John B. Day and Jim Mutrie, owners of the American Association's New York Metropolitans, form a National League team called the New York Gothams.
Jim Mutrie becomes the manager of the Gothams, and he and John Day move some of the star players from the pennant-winning Metropolitans over to the National League franchise. The Gothams become known as the Giants during the season.
On May 1, they play their first game at a field once used for polo matches at 110th Street and Sixth Avenue. With six future Hall of Famers on the roster, the Gothams recorded the highest winning percentage in franchise history (.759, 85-27). Pitchers Tim Keefe and "Smiling Mickey" Welch combined for an astounding 76 victories, while slugging third baseman Roger Connor (who would hold the career home runs record until Babe Ruth came along) batted .371 as one of four players to hit over .300 for the team that season.
On June 3, after a rousing extra-innings victory over Philadelphia, manager Jim Mutrie was so overcome with emotion that he supposedly blurted out a description of his team that immediately became the franchise's new nickname. He called them his Giants.
Despite that spectacular season, the Giants still finished two games behind Chicago, losing two late-season games to the pennant-winning White Stockings.
After two seasons of .550-plus records that nevertheless result in finishing more than 10 games back, the Giants capture their first National League pennant and then defeat the American Association's St. Louis Browns to claim the world championship.
Tim Keefe set a franchise record by reeling off 19 straight victories as part of a 35-12 season. He topped the league in wins, ERA (1.74) and strikeouts (335), while teammate Mickey Welch contributed another 26 wins. Mike Tiernan also made franchise history by becoming the first Giant to hit for the cycle.
Roger Connor smacked 14 home runs (including three in one game) and catcher Buck Ewing hit .306 to pace the offensive attack that led to the Giants' first pennant and an eventual world championship over the St. Louis Browns.
In the 10th and final game of the series, pitcher Ed Crane threw a one-hitter to earn the 1-0 victory (the Giants' only run scored on a bases-loaded wild pitch).
Despite three changes of address, the Giants successfully defend both their NL title and the world championship before the upstart Players League (started in 1890) and the ownership of Andrew Freedman decimates the squad for the next decade.
The city of New York evicted the Giants from the Polo Grounds, so the team played two games at Oakland Park in New Jersey and 23 games at Staten Island's St. George Grounds before moving in to the Second Polo Grounds at 155th Street and Eighth Avenue in July.
Tim Keefe and Mickey Welch continued to pace the pitching staff (55 wins combined), while Ed Crane threw the team's first-ever no-hitter. Five players hit better than .300, led by Mike Tiernan's .335 and franchise-record and league-leading 147 runs scored.
April 22, 1891: Once the upstart Players League folds, the Giants take over their ballpark, which had been built right next to the second Polo Grounds. Until the full enclosure of the stadium in 1923, fans could stand in the outfield to watch games.
After a narrow one-game victory over the Boston Beaneaters for the pennant, the Giants began what would become a storied rivalry by defeating the Brooklyn club (the American Association's Bridegrooms) for the world championship.
Two years later, after the rebel Players League folded, the Giants moved into the ballpark of that league's New York franchise. The new Polo Grounds would be their home for the next 66 years, interrupted only by a 1911 fire.
George Davis' 33-game hitting streak establishes the franchise record as he leads the team with a .355 average and 119 RBIs. His 27 triples also set a team record that still remains. Two years later, at the age of 24, the third baseman becomes the youngest manager in Major League history when he is named skipper for 33 games.
With the demise of the American Association two years earlier, the National League pits the first-place Baltimore Orioles against the runner-up Giants. The New Yorkers surprise everyone by sweeping the best-of-seven series to win the championship. Pitchers George Meekin and Amos Rusie, who combined for 69 victories in the regular season, each win two games in the championship series.
Pitcher Cy Seymour pitches both games of a doubleheader (the nightcap called after seven innings because of darkness) -- and wins both. He allows seven hits total. The achievement is especially remarkable because of Seymour's reputation for wildness; he would issue 13 walks in a game two years later and led the league in free passes for three straight years.
Suffering the most miserable finish in the team's 20-year history (48-88, 53 1/2 games back), New York still makes a move that would prove to be one of the most significant ever: signing John McGraw as player-manager.
