MLB: Tim Lincecum may not be a Hall of Famer, but nobody is so loved in the Giants

There are few players of the San Francisco Giants most universally loved that Tim Lincecum. At his best, Linceceum was the most captivating ace of all MLB, able to dominate hitters with scorching fastballs and pitches with very poisonous speed changes, which amazed even more in the case of such a slender pitcher.

His arrival electrified San Francisco, allowing the franchise to move on from the Barry Bonds era and paving the way for the Giants’ dynasty in the 2010s.

Lincecum is one of 13 players who debuted on the 2022 Hall of Fame ballot, though his short tenure likely prevents him from contending for a Cooperstown spot. However, Lincecum continues to hold a special place in the hearts of Giants fans, who have not forgotten the thrill of watching the right-hander put together some of the most brilliant pitching campaigns in franchise history.

Chosen with the 10th pick in the 2006 Amateur Draft out of the University of Washington, Lincecum put in a solid performance after debuting with the Giants in 2007, but quickly rose to stardom in 2008, when he won the first of his two Cy Young Awards. in a row.

Lincecum kicked off his breakout season by winning his first four decisions. At 24 years old, he established himself as the ace of a rotation that included Barry Zito, Matt Cain, Puerto Rican Jonathan Sánchez and Kevin Correia. Known for his violent movement toward the plate, Lincecum confused hitters and on May 15 he had 10 strikeouts in six innings against the Astros.

“He’s got three indecipherable pitches,” Houston slugger Lance Berkman said after that game. “When he throws those changeup pitches, you don’t stand a chance.”

“His stuff is some of the most poisonous stuff I’ve ever seen,” added another Astros hitter, outfielder Hunter Pence.

Lincecum’s dominance received recognition beyond the Bay area, as he was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine on September 7. He was called to his first All-Star Game after going 11-2 with a 2.57 ERA and leading the majors with 135 strikeouts in the first half, but missed the Midseason Classic at Yankee Stadium after being hospitalized with symptoms. flu and dehydration.

Lincecum was just as relentless in the second half, striking out 13 batters in seven innings against the D-backs on July 26 and throwing his first career shutout on September 13. He officially entered the history books on Sept. 23, when he posted his 252nd strikeout of the season against the Rockies, breaking Jason Schmidt’s record for a team-era season in San Francisco.

Lincecum finished his first full season in the majors going 18-5 with a 2.62 ERA, while also leading the major leagues in strikeouts. In that way, he became a bright spot in what was a disappointing season for the Giants.

That November, Lincecum won the NL Cy Young Award with 23 of 32 first-place votes, beating Brandon Webb of the D-backs, Johan Santana of the Mets and CC Sabathia of the Los Angeles Lakers. Brewers.

“I was more stunned than anything else,” Lincecum said at the time. “Given the competition, I was just hoping to be in the group. I thought Webb or Santana or even CC had it. As for that, my reaction was ‘Woo hoo!’ I literally screamed a couple of times when I hung up the phone.”

Lincecum became the second Giants pitcher to win the award and the first since Mike McCormick in 1967.

“You were definitely the focus of everything that was good about the Giants this year,” Giants general manager Brian Sabean told Lincecum. “The organization has every reason to be proud of your individual achievement. Your stage of innocence is over. A lot is going to be expected of you now.”

Lincecum, of course, did not disappoint. After that season, he had another terrific season posting a 2.48 ERA in 225.1 innings to win his second consecutive Cy Young Award.

From 2008 to 2011, Lincecum was called up to four straight All-Star Games, though injuries and reduced speed hastened his relegation and derailed his path to the Hall of Fame. In his last four years with the Giants, he had a 4.68 ERA before joining the Angels, who released him after posting a 9.16 ERA in nine starts in 2016, his final major league season.

Given the short-lived peak of his career, Lincecum isn’t expected to receive enough support to make a compelling case for the Hall of Fame, but he remains a seminal figure in San Francisco history and his unique legacy will live on among fans. of the Giants.

The 2022 Hall of Fame bracket will be announced live on MLB Network on January 25. Candidates must receive 75 percent or more of the vote to be inducted and at least 5 percent to remain on the ballot for next year.

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MLB: Tim Lincecum may not be a Hall of Famer, but nobody is so loved in the Giants