PHOENIX -- The jarring sight of Matt Cain wearing a Major League uniform other than one representing the San Francisco Giants will never materialize.
Prompted by a variety of factors -- the expiration of his contract, injury-eroded skills and a young family -- Cain announced Wednesday he will retire at the end of the season, officially ending a career distinguished by accomplishment and length.
A three-time National League All-Star, Cain pitched the only perfect game in the franchise's illustrious history on June 13, 2012, against the Astros, and he posted a 4-2 record with a 2.10 ERA in eight postseason starts, contributing heavily to two of the Giants' three World Series titles since 2010.
Moreover, Cain earned his seldom-used but apt nickname, "The Horse," by pitching 200 innings or more for six consecutive seasons (2007-12). His 13-year tenure also stood alone, since it was the longest by any player to perform only for the Giants since the team moved west from New York before the 1958 season.
This made Cain virtually synonymous with the Giants. And the stoic starter who was born in Alabama and raised in Tennessee grew to cherish his identification with the ballclub and the city.
"That's what makes this a little bit easier for me, is to know that I started out in 2002 [as a first-round Draft pick], put a Giants uniform on ... and knowing that's the exact same way I'm going to be going out, is with a Giants uniform on," said Cain. "I've been lucky enough to be with the same organization. It means so much to me. And I can't picture myself putting a different uniform on."
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Tuesday that Cain, who was removed from the club's starting rotation at the end of July, will start Saturday at AT&T Park against the Padres. The assignment was viewed as a farewell as much as a tribute, since the Giants had no plans to retain Cain by picking up their $21 million option on his services for 2018. That would cast Cain into free agency, a process he couldn't stomach.
Ultimately, Cain could quit baseball, but he couldn't quit being a Giant.
"I can't see myself going anywhere else to play with another team," he said. "This organization has meant so much to me. It's meant so much to my family. It's something that's dear to my heart. I'm just grateful that it's been a part of my life. I've enjoyed it, really, so much."
Chris Haft /

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