San Francisco Giants

Fri, 07 Nov 2008 20:23

The history of the San Francisco Giants

Information about the MLB team San Francisco Giants.


The San Francisco Giants are a Major League Baseball team based in San Francisco, California. The team currently holds the distinction of having won the most games in the history of organized sports.

The San Francisco Giants were initially called the New York Gothams and were New York's entry to the National League in 1883. The team won its first National League pennant in1888 and a victory over the St. Louis Browns in an early incarnation of the World Series. They repeated as champions in 1889 with a pennant and World Series victory over the Brooklyn Bridegrooms. The Giants remained a title holder during the last half of the 1880s, culminating in their first league pennant in 1888 and 1889.

Based in San Francisco in 1958, the team became known as the San Francisco Giants. Major League affiliations are the National League from 1883 to present and the West Division from 1969 to present.

The Giants are known for their intense rivalry with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The major league titles they have won are the World Series Titles in 1954, 1944, 1922, 1921, and 1905. This includes 20 NL pennants since 1888 to 2002 and six West Division Titles. San Francisco Giants garnered its Wildcard berth in 2002.

The San Francisco Giants played in ballparks including AT&T from year 2000 to present a.k.a. SBC Park and a.k.a. Pacific Bell Park. They also played at Candlestick Park from 1960 to 1999 a.k.a. 3Com Park at Candlestick Point. San Francisco Giants started playing at Polo Grounds in New York from 1883 to 1888. Other ball parks are in St George Grounds and Polo Grounds 111 in New York from 1889 to 1919.

The Giants began as the second baseball club founded by millionaire tobacconist John B. Day and veteran amateur baseball player Jim Mutrie. Playing with their uniform colors of black, orange, gold, and cream, San Francisco Giants’ other nicknames are The Jints, Los Gigantes, The G-Men, and The Orange and Black.

The San Francisco Giants team is now owned by Managing General Partner Peter Magowan and Senior General Partner Sue Burns. Bill Neukom takes over Managing General Partner duties October 2008. Bruce Bochy stands as the Manager and Brian Sabean as the General Manager.

The Giants' original home stadium, the Polo Grounds, dates back in the early 1880s. The first of the Polo Grounds was located north of Central Park. After the 1888 season, the Giants moved uptown and renamed various fields located between 155th and 159th Streets in the New York City neighborhoods of Harlem and Washington Heights as the Polo Grounds. The Giants played at the Polo Grounds until the end of the 1957 season, when they moved to San Francisco.

In 1891, the Giants rebounded to third place following Day’s sale of a minority interest to the Player’s League principal backer Edward Talcott.

Four years later, Talcott sold the Giants to Andrew Freedman, a real estate developer. Freedman offered star pitcher Amos Rusie $2,500 for 1896. Rusie quit for the entire season. Attendance fell due to the loss of Rusie, prompting the other owners to chip in $5,000 to get Rusie to return for 1897.

In 1902, Freedman signed John McGraw as a player-manager, convincing him to join in mid-season from the Baltimore Orioles of the American League and to bring with him Orioles' players. McGraw managed the Giants for three decades. This marked one of the longest and most successful tenures in professional sports. Under McGraw, the Giants won 10 National League pennants and three World Series.

The Giants under McGraw famously ignored their first ever modern World Series chance in 1904 -- an encounter with the reigning world champion Boston Americans, now known as the "Red Sox." The reason: McGraw considered the new American League as little more than a minor league.

After the Giants won the 1905 World Series, they had several losing years. They finished in a tie with the Chicago Cubs and had a one-game playoff at the Polo Grounds in 1908. They lost the rematch to the Cubs, who went on to win their second World Series.

The Giants experienced some hard luck in the early 1910s, losing three straight World Series to the A's and the Red Sox. After losing the 1917 Series to the Chicago White Sox, the Giants played in four straight World Series in the early 1920s, winning the first two over the Yankees. They lost to the Yankees in 1923 when Yankee Stadium opened. They also lost in 1924, when the Washington Senators won their only World Series in their history.

McGraw handed over the team to Bill Terry in 1932. Terry played for and managed the Giants for 10years. The Giants won three pennants, defeating the Senators in the 1933 World Series and losing to the Yankees in 1936 and 1937.

Midway during the 1948 season Brooklyn Dodgers manager Leo Durocher left the Dodgers to become manager of the Giants. Durocher remained with the Giants through the 1955 season, and eight years proved to be some of the most memorable for Giants fans and the two most famous plays in Giants' history.

One of the baseball’s most memorable pennant race is the "Shot Heard 'Round the World," the name given to Bobby Thomson's walk-off home run that took the National League pennant for the Giants over the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Giants had been 13 and a half games behind the league-leading Dodgers. Under Durocher's guidance, the Giants got the Dodgers to tie for the lead on the last day of the season.

The Giants swept the series in four straight games of the 1954 World Series at the Polo Grounds over the Cleveland Indians who won an American League record 111 games that year. This was the last World Series victory for the Giants then losing in 1962, 1989, and 2002. The team moved to San Francisco prior to the 1958 season.

In the summer of 1957, both the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers announced their moves to California, and the golden age of baseball in the New York area ended.

In 1960, the Giants moved to Candlestick Parkin San Francisco's southeast corner overlooking San Francisco Bay. In 1962, after another memorable pennant chase with the Dodgers which resulted in a playoff series which the Giants won, the Giants brought a World Series to San Francisco. However, the Giants lost the series 4 games to 3 to the New York Yankees.

Although the Giants didn't make it to another World Series until 1989, the Giants of the 1960s continued to be pennant contenders. This was largely attributed to Future Hall-of-Famers Gaylord Perry, who pitched a no-hitter with the Giants in 1968;  Mays who hit his 600th career home run in 1969; Juan Marichal, a pitcher with a high-kicking delivery; and McCovey, who won the National League MVP award in 1969.

In 1981, the Giants became the first National League team to hire a black manager, Frank Robinson. In that tenure, the Giants finished a game over .500 in the strike-shortened 1981 season. In 1984, the Giants hosted the All-Star Game at Candlestick Park.

In 1985, the year saw the Giants lose 100 games. Owner Bob Lurie hired Al Rosen as general manager and promoted promising rookies such as Will Clark and Robby Thompson. He also made trades to acquire players as Kevin Mitchell and Candy Maldonado.

New manager Roger Craig served from 1985 to 1992. Under Craig's leadership, the Giants won 83 games in 1986 and won the National League Western Division title in 1987. The Giants lost the 1987 National League Championship Series to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games. Though such is the case, Giants’ outfielder Jeffrey Leonard, was named the series MVP.

In 1989, the Giants won the National League pennant having 15 different starting pitchers. The Giants beat the Chicago Cubs in the National League Championship Series, four games to one. For the first time in 27 years, the San Francisco Giants were the champions of the National League.

The Giants then came in last place in both 1995 and 1996, as key injuries and slumps hurt them. These bad times led the Giants to name Brian Sabean as their new general manager in 1997, replacing Bob Quinn. In the same year in 1997, they won their first NL West division title of the decade in 1999. In 1998, the Giants tied for the NL Wild card but lost a one-game playoff against the Chicago Cubs. The next year, 1999, the Giants finished second in the NL West with an 86–76 record.

In 2000, after 40 years at Candlestick Park, the Giants bid farewell to their old home and moved to a new, privately financed downtown stadium: Pacific Bell Park, later renamed SBC Park and then in February 2006 AT&T Park up to the present.