On October 7, 2010, the San Francisco Giants began the march towards their first World Series championship in 56 years, and Robin Williams was there.
It was just before Game 1 of the National League Division Series, and the Giants were set to take on the Atlanta Braves. Williams – who had lived to in nearby Marin County since high school – stood behind home plate at San Fran’s AT&T Park, with a black Giants cap on his head and a microphone in his hand, and belted out a modified version of one of his signature lines: “Gooooood Evening, San Francisco!”
The home crowd cheered, and Williams was away on one of the manic outbursts he’d been perfecting as a comedian and actor for five decades: He bellowed like he was introducing the Who at Wembley, waved the Giants’ rally towel and powered through a “Let’s Go Giants!” chant (he even did it once in Spanish) before dashing into the outstretched arms of the Giants’ furry mascot.
It was surreal, but it worked. Backed by a vocal San Fran crowd, ace Tim Lincecum pitched a complete-game shutout, striking out a franchise record 14 batters along the way (Williams congratulated him after the game). The Giants won 1-0, and less than a month later, they’d be World Series champs.
Williams was a fixture at Giants home games throughout that run to the title, not to mention an avid fan of the team. And throughout his career, though he didn’t take on a lot of sports roles, there were memorable turns in films like 1986’s The Best of Times (where he and Kurt Russell attempt to relive a high school football game) and, of course, all the tortured Sawx-iness his Oscar-winning performance in Good Will Hunting.
So as news of his death began to spread on Monday, it was no surprise that the sports world reacted with sadness, including his hometown team, who were compelled to release a statement remembering the late comedian.
“We were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Robin Williams. Robin was a true artist who brought joy to the world through his brilliance, humor, talent and love for our community,” Giants president Larry Baer said. “We lost one of our greatest fans today and he will be deeply missed by the Giants family. Our thoughts and prayers are with Robin’s family and the entire community during this difficult time.”