It wasn't expected, but Giants fans had hoped he'd make an appearance.
They'd hoped Tim Lincecum, one of the most beloved Bay Area athletes of all time, would come home for one day to celebrate the career of his former manager, Bruce Bochy.
The feeling was that Lincecum would show up for Sunday's game against the Dodgers to honor the manager he won three World Series titles with, but he'd hang out in the background, not wanting to take the attention away from Bochy.
But as the postgame ceremony headed toward its crescendo, The Freak emerged from the behind the center field wall to the delight of Bochy, his former teammates and an Oracle Park crowd that went ballistic at the sight of the two-time Cy Young Award winner.
Lincecum shared an emotional embrace with Bochy, the two forever linked in Giants franchise lore, and soaked in a moment that never will be forgotten.
The 35-year-old admittedly is a bit of a recluse, so he wasn't easy to get to the ceremony. Giants CEO Larry Baer hopes this isn't the last time the franchise and its fans see Big Time Timmy Jim.
“With Timmy, we had a couple of helpers,” Baer told KNBR about getting Lincecum to the ceremony. “Guys that he’s texting with. And I won’t tell you who they are or else we’ll give up our sources.
“The thing with Timmy is he was really respectful. He knew it was Bochy’s day, so he wanted to be respectful to Boch, but he didn’t want it to be about him. But I thought he struck a great balance. He’s a wonderful guy. He’s around — in and out of San Francisco a fair bit — so hopefully we haven’t seen the last of it.”
Lincecum last pitched in the big leagues in 2016 with the Los Angeles Angels. He hasn't formally retired, and was candid about the transition out of baseball and how he's working through it.
Lincecum last pitched for the Giants in 2015. That start ended after he was hit with a comebacker and pulled after 1 2/3 innings. He signed with the Angels in the offseason, and Giants fans never truly got to give him the send-off that Bochy and likely Madison Bumgarner received Sunday.
When Lincecum walked onto the field with his blond-streaked hair and flannel shirt tied around his waist, the eruption that had been four years in the making was unleashed.
Tim Lincecum came home. Then, the attention went back to Bochy -- just how Tim wanted it.