July 15, 1901: Christy Mathewson tosses a no-hitter, one of two in his Hall of Fame career, against the St. Louis Cardinals.
In 1902, New York quickly churned through two managers, both of whom considered shifting emerging star pitcher Christy Mathewson to another position. Owner Andrew Freedman managed to snag the aggressive John McGraw away from the fledging American League's Baltimore Orioles and signed him as player-manager of the Giants in mid-season.
The fiery John McGraw captained the Giants for nearly three decades.
Later in the season, John Brush assumed controlling interest of the team and gave McGraw the freedom and money to run the team as he wished. He lured many top players to the club and nurtured the Hall of Fame career of Mathewson, and two years later, the Giants would be back on top of the National League. McGraw would lead the Giants for the next 29 years, winning 10 pennants and three world titles and recording 21 finishes of second or better.
Upon assuming the reins of the Giants, McGraw came up with an innovative solution for the problem of what to do with Luther "Dummy" Taylor, the only deaf-mute person to play in the Majors in the 20th century. McGraw made his entire team learn sign language so they could communicate with him, and when they started using the skill in games, it became the earliest form of "signs" in baseball. Taylor won 21 games for the 1904 pennant-winning club.
After crushing the rest of the league with a franchise-best 106 victories to capture the National League title, the Giants decline to participate in the newly created World Series because manager John McGraw and owner John Brush consider the American League a minor league.
Satisfied with the adoption of certain postseason rules, the Giants agree to play in the World Series after successfully defending their NL championship. Christy Mathewson authors one of the greatest pitching performances in history, tallying three shutout victories in New York's four-games-to-one triumph over the Philadelphia Athletics for the Giants' first World Series title.
Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson pitched in four World Series for the Giants (1905, '11, '12 and '13). He tossed three shutouts in the 1905 Fall Classic.
The Fall Classic returned after a year's hiatus and Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson made it his showcase, leading the Giants to their first world championship with three shutout victories.
The 25-year-old right-hander, who had 32 wins in 1905 to register his third straight 30-win season, shut down the Philadelphia Athletics in New York's five-game victory. In the space of six days, he pitched three shutouts and permitted just 14 hits overall.
New York skipper John McGraw didn't have to rely solely on Mathewson to get him the title. He also had Red Ames and Joe McGinnity, who won 22 and 21 games, respectively, during the regular season, in his rotation.
Those two hurlers worked in Game 2, but McGinnity was ticketed with the defeat after surrendering three unearned runs in a 3-0 loss.
Mathewson was staked to a 2-0, first-inning lead in Game 3 and responded by blanking Philadelphia on four hits. First baseman Dan McGann was the Giants' big gun in the 9-0 romp, collecting two singles and a double while driving in four runs.
McGinnity rebounded from his Game 2 defeat to shut out Eddie Plank and Philadelphia in a classic 1-0 pitchers' duel.
But it was Mathewson who got to finish off the job he started when he blanked the Athletics, 2-0, in the fifth and deciding game.
Fred Merkle's mistake forced the Giants to replay a game with the Cubs to decide the 1908 NL pennant.
A monumental error ends up costing the Giants the pennant, as the "Merkle Boner" is the lowlight of a late-season faltering that forces a one-game playoff with the Chicago Cubs.
The New York Giants and the Chicago Cubs finished the regular season with identical 98-55-1 records and needed to play a decisive makeup game to determine the National League championship for 1908 due to a play that has been termed Merkle's Boner.
In a Sept. 23 Cubs-Giants game with runners on first and third and two out in the bottom of the ninth, New York's Al Bridwell delivered an apparent game-winning hit. When fans stormed the field, Fred Merkle, who was on first, retreated to the dugout and failed to touch second base. The Cubs eventually retrieved the ball and doubled up Merkle at second. Since order could not be restored, the game was declared a 1-1 tie.
The "Merkle Game" was replayed Oct. 8 with Chicago posting a 4-2 victory. The Cubs advanced to the World Series and defeated Detroit to become the first team to ever win consecutive world championships.
Adversity strikes early in the season, as a fire destroys the Polo Grounds, forcing the Giants to play home games at Hilltop Park until June. But New York still captures the pennant and, in a rematch of the 1905 World Series, faces Philadelphia for the championship.
