“It’s a major trauma because a part of you has died. I’ve been focusing on perfecting one craft since I was six years old. Now I’m 33 and retired, when in reality, I’m starting all over again.”– Brian Johnson, Giants: Where Have You Gone?
In 1979, Giants fan Mike Mandel wrote SF Giants: An Oral History. Some of the players he interviewed include Daryl Spencer, Orlando Cepeda, Mike McCormick, Jim Davenport, Juan Marichal, Tito Fuentes, John D’Acquisto, John Montefusco, Willie McCovey, Jim Barr, Jack Clark and Chris Speier.
With the release of their new book Giants: Where Have You Gone? Matt Johanson and Wylie Wong bring us up to date with these and 21 other ex-Giants.
The front cover is very poignant, a picture of a Giants home jersey, hanging symbolically in an empty locker room. Many of the players (Frank Robinson, Roger Craig and Bob Lurie are also in the book) have stayed in or returned to baseball, while others express a desire to get back to the "Big Show."
Common threads appear throughout the 223 pages, such as the trials (in some cases, literally) and tribulations some of the players went through after hanging up their cleats. For some, it was trouble with the law. For others a lingering injury or just trying to earn a decent paycheck.
Many of the players have given back to their communities. Chris Speier helped create a school. Rob Andrews runs a two-week Giants fantasy camp. Brian Johnson has done work to help the less fortunate. Will Clark established a foundation to fund research for autism. Dave Dravecky gives motivational speeches and runs a ministry.
A handful of these players have seen some very trying times. Before he landed a job as pitching coach with the Somerset (New Jersey) Patriots, Montefusco served time in prison.
“The Count” is back on his feet again and wants to return to the organization where he won 59 big league games. “I’ve got a dream again," he told the authors. “Hopefully it will be with the Giants.”