San Francisco – Brandon Crawford did his normal routine in the ninth when he takes the field. He went out to his spot at shortstop except this time, after he stepped out, he was pulled and replaced by Marco Luciano.
The crowd stood to their feet and gave Crawford a standing ovation. It was an emotional scene as both the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers fans cheered him on as well as both dugouts.
After the game, Crawford, who isn’t usually one for the spotlight, took the microphone and thanked all of the Giants fans for their support of the team this season and of him throughout his career. Signs with his name and number were seen all over Oracle Park throughout the day.
“It’s really overwhelming,” he said after the game. “It’s going to take some time to process.”
Although Crawford has yet to fully decide whether or not to call an end to his career or to play one more year. If this was in fact the last time we see Crawford in a Giants uniform, let alone on a Major League diamond, he will be known as one of the cornerstones of the modern-day Giants franchise era.
Crawford was also responsible for choosing his teammates’ walk-up and entry music on the day which saw a variety of genres played throughout Oracle Park.
Fans came early to see him take his infield drills, with a few more cameras than usual on the field. Crawford signed a few autographs to those hanging out around the third base dugout.
“There was a time where I almost got a little emotional,” Crawford said. “I was just trying to just appreciate it.”
Crawford spent his Major League baseball career with the Giants, making him just the 12th player in the team’s history, both in the New York and San Francisco eras, to spend their entire career with the Giants. Placing him amongst teammates Buster Posey and Matt Cain and amongst some of the Giants greats like Robby Thompson and Mel Ott.
Sunday marked Crawford’s 1,655th career game with the Giants, the seventh most in the franchise’s history and his 1,616th at shortstop. His 1,655th overall game places him fourth in the Giants; San Francisco era, putting him behind Willie McCovey (2,256 games), Willie Mays (2,095 games), and Barry Bonds (1,976 games).
“It was awesome (watching Crawford),” Casey Schmitt said. “Emotional, but yeah, it was awesome to see that. He’s been awesome with me.”
During his tenure in San Francisco, Crawford hit .250 with 146 home runs and 744 RBI. His numbers dipped the last two seasons after his revitalized 2021 campaign where he hit .298 with a career-high 24 home runs and 90 RBI. He is a three-time All-Star, a four-time Gold Glover and won the Silver Slugger award in 2015. He ended the 2023 season hitting a career-worst .197 batting average with seven home runs and 38 RBI in 92 games.
A Bay Area native from Pleasanton, Crawford was a three-sport athlete playing football, basketball and baseball at Foothill High School. At UCLA he led his baseball team to the NCAA Regionals in three consecutive seasons. Then Crawford lived the dream in playing for the team he cheered for as a kid, the Giants.
“I’ve said this a few times, it’s like a dream come true,” said Crawford. “Growing up, coming to games, the dream was to play for the Giants. Thirteen years on the Giants and everything, I’m just definitely grateful for the opportunity.”
Like Crawford, rookie pitcher Kyle Harrison, who started Sunday’s finale, is also another Bay Area local who dreamt of playing for the Giants one day.
“Pitching (Sunday’s game) was awesome,” Harrison said. “Growing up in the Bay Area, ‘B-Craw’ was a name that stuck out and it was a hell of a career he had. Hopefully he sticks around.”
“It’s hard to bet against someone who has overcome bets his whole career,” said San Francisco manager Kai Correa. “I think he might have been done four times now, based on people’s evaluation. So, I wouldn’t want to bet against somebody like that, and when it comes to the veteran players, there’s so many other ways to contribute to a clubhouse – by passing down knowledge, by modeling behaviors and regardless of physical ability, he still has that ability as well, to influence.
“I’m not betting against Brandon Crawford, that’s for sure.”
Photo by Jeff Weisinger