The Giants are saying goodbye to another member from the championship runs in 2010, 2012, and 2014. Javier Lopez recently announced that he is retiring from baseball after 14 seasons in Major League Baseball. Lopez finished his career with an ERA of 3.48 and accumulated 30 wins to go along with 17 losses. He pitched in 839 games which translates into 533 innings pitched (he became a lefty specialist with the Giants, and so did not always pitch a full inning). Javy also recorded 358 strikeouts. All in all, Javier Lopez had a very solid career.
Lopez broke into the big leagues on April 1, 2003 with the Colorado Rockies. He spent another 2 seasons with Colorado before going to Arizona where he finished the 2005 season. In 2006, he went to the Boston Red Sox and won his first of 4 championships there. He was there until 2009. In 2010, he joined the Pittsburgh Pirates and then was subsequently traded to the San Francisco Giants mid season. This is where Javier Lopez finally really made a home for himself.
Once he landed with the Giants, Javy’s career took off. He consistently posted very low ERA numbers and became the Giants secret weapon against tough left handed batters like Ryan Howard, Jay Bruce, and Adam LaRoche just to name a few. Lopez became an essential assent to the Giants during their playoff runs in all 3 World Series wins. It is my honest opinion that without ‘Night Train’, the Giants probably don’t win a few of those titles.
Giants fans soon came to love watching Lopez because of his fun and outgoing personality. When Jeremy Affeldt was with the Giants, (he retired at the end of the 2015 season) both Lopez and Affeldt seem to have a friendly competition to see who Bruce Bochy’s favorite left handed reliever was. It became YouTube material for fans to enjoy and appreciate. Lopez was instrumental in helping to maintain a clubhouse that had good chemistry. Every player got along with each other and having guys like Lopez, and Affeldt only helped to strengthen the relationship that the Giants players had then and still have today as we dawn upon the 2017 season.
There is some good news though for Giants fans. I recently heard that both Affeldt and Javier Lopez will be working in the Giants broadcast booth this season due to the health issues that Giants color commentator Mike Krukow is suffering from. Krukow said he is going to downgrade his workload to about 120 games this season, which will allow us fans to enjoy the vocal sounds of Mr. Lopez and Mr. Affeldt. It is sad that Mike Krukow has to work less because I have learned a lot about the game of baseball simply by listening to his commentary, and I still enjoy listening to him and Duane Kuiper, but at least we will be in good hands with the characters of these two former Giants.
So happy trails Javier Lopez! I hope that you enjoy life in retirement, I know your family will love having you around on a more permanent basis. I look forward to hearing you on the Giants broadcasts this season. Be well!
*insert Roy Rogers and Dale Evans singing “Happy Trails to You” with a sunset image*