San Francisco Giants: Remembering Tim Lincecum’s time in the Bay Area

San Francisco Giants (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
San Francisco Giants (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

Baseball is bound to happen this year as the San Francisco Giants plan to honor the 2010 World Series team with a former starting pitcher who became an instant fan-favorite in Tim Lincecum.

For the San Francisco Giants and the rest of MLB, baseball is on hold with the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the United States and the rest of the world.

Festivities on Opening Day usually mark the first game of a grueling 162-game slate with the Giants beginning the season on the road against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The rivalry is on hold at the moment and will hopefully resume.

Amongst the numerous events planned at Oracle Park during the campaign, a 10-year reunion will occur on August 16th for the 2010 Giants’ team that brought the first championship to San Francisco.

A group of misfits that battled daily to win the NL West in the final regular-season game and march all the way to win the World Series.

Eight years, Giants’ fans had to wait to see a parade in the city after a bitter end in 2002. In all the years that Barry Bonds wore a Giants uniform, no team could deliver in the postseason. After Bonds’ departure, a rebuild took place, producing lean years for a club not appearing to be contenders.

But in those rebuilding years, a transition took place under Bruce Bochy knowing Bonds would no longer be in the picture. In the three championships produced by the Giants, pitching and timely hitting became the forefront of a winning formula.

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The Giants did not need star power or a big name just to sell tickets — players from withing the farm system rose to fame and did not carry egos.

The 2010 San Francisco Giants featured many likable players. Buster Posey became the mainstay in the squat featuring a young rotation with plenty of potentials, excluding Barry Zito, who was hit or miss in his starts but redeemed himself in 2012.

Perhaps the biggest cheer will come for Tim Lincecum, a player with a big heart who gave his all on the bump.

His positive attitude, quirkiness, fun-loving interactions with teammates, fans, and media made him a down to earth player who gave honest assessments of himself through positive and adverse times.

Lincecum made his debut for the Giants in 2007 against the Philadelphia Phillies at home. A baby face with short hair and only 23-years-old, his unorthodox pitching mechanics became widely noticeable. Despite only lasting about four innings, giving up five runs on five hits, his five strikeouts showed his capabilities.

Initially drafted in 2003 and 2005 by the Chicago Cubs (48th round) and Cleveland Indians (42nd), respectively, Lincecum opted to play baseball at the University of Washington. The Giants took Lincecum 10thoverall in the 2006 MLB Draft.

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As a pitcher, Lincecum did not fit the mold of a starting pitcher given his size and different style of delivering off the mound.

The ceiling for him was not high in the longevity of pitching in the big leagues. For the Giants, the production from Lincecum gave the franchise and fans something special.

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Known as “The Freak” Lincecum gave the fans excitement in the 2008 and 2009 seasons, becoming a force in the starting rotation.

Despite the team not playing well, Lincecum delivered back-to-back Cy Young awards as the top pitcher in the National League. With his hair flowing smoothly after each pitch, unless on an opposing team, not liking “Big Time Timmy Jim” was hard.

Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner played pivotal roles during the 2010 postseason run, but Lincecum’s performances cranked up to a different level.

His debut saw him go the distance in a complete game 14-strikeout outing, a tone he did not relinquish. In the World Series, he started the first game and would pitch the decisive Game 5 victory over the Texas Rangers.

In a penultimate season, the wear and tear ultimately became an undoing for Lincecum in the years following. A 10-15 record during the 2012 year saw Lincecum lose his spot in the rotation and come in as a reliever from the bullpen.

Despite the struggles, Bochy did not turn away from the Cy Young winner, hoping his confidence would return in the postseason.

Lincecum returned to form in the 2012 postseason, pitching out of the bullpen, frustrating hitters from the filth he was serving. In the two games he appeared in the 2012 World Series against Detroit, he composed a zero ERA in over four innings with eight strikeouts.

A competitor from the beginning, Lincecum kept going despite solid or rough outings throughout his career with the Giants.

In the seasons after 2012, Lincecum just seemed to no longer have that edge which made him dominant. To do so on a consistent basis troubled Lincecum with his pitching out of sync.

Despite the struggles, Lincecum turned in two impressive gems in 2013 and 2014 with two no-hitters, both against the San Diego Padres.

His first one in San Diego sticks out in how Lincecum threw over 100 pitches and did not want to leave the game, even if he gave up a hit. A diving grab from Hunter Pence in right field helped preserve the no-hitter.

From both no-hitters, the desire and competitiveness of Lincecum of not giving up, no matter the moment, won the hearts of many Giants fans and for loving the game of baseball.

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Three championships and four All-Star appearances, Lincecum played with heart for San Francisco each time he got the call.

He will forever be a Giant and perhaps even a future Hall of Famer.