Giants Manager Bruce Bochy, who hoisted the World Series trophy from the back of a gold Rolls Royce during most of the 1 1/2-mile procession, credited fans and his players' "unselfish play" for helping to lift San Francisco to its second World Series victory in three years, an improbable double play for a franchise that had not won the title since 1954.
"In 2010, we characterized the club as misfits that came together and got it done," Bochy told the roaring hordes gathered for the rally in Civic Center Plaza. He said the tagline of the 2012 Giants was "never say die," a reference to the team's come-from-behind, post-season dominance.
"I thank you for always being there, for never giving up," he said. "Thank you for showing up wherever we've been and making this one of the greatest moments of my life."
As with the 2010 parade, this year's two-hour edition drew a cross-section of the region's diversity. Children who were allowed to skip school squeezed cap-to-glove alongside older couples who had been Giants fans since the team arrived in San Francisco from New York in 1958.
With the victory parade coinciding with Halloween, costumed masses brought an even more festive feel to what city officials hoped would be a family friendly, alcohol-free event.
Philip and Alyssa Lozano got up in Sacramento at 3:30 so they and their son could catch a ferry in time to witness the whole spectacle. Nine-year-old Christian Lozano was dressed up for Halloween as, what else, a panda, in tribute to Sandoval, whose nickname is the "Panda."
"We've been representing the Giants for a while and couldn't make it to the parade in 2010," Philip Lozano said.