Ryan Vogelsong was a great Giant

Posted on December 22, 2015

Ryan Vogelsong of the San Francisco Giants tips his cap to the fans during the game between the Colorado Rockies and the San Francisco Giants on Sunday, May 8, 2011 at AT&T Park in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

 

38-year-old pitcher Ryan Vogelsong signed a free agent contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates last week, ending his career with the San Francisco Giants. The right-handed hurler first came up with the Giants in 2000 before being traded to the same Pirates ball club (along with Armando Rios) in a big 2001 deal that sent Bucs ace Jason Schmidt to San Francisco. After that Vogelsong battled injuries and fought his way back to San Francisco in 2011 after stints with the Pirates, Phillies, and Angels organizations. He even pitched in Japan for the Hanshin Tigers and Orix Buffaloes. The Giants had won the World Series in 2010 when Vogelsong signed a two-year free agent contract on January 11, 2011. He wanted to come back home and win a championship. Little did he know that he would be a major part of TWO World Series championships (2012 and 2014) over his next four years in San Francisco.

Vogelsong got off to a terrific start in 2011 making the National League all-star team and compiling a 13-7 record with a 2.71 ERA. The team didn’t make the playoffs but Vogelsong quickly became a fan-favorite at AT&T Park for his gritty determination and tenacity on the mound. His winning ways continued over to the 2012 season when he went 14-9 with a 3.37 ERA, helping to lead his club to a World Series triumph over the Detroit Tigers in a four game sweep. This is when the legend of Vogelsong began to take hold in San Francisco. Every time this guy took the mound in the postseason the Giants seemed to win. In fact, over the course of his entire Giants career they won all seven games that Vogelsong started in the postseason. Over that span Vogelsong has a perfect 3-0 record. That’s right. The Giants NEVER LOST a postseason game he started. That is pretty remarkable.

This guy always wanted the ball and always gave everything he had on the mound for his teammates. As a photographer who photographed so many of his starts- mostly at home- I will never forget the gem he tossed in Game 3 of the 2012 World Series in Detroit. The Giants were big underdogs in the series, yet after winning the first two games at home they had huge momentum going into Game 3 in Detroit. Vogelsong had the ball for this game and it had to be the biggest start of his life. It was a huge swing game. Win and the Giants take a commanding 3-0 lead in the Series. Lose and it’s 2-1 and it’s anyone’s Series. On a freezing cold night at Comerica Park Vogelsong did not have his best stuff, but he made two early Giants runs stand up for a huge 2-0 shutout win over the befuddled Tigers. He shut them out over 5.2 innings giving up 5 hits and 4 walks, but he had tremendous poise on the mound and always made the big pitch when he needed it. The Giants closed out the Series and made it a four game sweep the next night, making Vogelsong’s return home a huge success. They would not have won in 2012 without him.

Let’s take a look back at his career in the orange and black, through the lenses of my film (!) and digital cameras:

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Ryan Vogelson of the San Francisco Giants pitches during the game against the Chicago Cubs at AT&T Park on September 2, 2000 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Ryan Vogelsong of the San Francisco Giants pitches during the game against the Colorado Rockies at AT&T Park on Sunday, June 5, 2011 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Ryan Vogelsong of the San Francisco Giants wipes his face with a towell in the dugout during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday, April 15, 2012 at AT&T Park in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Fans of Ryan Vogelsong of the San Francisco Giants cheer during Game 6 of the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park on October 21, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Ryan Vogelsong of the San Francisco Giants pitches during Game 6 of the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park on October 21, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Ryan Vogelsong #32 of the San Francisco Giants walks to the dugout before Game 3 of the 2012 World Series between the San Francisco Giants and Detroit Tigers on Saturday, October 27, 2012 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Brad Mangin/MLB Photos)

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Ryan Vogelsong #32 of the San Francisco Giants looks on from the dugout during Game 3 of the 2012 World Series against the Detroit Tigers on Saturday, October 27, 2012 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Brad Mangin/MLB Photos)

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Ryan Vogelsong of the San Francisco Giants and his family wave to the fans on Market Street during the World Series parade on October 31, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Ryan Vogelsong #32 of the San Francisco Giants receives his 2012 Championship Ring from President and Chief Executive Officer Larry Baer during a pregame ceremony honoring the 2012 World Series champions before their game against the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park on April 7, 2013 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Brandon Crawford #35 and Ryan Vogelsong #32 of the San Francisco Giants receive their 2012 Championship Rings during a pregame ceremony honoring the 2012 World Series champions before their game against the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park on April 7, 2013 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Ryan Vogelsong #32 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the game at AT&T Park on Saturday, May 4, 2013 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Ryan Vogelsong #32 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Miami Marlins during the game at AT&T Park on Sunday, May 18, 2014 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Ryan Vogelsong #32 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the game at AT&T Park on Saturday, July 26, 2014 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Ryan Vogelsong of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals during Game 4 of the National League Championship Series at AT&T Park on Wednesday, October 15, 2014 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Ryan Vogelsong of the San Francisco Giants and his teammates celebrate with champagne in the clubhouse after the Giants defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series to win the National League pennant and advance to the World Series at AT&T Park on Thursday, October 16, 2014 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Ryan Vogelsong #32 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals during the game at AT&T Park on Saturday, August 29, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Ryan Vogelsong #32 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the game at AT&T Park on Saturday, June 13, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

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Buster Posey #28 and Ryan Vogelsong #32 of the San Francisco Giants talk in front of the mound during the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT&T Park on Saturday, June 13, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

Vogelsong is one of those guys who will always get a huge ovation whenever he comes back to AT&T Park. He gave everything he had for the Giants and their fans. He wore his emotions on his sleeve and held nothing back. After his playing days are over he will be honored with a plaque outside the ballpark. On Monday Mario Alioto, the Giants’ senior vice president of business operations, told MLB.com’s Chris Haft that Vogelsong has qualified for a plaque on the club’s “Wall of Fame,” where the longest-tenured and most accomplished players from the franchise’s San Francisco era (post-1958) are honored. This is great news for Vogelsong and his fans. it is very fitting that he will be recognized for all he accomplished as a Giant.

What Others Are Saying

  1. goodsam73 December 23, 2015 at 12:26 am

    Brad – thank you so very much for this photo essay on Vogie. Saw the link from Baggs blog and it is really wonderful ! I understand completely why vogie is no longer pitching for the Gs but I miss him terribly already ! Yes he will ALWAYS be a Giant and those of us who sat on the edge of our seats thru those WS games will never forget what he and all the rest did to make October baseball happen in our city by the bay. Thank you for capturing the memories in such fine fashion.

  2. D December 23, 2015 at 12:46 am

    Great pix, he is an all time Giant great

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