(Jason) Giambi remained a productive regular through age 37, well into the drug-testing era. Unlike others from his heyday, he was spared much of the wrath of fans because he was truthful before the Balco grand jury in December 2003. That, of course, was merely his civic duty. But against the backdrop of others who dodged and weaved, Giambi stood out.
“I made the greatest choice ever,” he said. “If you look at how everything’s transpired, my whole thing was over the day I went in front of the grand jury and told the truth. The freeing part, actually, was when my grand jury testimony got leaked. That skeleton in the closet was no longer just waiting to come out.”
With his words laid bare in The San Francisco Chronicle, Giambi could apologize without specifying his transgressions. But everybody knew, and he signed lots of autographs and never chafed at follow-up questions. He was comeback player of the year in 2005, and three years later, in his final season in New York, the Yankees held a giveaway mustache day in his honor. Mike Mussina wore one in the dugout.
Going from scorned to celebrated is one thing. But becoming so respected that he would be a serious managerial candidate, even before retirement, may be Giambi’s most remarkable act.
“The fact that he got interviewed, coming right off the field, speaks volumes,” (Cleveland manager Terry) Francona said. “I think he’d be great.”
Few could match Giambi’s experiences. He has played in the World Series and finished in last place. He has been an M.V.P. and a bench guy, a wild man and a family man, a cheater and a truth-teller. He remains eager to share it all.
“I’ve got a whole dossier of things to do and things not to do,” Giambi said. “I tell people, I’ve lived lifetimes already.””
– The New York Times, "Giambi Reinvents Himself, And Baseball Is Intrigued"