Crawford joining exclusive club overshadowed by costly error


SAN FRANCISCO -- Brandon Crawford has been around for so long that it's easy to lose track of how rare his story is, but on Wednesday, the Giants had a brief moment to appreciate it. 

The shortstop who grew up dreaming of playing the position for the San Francisco Giants played his 1,500th game for the organization, joining a list that even he never could have imagined as he was taking grounders in the backyard in the East Bay. 

Crawford became just the fifth player to reach that mark since the franchise moved to San Francisco, joining Willie McCovey (2,256), Willie Mays (2,095), Barry Bonds (1,976) and Jim Davenport (1,501). Those are three of the best hitters of all-time and a man who spent five decades in the organization and was still around as Crawford worked his way through the minors. 

"It's a pretty short list and those are great players," Crawford said after the Giants' 3-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals. "So it's definitely really cool to be on that list."

Crawford is starting to have more and more of these milestone days, but on Wednesday he wasn't really able to celebrate. The Giants lost and Crawford's two-run error in the first was a big part of it. With two on and two out, a grounder to the right side came up higher than he thought it was going to and he wasn't able to field it cleanly. Both runners scored.

The Giants tied the game in the fourth but didn't score again. That led to a somber clubhouse after the game, not one in which teammates could celebrate Crawford's longevity or Brandon Belt hitting a solo homer in his first start back from the IL despite not having a rehab assignment. 

The game was Belt's 1,260th as a Giant, nearly all of which have been played with Crawford at shortstop. Crawford will pass Davenport this weekend in Pittsburgh but he has a long way to go to reach Bonds, and it's going to be a very long time before anyone else has a chance. It might be just about impossible for any future Giants to even catch Crawford. 

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After the Brandons, the longest-tenured Giant is Austin Slater, who has 379 appearances in orange and black. Evan Longoria is up to 416 after playing more than 1,400 games for the Tampa Bay Rays. Any future Giants stars will play in an era when even starting 140 games is hard for most Giants to do. Belt should reach 1,300 career games this summer, but given his age (34), persistent knee problems and contract status (he will be a free agent after the season), it's hard to bet on him reaching 1,500. 

Crawford joined a small club on Wednesday, and it's going to remain that way.

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