Two of the most popular players to ever come through the clubhouse at Oracle Park announced their retirement Thursday in a fascinating way.
Former Giants Gregor Blanco and Nick Hundley are joining the commissioner's office as Senior Directors in Baseball Operations, the league announced. Blanco and Hundley, both 36 years old, will report to former big league pitcher Chris Young, who will oversee all on-field operations and umpiring departments for the league office.
Blanco and Hundley are both perfectly suited for the role, which was described as being all-encompassing for baseball operations. They will serve as MLB liaisons to clubs, players and umpires, will aid in administering on-field discipline, and will provide insights regarding rules, technology, instant replay and other initiatives. They will also participate in MLB's youth initiatives in the United States and Latin America.
The involvement in discipline decisions might come easier to Hundley than Blanco, who might have been the nicest player to put on a Giants uniform over the past decade. Hundley was calm off the field, but was sneaky fiery behind the plate, a trait that showed most clearly when he went after Yasiel Puig and started a benches-clearing brawl.
Off the field, Blanco and Hundley were two of the more helpful and inquisitive players the Giants have had. Both became clubhouse leaders, with Blanco taking on an instrumental role in bringing young Spanish-speaking players into the fold. Hundley immediately became a clubhouse leader upon joining the Giants in 2017 and remains close to many of the team's veterans despite only playing two seasons in San Francisco.
Hundley always seemed a natural to become a manager and Blanco has displayed an interest in coaching, but both ended up in the league office first, a good jumping-off point for former players. Both played last season, with Blanco spending the year in Triple-A for the Mets and Hundley making 31 appearances for the A's.