SAN FRANCISCO -- When Ryan Vogelsong commandeered AT&T Park's public-address system after last season's finale and vowed to fans, "I will always, always, be a Giant," he may not have known that he was, in a sense, being literal as well as emotional.
The popular Vogelsong recently migrated to Pittsburgh in free agency, but he has indeed made his mark as a Giant. Mario Alioto, the Giants' senior vice president of business operations, confirmed on Monday that Vogelsong has qualified for a plaque on the club's "Wall of Fame," where the longest-tenured and most accomplished players from the franchise's San Francisco era (post-1958) are honored.
Checking the fine print of the eligibility requirements cast mild doubt upon Vogelsong's credentials. The 48 current honorees played at least nine years for the Giants, or a minimum of five years with at least one All-Star selection. Vogelsong seemed to fit the latter category by making the 2011 All-Star team and spending five years with the Giants, but 2011 technically wasn't a full season, as Vogelsong's contract was purchased from Triple-A on April 17 after Barry Zito was injured.
But Alioto affirmed that Vogelsong topped five years' service time thanks to his 17-game stint with the Giants in 2000-01 after they selected him in the fifth round of the 1998 Draft. Vogelsong was then traded to Pittsburgh, launching a career that has now come full circle. He finished 48-49 with a 3.93 ERA in 162 appearances, including 132 starts, as a Giant.
Vogelsong is among several active players who will someday be immortalized in the display of plaques embedded in AT&T Park's King Street exterior. Others who already have met the standards include Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Buster Posey, Sergio Romo, Pablo Sandoval and Brian Wilson.
All-time home run leader Barry Bonds, the Marlins' freshly appointed hitting coach, is expected to be the next honoree, perhaps as soon as this season.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.