Former San Francisco Giant, now Deputy Sheriff, gets back on baseball field

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Former Major League Baseball player, Justin Christian, was back on the baseball field, but in a different uniform.

The former San Francisco Giants outfielder turned Deputy Sheriff, took the mound at Thursday night's San Jose Giants home-opener.

"Had some old teammates that were out there, some old coaches. So, it brought back some good memories," Deputy Sheriff Christian said. "It was fun!"

A video posted to the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office Twitter account shows Christian standing beside Sheriff Laurie Smith. Christian is seen throwing the first commemorative pitch on behalf of the sheriff's office.

In that moment, his two professions collided.

"I wanted to get into law enforcement while I was in college," he explained. "Never had that opportunity because I was blessed enough that I was able to continue baseball."

Christian's baseball career took him across the country, eventually landing him back in the Bay Area.

The former outfielder grew up in San Mateo.

Christian took home a World Series ring with the Giants in 2012. In 2015, he retired from Major League Baseball, and went through the academy in 2016. He said he's been with Santa Clara County ever since.

Christian's goal was to help build a better Bay Area.

"I wanted something that was basically going to challenge me and give me an opportunity to go out and make a difference in the community," he said. "Law enforcement was that choice for me."

Christian said the transition from baseball to law enforcement was smooth because of parallels like teamwork, camaraderie and competition. He explained he's always noticed an overlap between the two professions.

"Law enforcement was always a part of baseball. We get escorted to and from different locations, and either the sheriff's office or the police departments would do those things," he said.

"I remember talking to numerous officers and deputies throughout my career in baseball, and telling them, 'Hey, I can't wait to do your job,'" he recalled. "They would turn around and say, 'Hey, I wish I could do your job!'"

The World Series champion continues to champion for the people.

"I just always feel home here, I've grown up here in the Bay Area. The community's treated me very well, and the least I can do is give a little bit back to the community," Christian said.

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