Giants skipper John McGraw greets Philadelphia manager Connie Mack before the opening game of the 1911 World Series.
The "running" Giants, who established a league record with 347 stolen bases, perservered through the rebuilding of the Polo Grounds and posted 99 victories to capture the National League pennant. New York had to play its home games through early June at the park of the American League's New York Highlanders (later the Yankees) after the Polo Grounds burned to the ground in April.
However, New York's offense was limited to only four stolen bases in its six-game World Series defeat to the Philadelphia Athletics, even though the Giants donned menacing black uniforms like they had in their 1905 championship run.
1905 Series hero Christy Mathewson still anchored John McGraw's pitching staff, going 26-13 during the regular season. The Hall of Famer got New York off to a great start vs. Philadelphia in Game 1 of the Fall Classic, tossing a six-hitter in the 2-1 triumph.
The Athletics rebounded to take Games 2 and 3 with Frank "Home Run" Baker clubbing dramatic home runs in both outings.
Then the rains came. The World Series was put on hold for six days due to Mother Nature.
When the Fall Classic resumed exactly a week after Game 3 had been played, Mathewson was outdueled by Chief Bender in 4-2 decision that gave the Athletics a three-games-to-one advantage.
The Giants escaped the inevitable in Game 5 and scored a 4-3 triumph in 10 innings before getting clobbered 13-2 in the series' sixth and final game.
Following the dedication of the fully renovated Polo Grounds, the Giants roll to the second of three straight National League pennants. Even with a host of individual achievements, New York again falls to the American League in the World Series.
New York center fielder Fred Snodgrass dropped a fly ball in the 10th inning of the eighth and deciding game of the World Series that allowed Boston to post a 3-2 victory.
The Giants, bolstered by lefty Rube Marquard's modern Major League record 19-game winning streak, lived a storybook 1912 campaign. That's until the 10th inning of the final game of the World Series, when usually reliable center fielder Fred Snodgrass dropped a fly ball that opened the door for a two-run Boston rally that gave the Red Sox the title.
New York, which featured two 20-game winners in Marquard (26) and Christy Mathewson (23), posted 103 victories during the regular season and coasted to the pennant with a 10-game cushion. Larry Doyle was named the league MVP, while catcher Chief Meyers hit for the cycle and Josh Devore stole five bases in a single game.
Newcomer Jeff Tesreau, who won 17 games for the Giants and threw a no-hitter against the Phillies, got the nod in Game 1 but suffered a 4-3 defeat to the Red Sox.
Despite a seesaw contest that saw four lead changes, Game 2 was a wash as it was called due to darkness, thus making the 1912 World Series an eight-game affair.
The Giants evened the score in Game 3, posting a 2-1 victory behind Marquard before the Red Sox got the better of Tesreau again in the fourth contest, this time by a 3-1 count.
Trailing two games to one, the Giants posted 5-2 and 11-4 wins, respectively, in Games 6 and 7.
The Series came down to the 10th inning of the eighth and final game, as the Giants and Red Sox were deadlocked at 1 after nine innings. New York took a 2-1 lead in the top half of the 10th and then all hell broke loose. Boston pinch-hitter Clyde Engle opened the bottom half of the inning with a routine fly ball under which Snodgrass was camped and then dropped.
Boston eventually won the game on a sacrifice fly in the 10th and ruined New York's magical season.
Three 20-game winners lead the Giants to another NL title, but the New Yorkers again come up short in the Fall Classic. Christy Mathewson pitches a phenomenal 68 straight innings without walking a batter before issuing a free pass to the Cardinals' Ed Konetchy.
New York won its third straight National League flag but couldn't get over the hump in the World Series for the third consecutive year, falling four games to one to the Philadelphia Athletics.
After winning the pennant with a 12-game cushion, the Giants were beset by injuries during the Fall Classic. First baseman Fred Merkle was limited to 13 at-bats due to a bad leg. Center fielder Fred Snodgrass played in only two games and made three trips to the plate after suffering from a severe charley horse. Chief Meyers, the Giants' catcher, was shelved for the Series after suffering a fractured finger in practice preceeding Game 2.
The Athletics jumped out to a 1-0 series advantage after shelling Rube Marquard for five runs and eight hits in five innings for 6-4 victory.
