COMMENTARY | In the history of the San Francisco Giants, who is the franchise's biggest goat? I don't mean the "Greatest Of All-Time" definition of goat, either; rather, which Giant is still scorned by the fans for what they did or didn't do on the field?
Honestly, there isn't one person who stands out in the Giants' history as being an all-time goat. There are, however, a few Giants whose names come to mind when thinking about the biggest disappointments the team has endured over the years. With that in mind, here's a look at some of the more notorious "goats" that have worn a Giants uniform:
Felix Rodriguez: Game 6 of the 2002 World Series is still the stuff of nightmares for Giants fans. Eight outs away from their first World Series title in San Francisco, the Giants had a 5-0 lead in the seventh inning when the Angels put two men on base. Felix Rodriguez entered the game, promptly gave up a homer to Scott Spiezio, and the Giants went on to lose the game and the series. Rodriguez had a nice career with the Giants, but most fans remember him pumping fastball after fastball to Spiezio who kept fouling them off until Rodriguez finally made a mistake.
Dusty Baker: Before Rodriguez entered the game, Baker removed Russ Ortiz and handed him the game ball as he walked to the dugout. It's unknown just how much that gesture may have fired up the Angels, but it definitely left an impression on scores of Giants fans who still blame Baker for the team's collapse in '02. His decision to start Livan Hernandez over Kirk Rueter in game 7 of that series is another one that stirs debate amongst the fan base, and there were other questionable calls (not pinch hitting for Mark Gardner in game 4 of the '00 NLDS comes to mind) over the course of his Giants career. Giants fans are usually divided when it comes to Baker's legacy with the team, but there are enough of them out there that consider him a goat to land him on this list.
Salomon Torres: Poor Salomon Torres. He was a rookie in '93, tasked with starting the last game of the season in Dodger Stadium to keep the Giants' playoff hopes alive. He actually didn't do too badly, either: though only lasting 3.1 innings, he gave up 3 runs and kept the Giants within striking distance. The Giants would go on to lose the game 12-1, ending their season despite winning 103 games, and many Giants fans still point to Torres' performance in that game as the reason for missing the postseason. He's an undeserving goat, but a goat nonetheless.
Candy Maldonado: In game 6 of the 1987 NLCS, the Giants took a 3-2 series lead back to St. Louis. In the second inning, Tony Peña hit a routine fly to right field that Maldonado lost in the lights. The ball fell in for a triple, Peña eventually scored on a sacrifice fly, and the Giants would lose the game 1-0. The Cardinals went on to win the series, and Maldonado's blunder remains one of the most infamous plays in Giants' history.
Fred Merkle: There aren't a lot of people left who were alive when it happened, but Merkle committed one of the biggest mistakes in baseball history when he (supposedly) didn't touch second base at the end of a game, costing the New York Giants a win and eventually the pennant. Unfortunately for Merkle, nothing else he did in his career would ever top what would come to be known as Merkle's Boner.
Dave Tobener is a San Francisco Bay Area-based writer who's covered the Giants for the better part of a decade. His work has appeared on numerous sports websites, including Yahoo! Sports' Big League Stew. You can follow him on Twitter @gggiants.
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