Bobby Bolin, the esteemed former Giants pitcher and one of the inaugural members of the team’s prestigious Wall of Fame, passed away at the age of 84 on June 2nd, as confirmed by an online obituary. This revered figure in baseball history leaves behind a remarkable legacy that will forever be etched in the hearts of fans and fellow players.
During his illustrious career spanning 13 seasons, Bolin exhibited his exceptional skills as a right-handed starter and reliever for the Giants, Brewers, and Red Sox. Renowned for his reliability on the mound, Bolin garnered recognition by finishing among the top 10 in the National League multiple times for ERA, shutouts, and winning percentage. A true testament to his versatility, Bolin once humorously remarked, “I was never classified as a starter or as a reliever, so I mostly sat on a tarp between the bullpen and the dugout because I didn’t know which one I’d be doing.”
One of Bolin’s most memorable seasons occurred in 1968, aptly nicknamed “The Year of the Pitcher,” where he achieved an impressive 10-5 record with a remarkable 1.99 ERA in 34 appearances. This stellar performance included 19 starts, six complete games, and three shutouts. Bolin’s exceptional abilities were further exemplified when he outdueled the legendary Bob Gibson of the St. Louis Cardinals in a thrilling 3-2 victory on September 6th of that year.
Before making his mark in the majors, Bolin honed his skills and showcased his potential during his high school years at Hickory Grove High School in South Carolina, where he astoundingly pitched four no-hitters in a single season. Despite his initial allegiance to the Dodgers as a fan, Bolin made the pivotal decision to sign with the Giants when scout Tim Murchison presented him with the promising opportunity to make it to the big leagues.
In 1961, Bolin made his MLB debut and quickly became an integral part of the 1962 pennant-winning Giants, contributing his talent during the World Series against the Yankees, although San Francisco fell short in a seven-game battle. The following years saw Bolin reach new heights, achieving a career-best record of 14-6 in 1965 and setting personal records with 10 complete games and four shutouts in the subsequent season.
After a remarkable tenure with the Giants until the end of the 1969 season, Bolin continued his baseball journey in the American League, representing the Brewers and Red Sox. Off the field, he leaves behind a loving family, including his devoted wife of 64 years, Irene White Bolin, along with two children, three grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Bobby Bolin’s impact on the game of baseball and his contributions to the San Francisco Giants will forever be cherished. As we bid farewell to this extraordinary pitcher, we honor his legacy and the indelible memories he has left behind. May he rest in eternal peace.