For 15 years, longer than Bruce Bochy was manager of the team, the San Francisco Giants have honored standout individuals from their Junior Giants program. Organized by the Giants Community Fund, it runs free baseball in California, Oregon and Nevada.
Each year, a member and coach from each affiliate receive the Willie Mac Award, named after the late San Francisco Giants Hall of Famer, Willie McCovey. The award goes to the Junior Giants player and coach who went above and beyond by leading by example and respecting teammates every day.
At the end of this past season in August, the Half Moon Bay program voted player Caleb Galle and coach Richard Ortiz as recipients of the award. On Nov. 16, at Oracle Park in San Francisco, Galle and Ortiz joined 168 players, coaches and team parents at the Fund’s 15th annual luncheon. They met with Giants alumni, including Mike “Tiny” Felder, Dave Dravecky, Noah Lowry and many of the Fund’s board members. All winners received their own personalized baseball bat engraved with McCovey’s signature.
“It’s a wonderful experience to be honored by my teammates in this way, and I hope the Junior Giants Willie Mac Award winners know how important their leadership and hard work means to their own team,” Giants outfielder Kevin Pillar said to the attendees in comments relayed in a press release. “As athletes, we have an obligation to give back to the community; the Junior Giants program is one I embrace and support, and I applaud all the winners on their accomplishments this season.”