Giants pay tribute to Davenport, Irvin at opener

Giants pay tribute to Davenport, Irvin at opener

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants honored two of their most distinguished players, third baseman Jim Davenport and outfielder Monte Irvin, in a pregame ceremony Thursday. Both passed away during the offseason.

The observance for Davenport was highly symbolic. For this AT&T Park home opener against the archrival Los Angeles Dodgers, third base was emblazoned with the jersey number 12 that Davenport wore during his 13-year playing career, which began with the franchise's inaugural season in San Francisco in 1958.

Members of Jim Davenport's family hold third base emblazoned with Davenport's number.AP

The Giants' starting infielders, all drafted and developed by the club and tutored by Davenport as Minor Leaguers, accompanied members of his family onto the field as third base was planted in its spot.

The tribute to Irvin reached a stirring level with the appearance of the legendary Willie Mays, who drew a steadily rising ovation from the crowd. Irvin, a Hall of Famer who was the Giants' first black player, mentored Mays on and off the field during the early years of the latter's career.

Irvin's daughters, Pamela Irvin Fields and Patricia Irvin Gordon, tossed ceremonial first pitches.

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.