Game Changer Awards

Former Giants ace Cain honors coach who changed baseball for him

NBC Universal, Inc.
  • Programming Note: Watch Positive Coaching Alliance's Game Changer Awards and Benefit show at 9 p.m. PT on Thursday night on NBC Sports Bay Area after "Dubs Talk Live."

Long before Matt Cain became a staple of the golden age of Giants baseball, he was taken under the wing of former Major League pitcher Mauro Gozzo.

Gozzo pitched in the MLB for parts of six seasons, making appearances with the Toronto Blue Jays, Cleveland, Minnesota Twins and New York Mets.

Once Gozzo's playing days concluded, he relocated to Tennessee, where he posted an advertisement in the local newspaper about offering coaching for young baseball players. Among those to respond to Gozzo's ad was Cain's grandfather, Guy Miller, who had his grandson take lessons from the former Major League pitcher.

During NBC Sports Bay Area's Game Changer Awards, Cain and Gozzo went into detail about the special bond they share with each other.

"He's [Gozzo] the guy that gave me my first pitching lesson," Cain explained. "He just did an amazing job of being able to translate the game to an 11-year-old in a simple fashion, in a fun way.

"Matt was beyond his years as far as maturity," Gozzo shared. "He was a sponge just wanting to listen and learn. He wanted to be as good as he can be, and he was definitely a competitor and you saw that early on in his young years.

"It was just kind of mind-blowing because the connection just happened super easy," Cain said. "He was so easy to be able to translate information down to an 11-year-old or anyone, because I saw him work with so many other kids. He just has a great knack for being able to find what he can extract from each individual.

"No matter what, whether I was tearing it up or I was at rock bottom, he just always had that calming effect whenever I reached out to him or had a question or anything, and it kind of brought me back down to earth, which was always a nice grounding effect for me."

Cain went on to have an incredibly successful MLB career, spending thirteen years with the Giants while serving as a key cog in three different World Series runs in San Francisco.

Perhaps best known for authoring the 22nd perfect game in MLB history, Cain was as dependable of a pitcher as you could find in the Majors for over a decade, forever stamping himself in Giants history as a legend of the ballclub.

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