By Dennis O'Donnell

(KPIX) — Matt Cain’s retirement marks the end of one of the great eras in Giants history. Not just for one pitcher, but for two.

I have always linked Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum as the almighty foundation of the greatest era in San Francisco Giants history.  Seemingly complete opposites, the clean cut Marine-like kid and the skateboard-lookin’ freak who you just might run into on Haight Ashbury.

Lincecum’s hair had flair and his explosive wind up and torque unleashed a fireball of hell that defied logic given his tiny-Tim like frame.

Cain was the opposite. He was built like a rock. He was steady. He pitched in Lincecum’s larger-than-life shadow and thrived in it.

But together a rockin’ duo that fans could place more faith in than E pluribus unum.

In 2008, I had Tim Lincecum in studio and asked him, “Who’s going to throw the first no-hitter, you or Matt Cain?” Without hesitation, Lincecum said, “Cain.”

And he was right. More than right.

Lincecum followed Cain’s perfection with no-hitters in 2013 and 2014. Then, poof. The magic was gone. Three years later, he was out of baseball, and now, joined by Cain.

When you’re in this business long enough, you see them come and go. Championship teams and the heroes that made them.  But you’re never quite ready for the finish.

Somewhere, around the corner, is the next Giants hero. I expect he’ll have big shoes. He’ll need them.

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