Thank You, Matt Cain
On Wednesday, September 27, 2017, Matt Cain announced that he would make one more start in the Major Leagues, at home versus the Padres on Saturday the 30th. Matt Cain has had a long career with the Giants, during which he threw the only perfect game in franchise history, made three all-star teams, and won three world series rings.
Matt Cain was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the first round of the 2002 MLB Draft. He has spent his whole career in the Giants’ organization and was called up in 2005. Matt Cain won 104 games during his 13 years with the team, and for the first eight years of his career, he was an incredibly effective pitcher. His last five seasons have seen him get injured, lose velocity, and lose command, but regardless of how he performed in his last few years, you cannot forget all he did before and what he did for the team, especially in the biggest games.
On June 13, 2012, Matt Cain took the mound against the Houston Astros, and put on one of the most dominant displays I have seen in my entire life. He threw a perfect game and struck out fourteen Astros. He was absolutely incredible, and I watch the full game at least three times a year, and watch the highlights from the game at least once a week. The game also blessed us with one of the best catches of all time, which was made by Gregor Blanco to save Matt Cain’s perfect game.
Cain was also incredibly dominant in the postseason when he did pitch, and has a lower career postseason ERA than Madison Bumgarner, who is universally recognized as the greatest postseason pitcher of all time. Cain was especially dominant in 2010, when he went through the entire postseason without giving up an earned run. He was the unsung hero of the 2010 postseason and hid in the shadow of Tim Lincecum. In the 2012 postseason, he was pretty good outside of the NLDS. In the NLCS and World Series, Cain pitched 19.1 innings, gave up six earned runs, and had 11 strikeouts.
Matt Cain is responsible for some of the most special things I have seen on a baseball field, and the game will not be the same without him on the field or in the dugout. Matt Cain was the first pitcher I saw who could actually hit, and he had seven career home runs, and that made him all the more impressive to me. Matt Cain was one of three remaining players on the Giants’ roster who was on the team in 2010, 2012, and 2014, along with Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey.
It is sad to think about only getting to see Matt Cain pitch one more time, but what he said today makes sense. He said that he could not envision himself putting on a different team’s uniform, and that playing for one team for his whole career meant a lot to him. I cannot imagine Matt Cain putting on a uniform that did not have “San Francisco” or “Giants” on the front of it, and it would probably break my heart to see him don another team's uniform. I will be forever appreciative for Matt Cain’s time with the Giants, and I will miss seeing him pitch and interact with teammates in the dugout.
Thank you, Matt Cain, for all of the wonderful memories you gave me while pitching for the San Francisco Giants. Thank you for being excellent enough to warrant having a sandwich named after you at Ike’s, it is my favorite sandwich. You were one of my favorite players of all time, and I wish you the best in retirement. I cannot wait to see the number 18 alongside all of the other retired numbers at AT&T park in the near future.