Saturday, August 11, 2012

10 years later: J.T. Snow hoists Darren Baker one more time at Giants reunion

Then and now: J.T. Snow and Darren Baker. (AP Photos)
By Mark Townsend, Yahoo Sports
July 2, 2012

One of the enduring images in baseball over the past 10 years has been that of J.T. Snow grabbing and pulling 3-year-old Darren Baker out of harm's way after the San Francisco Giants batboy — and son of their manager at the time, Dusty Baker — wandered too close to the action during Game 5 of the 2002 World Series.

Well, both were on hand at AT&T Park on Sunday afternoon as the Giants celebrated the 10-year anniversary of that team that fell one victory short of a world championship — Dusty was there, too, managing his Cincinnati Reds — and during the pregame ceremonies, Snow and the now 13-year-old Baker decided to reenact their famous moment after the latter threw out the game's ceremonial first pitch.

Needless to say, it was met with overwhelming enthusiasm from the sellout crowd of 42,039.

In addition to Snow and the Bakers' involvement, several other key members of Giants' 20th National League pennant-winning squad were also on hand for the festivities. That includes Jeff Kent, Benito Santiago, Rich Aurilia, Kirk Rueter and, of course, Barry Bonds.

"That team had a great impact, especially on Dusty's son," Barry Bonds said with a laugh Sunday about the 2002 version of the Giants. "Little Darren out there, he was like our good-luck charm. It's good to see him back here, too."

With their good-luck charm close by, San Francisco was nine outs away from capturing that championship 10 years ago in Game 6, until the Angels rallied from a 5-0 deficit to force a Game 7.

The Angels then went on to win that Game 7 behind a dominant pitching performance from John Lackey. But despite that devastating series loss, the 2002 Giants still own the most memorable moment from that series, and perhaps one of the most memorable moments in postseason history, thanks to Darren Baker's innocent enthusiasm and J.T. Snow's remarkably quick thinking.

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