I have to admit that I have been harsh with my criticism of former Giants shortstop, Edgar Renteria over the past few years. The 34-year old, who has lost a step since he was a fabulous prospect with the Marlins at age 19 in 1996, was the brunt of a lot of criticism from my friend Jeff Smith and me (Jeff sits next to me in both the Giants and Athletics press boxes) because he had lost a step on defense and the base paths, and well, neither was his bat what the Giants anticipated when they signed him to a two-year deal in 2009.
Apparently the Giants realized the truth as well following Edgar's rugged (.250-5-48 with an awful .305 OBP) 2009, so Renteria spent the bulk of his option year on the bench, albeit with better results (.276-3-22 over half as many at-bats as the previous year).
However, the free swinging struggles of third sacker Pablo Sandoval forced Bruce Bochy's hand, and suddenly Renteria found himself starting during the stretch run. As the everyday shortstop for San Francisco during the post season his .412-2-6 numbers, with two go-ahead homers and a 3-for-4 day that included a critical triple, led the way to the first ever SF championship.
Renteria has faded quickly, though he still has indeed had a strong career, assembling .287-135-887 career totals, with 2252 hits, 290 steals, a Rookie-of-the-Year Award and five All Star Game selections. Oh yes, and Renteria was named the World Series MVP following his team's dominance over Texas this year in the Fall Classic.
Renteria, now a free agent as the Giants did not renew his contract since their final 2010 win, was slated to go home to Barranquilla, Colombia, last Thursday, November 11, and his countrymates wanted to honor the Series hero with a tribute upon the shortstop's return.
But, Renteria, quietly asked that the celebration be cancelled, and the celebratory money be used to aid victims of Colombia's recent floods, suggesting there are "more important things back home" and noting that it was more important to focus on those left homeless by the disaster.
I am sorry I criticized you Edgar, lost range or not, for you are, as we say in Yiddish, "a mensch," a real human being.
We see so much about overpaid and spoiled celebraties, including athletes, that Edgar's simply dignified act almost seems transcendent.
He certainly is a World Series hero, but Edgar's heroics obviously extend way beyond the diamond.