Ryan Vogelsong is set to retire, and he’ll do so as a San Francisco Giant in a ceremony on Sunday, the Giants announced.
Much better known for his exploits with San Francisco, Vogelsong, of course, had two stints with the Pirates, from 2001 to ‘06 and again in 2016. He signed a minor-league deal with the Twins last offseason and was let go in spring training.
Vogelsong suffered a frightening facial injury, getting hit near the eye by a pitch in May 2016. He returned to the starting rotation in August and made what would be his final Major League start for the Pirates on October 2 in St. Louis.
Drafted by the Giants in 1998, Vogelsong originally went to Pittsburgh with Armando Rios in a 2001 trade, with the Pirates sending Jason Schmidt and John Vander Wal to San Francisco.
Vogelsong spent parts of six seasons, marred by injury and ineffectiveness, with the Pirates before pitching three years in Japan. He returned to the American minors in 2010, then, at age 33, enjoyed a stunning 2011 breakout back with the Giants. He went 13-7 with a 2.71 ERA, with a 7.0 K/9 and 3.10 BB/9, earning a trip to that year’s All Star Game and even an 11th-place finish in the National League Cy Young voting.
His first start back in the majors actually came in Pittsburgh. It was a Thursday afternoon and I sat on the third-base side (I think by myself), wondering how this guy who had dropped off my consciousness as a viable baseball player was shutting down even the Pirates, who got four hits that day.
Vogelsong pitched 5 2-3 innings in a shutout of the Tigers in Game 3 of the 2012 World Series. He also started a wild Game 4 of the 2014 World Series, which San Francisco would win, 11-4.
Vogelsong obviously won’t be associated with Pittsburgh first, but his devastating injury and return from it was an emotional story for a then-38-year-old veteran. The Pirates were fairly generous to Vogelsong on his way out, too.