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The San Francisco Giants broke from tradition Tuesday and announced their plans to retire No. 25 in honor of Barry Bonds. It’ll happen Aug. 11 at AT&T Park when the Giants host Bonds’ previous team, the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Your reaction to that, understandably, might be: “The Giants haven’t retired Barry Bonds’ number yet?!?”
They haven’t, and like everything with Bonds’ legacy, it’s a subject that’s tough to reconcile. The Giants have only retired 11 numbers in their history in San Francisco and New York and all of them have been Hall of Famers. With Bonds, the Hall of Fame is an even dicier subject than a number retirement — he still wasn’t any closer to induction in last month’s vote and that doesn’t appear to be on the horizon soon.
So the Giants said tradition be damned and made the call to honor Bonds, Cooperstown plaque or not. In their announcement, Giants president/CEO Larry Baer said:
“No other Giants player has worn number 25 since Barry’s final season. It’s time to officially retire his number in honor of his remarkable 22-year career as one of the greatest players of all time and for his countless achievements and contributions as a Giant. Barry grew up with the Giants and followed in the footsteps of his Godfather Willie Mays and another Giant legend who also wore number 25 — his late father, Bobby. By officially retiring number 25, we will not only pay tribute to Barry as the greatest player of his generation, but also honor the legacy of two of the greatest players to ever wear a Giants uniform.”
Bonds said in a statement:
“I’m both honored and humbled that the Giants are going to retire my number this season. As I’ve always said, the Giants and Giants fans, are a part of my family. Growing up, Candlestick Park was my home away from home, and it is where my dad and godfather Willie played. For me to have played on the same field as them, wear the same uniform and now have my number retired, joining Willie and the other Giants legends is extremely special. Number 25 has meant a lot to me throughout my career and it is even more special that I got to share that with my dad.”
Bonds will join his aforementioned godfather, Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal, Willie McCovey, Gaylord Perry, Bill Terry, Mell Ott, Carl Hubbell, Monte Irvin, Christy Mathewson and John McGraw as Giants to have their numbers retired.
The last couple years have been leading to this. Bonds rejoined the Giants last year after a season as the Marlins hitting coach. He took a special advisor job in the Giants front office and then the Giants decided to give him a spot on their Wall of Fame at AT&T Park.
Now, even though baseball’s ultimate honor still eludes him, Bonds is getting the Giants’ top honor.
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