The Top 10 List of Non-Giants Who Should Be on Every Giants Fan’s Christmas Card List: No. 10, Bengie Molina

These selections are intended to be tongue-in-cheek, but this one is a bit more sincere.

Bengie Molina spent 3.5 seasons with the San Francisco Giants. And for most of the years, the Giants asked Molina to do things that he had never done before — like bat cleanup.

This was never more evident than in 2007, Molina’s first with the Giants. Early in the season, Molina found himself batting cleanup for the Giants on one of Barry Bonds’ scheduled days off. A career American Leaguer prior to ’07, the story goes that Molina chatted with Bonds before that game as asked the home run king “What kind of league is this that I’M batting cleanup?”
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Bonds responded: “It ain’t the league, man. It ain’t the league.”

But Molina responded with solid offensive numbers with the Giants. He had 19 HRs, 81 BI and hit .276 in 2007, 16-95-.292 in 2008 and 20-80-.265 in 2009.

Not only that, Molina played a solid catcher for the Giants and helped with the development of the Giants young pitchers like Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez. Remember, Molina was the catcher when Lincecum won back-to-back Cy Young Awards.

His teammates knew Molina’s value to the team. That’s why they voted to give him a World Series share and ring.

“He helped me mature and succeed. I’ve said time and time again that he deserves half of those awards that I’ve gotten.” Lincecum said of Molina and his Cy Young Awards.

“The things he’s done for me – for calling a game, to give me confidence throwing different pitches in different counts – really, really, really benefited me,” Cain said.

Unable to secure a multi-year deal in the offseason after 2009, Molina returned to San Francisco for the 2010 season. He hit well enough in the first month of the season, batting .344 in April. But his power numbers waned, with just 1 HR and 8 RBI in April.

Then in May, the batting average went south. By June 1, he was hitting .250. That made the decision to call up Buster Posey from Fresno that much easier.

And by the end of June, Molina was traded to Texas, having hit 3 HRs, 17 RBI, and .257 with the Giants.

Coincidentally, or not, the Giants lost the last five games that Molina played for them. They lost 8 of the 10 he played for them.

About a week after the trade to Texas, the Giants went on a stretch in which they won 15 of 18 games. That stretch basically matched Buster Posey’s 21- game hitting streak.  Also during that stretch, Pat Burrell hit five home runs. Both those things don’t happen if Bengie Molina is still on the roster.

Oh, and in the World Series for the Rangers, Molina hit .182 with one RBI.

So thanks Bengie for everything you did for the Giants … and also for everything you didn’t do in 2010. 

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