San Francisco enlisted the help of five franchise greats -- Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal, Gaylord Perry and Monte Irvin -- to help prime the local crowd for Game 1 of the World Series. All five Hall of Famers met on the mound for the ceremonial first pitch before Wednesday night's opening game against Texas.
Willie Mays was to throw out the first pitch, but was unable to attend because of illness.
Had Mays been able to attend, he and Irvin would have provided a link to the Giants' last World Series title. Both Mays and Irvin played for the 1954 Giants, who swept the 111-win Indians. The Giants have been back to the Fall Classic three times since moving to San Francisco but have yet to win again.
McCovey, Cepeda, Marichal and Perry are links to the post-move Giants, who have enjoyed quite a bit of success in the last five decades. All four of them played for the 1962 Giants, a team that lost the World Series in seven games to the Yankees. San Francisco also went to the World Series in 1989 and 2002, but lost to the A's and Angels, respectively.
San Francisco will try to tap the same magic on Thursday, when it enlists Bobby Thomson's daughters, Megan Armstrong and Nancy Mitchell, to throw out the first pitch. Thomson, a three-time All-Star whose game-winning homer -- dubbed "The Shot Heard 'Round the World" -- against the Dodgers gave the Giants the 1951 pennant in the final game of a best-of-three playoff, died in August.
-- Spencer Fordin