No one has ever started more games at shortstop for the Giants than Brandon Crawford.
In the 139-season history of the team, on either coast, Crawford stands alone at short having passed Travis Jackson, a Hall-of-Famer who joined the New York Giants when he was 18 years old, played for fifteen years in the 1920’s and 30’s, and won four World Series.
Jackson was known as “Stonewall,” because nothing got past him. Crawford, well-known as the team dj, we call “B-Craw” and “DJ B-C-Raw.” Maybe he needs a new nickname for his endurance and steady, consistent brilliance at short.
It isn’t the first time Crawford has made history since his MLB debut in 2011. As per his wiki, he was the sixth player in MLB history to hit a grand slam in his first major-league game, and is also the first shortstop to hit a grand slam in a postseason game. He gave MadBum the lead with that salami, in the opening win of the elimination game on the road, in Pittsburgh! That was the incredible World Series run of ’14, the game when Bumgarner, on the way to the mound in the first, told the staff of relievers standing by the railing of the dugout, “we’re not gonna need you today.” Crawford scored the winning runs.
In 2016, Crawford did something no Giant had ever done, recording seven hits, tying a National League record for hits in a game, in a 14-inning win at Marlins Park. Patrick Pinak for MLB wrote at the time:
“To put the feat in perspective, only five players since 1913 have managed to reach the seven-hit mark. The last to do so was Pittsburgh’s Rennie Stennett in a nine-inning game against the Cubs in 1975.
“Before Crawford and Stennett, the other three players to have at least seven hits since 1913 were Detroit’s Cesar Gutierrez in 1970, Detroit’s Rocky Colavito in 1962 and Cleveland’s Johnny Burnett, who logged nine hits, in 1932. The NL record Crawford tied included Stennett and Baltimore’s Wilbert Robinson, who notched seven hits in 1892.”
Brandon Crawford is a Bay Area product who has loved the Giants since he was a child and has always been familiar with the team’s long history. At the time of the seven-hit accomplishment he said,
“It’s crazy to me. The history of the Giants with all the great players that have come through here you would think that someone would push across seven hits in one day. That’s pretty crazy to be in that small company.”
Now Crawford is in smaller company still. He has played the most games at shortstop for the Giants in franchise history, is the only Giant with a seven-hit game, and has only one less World Series win than the previous longest tenured shortstop, a Hall of Famer.
The night that Crawford passed Travis Jackson, on the road at the new Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, the Rangers arranged in advance to let him run on the field alone, ahead of the other Giants, as the stadium announcer told the Texas crowd of his accomplishment for the team. It was a respectful moment by the Rangers.
Crawford thanked them by putting on a show: he hit two home runs, drove in three and flashed his glove with brilliance before the Rangers fans in a road win for the Giants.
It was a game the Giants won in the 8th and 9th innings. Down 4-2 in the 8th, Mike Tauchman hit his first career grand slam to break the game open and put the Giants on top 6-4. Crawford’s homers were the cream on top.
To their credit, the bullpen held. Garcia and Wisler were shaky, but Alvarez got the win while McGee and Leone pitched hitless, scoreless. Giants 9, Rangers 4
The day game was another experiment as Kapler used Zach Littell as an opener for two innings and then brought in Sam Long for his much anticipated major league debut.
A Sacramento kid, Long had struggled to make it in the majors after being selected by the Rays. He was out of baseball for a full year in 2018 before being picked up by the Chicago White Sox in ’19. He played single-A and was released by the Sox and had just about given up on baseball. Then came the Covid year.
Sammy Long was at home studying to be an EMT, which he assumed would be his job after baseball life, when, in November of 2020, the Giants came a calling. He had an incredible Cactus League, blew through the minors and was elevated to the big league mound for the first time at Arlington on Tuesday.
The second or perhaps third time (if you count the Kazmir start in Logan Webb’s place a few weeks ago) that Kapler has used the opener, resulted in a loss, but it wasn’t the fault of the starting pitching.
Littell went the first and second scoreless and handed the ball over. Sam Long’s debut was exciting. He threw seven Ks and allowed one hit and no runs over three and half innings. Jason Vosler and Chadwick Tromp hit back-to-back solo homers and Long left the game with the lead, though Dominic Leone came in and allowed one of his runners to cross, so Long officially has an ERA.
The Rangers, resisting the season series sweep at home, fought the game to extras against Tyler Rogers in the bottom of the 9th. The teams each scored in the 10th to keep it level. Jake McGee couldn’t keep them from crossing the plate and the Giants lost in extras on the road, again exposing the ‘pen as a weakness. Littell’s two opening innings, Long’s three and a half and two in midrelief by Conor Menez were bright spots. Menez allowed only one hit and struck out three in two innings of relief. Giants 3, Rangers 4 (11 innings)
On to the Nationals, game one was rained out, it’ll be played today: DeSclafani vs Max Scherzer.
Let’s Go Giants!
Win the road series in DC!