also marked the latest that the Giants have won on a walk-off home run in their San Francisco era. Willie Mays had the previous latest homer with his 16th-inning blast July 2, 1963, that lifted the Giants past the Milwaukee Braves.
Posey’s fourth career walk-off hit was also his first game-ending home run since Aug. 27, 2014, when he homered to beat Colorado but it was only his second in extra innings. The other came last season against San Diego in the 10th inning on July 16.
“I think Buster had enough,” San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. “That was huge for us — a much-needed win. If we had lost this one, who knows how that’s going to affect us because of all of our struggles. This was a huge win.”
The ceremony took place Thursday around 11:30 a.m. at San Francisco’s City Hall with about 10 close family members in attendance. A lunch followed at one of the couple’s favorite restaurants, Slanted Door in the city’s Ferry Building, a perfect fit for the couple who credits San Francisco as being a particularly special place for them.
“We knew we wanted to get married there [in San Francisco] and waiting another seven months for the ceremony just wasn’t as important as getting married,” Gearrin said. “It ended up being perfect for us.”
After taking their dog, Izzy, for a quick walk in the nearest park, which just happens to be the outfield of AT&T Park, a rush to join the team in St. Louis followed. Their efforts were stalled by a flight delay that didn’t land the couple at their destination until 4 a.m. Friday morning, only hours before Gearrin was due at Busch Stadium.
Dates during Spring Training were first considered for the wedding, as the couple hoped to have the ceremony as soon as possible, but things couldn’t come together. Even now that the nuptials have finally taken place, the celebrations will continue throughout the year, including a honeymoon and a larger party once the season ends. Plans are also in place for getting together with family in both Atlanta and Colorado as the Giants travel later this year.
For now, the happy couple and Izzy will hope to continue celebrations with each other and a few more “W’s” on the field.
“We had kind of known for a long time that we had found our person and we wanted to be married. I just can’t imagine not being with her and I think she would say the same thing,” Gearrin said. “Getting to travel together, be together during the season, this is a really exciting time for us.”