Once again, Christy Mathewson provided New York with another fine postseason performance when he tossed a 3-0, 10-inning shutout in Game 2. He even drove in the game-winning run with his single in the 10th.
That was the last highlight for the Giants as the Athletics rolled to the world championship by posting victories in each of the last three contests.
Mathewson, pitching in what would be his final World Series, wound up with a 5-5 lifetime mark in the Fall Classic -- he was 4-0 at one point -- after splitting two decisions in 1913.
Skipper John McGraw was determined to restore his club to World Series glory. However, it would be another four years until the Giants would take the field again in the championship series.
After three disappointing seasons with one of the few highlights being a Major League-record 26-game winning streak in 1916, New York returned to the top of the National League. However, the postseason jinx continued, with the Giants losing their fourth straight World Series.
The Giants' run of bad luck continued in their fourth straight World Series defeat as they fell to the Chicago White Sox in six games.
In the sixth and deciding game, New York was in a scoreless deadlock with Chicago heading into the fourth inning. That's when the Giants' penchant for mistakes at inopportune times reared its ugly head again. This time, Chicago second baseman Eddie Collins led off the frame with a grounder to New York third baseman Heinie Zimmerman, who made a two-base throwing error on the play. Joe Jackson's ensuing fly ball was dropped by right fielder Dave Robertson, positioning White Sox at the corners.
Chicago center fielder Happy Felsch then grounded back to the pitcher, Rube Benton, who saw Collins break from third and threw to Zimmerman in an attempt to get Collins hung up. Zimmerman ran Collins toward the plate, but the runner bounded past catcher Bill Rariden to make it a Zimmerman-Collins race to the plate. The White Sox second baseman won the footrace and distracted the Giants' defense enough to allow the baserunners to advance to second and third. Both Chicago runners would score on an ensuing base hit. That's all the White Sox would need to salt away the world championship as they went on to win Game 6 by a 4-2 count.
Famed Olympian and footballer Jim Thorpe was on the 1917 Giants' club but made only one "appearance" during the World Series in Game 5. He was slated to start in right field but never took the field. The right-handed hitting Thorpe was removed for a left-handed pinch-hitter after the White Sox lifted lefty hurler Reb Russell in favor of right-hander Eddie Cicotte.
After several turbulent years, which included the dismissal of two players for throwing games and the death of Eddie Grant (the first Major Leaguer killed in World War I), the Giants capture the pennant and break their World Series losing streak in the first Subway Series.
Third baseman Frankie Frisch was one of the headliners on the 1921 club that defeated the Yankees for its first World Championship since 1905.
The Giants snapped a four-World Series losing streak when they outdueled the rival Yankees in a thrilling eight-game series. With both clubs playing their home contests at the Polo Grounds, it was the first Fall Classic to be played in its entirety at one stadium.
Trades for Irish Meusel and Johnny Rawlings proved to be the key for the Giants, who overcame a 7 1/2-game deficit in 19 days. Following a blistering speech from manager John McGraw, the Giants swept a five-game series against the front-running Pirates and took over first place two weeks later.
The National League champions were headlined by third baseman Frankie Frisch, right fielder Ross Youngs, first baseman George Kelly and left fielder Irish Meusel, while Babe Ruth and his 59 home runs was the sparkplug for the Yankees.
In the World Series, the American Leaguers jumped out to a two-games-to-none lead after posting consecutive 3-0 victories. The Giants battled back from a 2-0 second-inning deficit in Game 3 to post a 13-5 victory. John McGraw's club knotted the Fall Classic at two games apiece when it logged a 4-2 triumph in the fourth game, despite Ruth's first World Series home run.
Ruth, hobbled by knee and arm ailments, spirited the Yankees to a 3-1 victory in Game 5 when he started the go-ahead rally with a bunt base hit.
However, the Bambino couldn't continue and the Giants took advantage of the situation to run off three straight victories to give the franchise its first world championship since 1905. Art Nehf got the National Leaguers over the top with his four-hit, 1-0 victory in Game 8.
Following the Series, McGraw had the Yankees evicted from the Polo Grounds, leading to the construction of Yankee Stadium, which opened two years later.
The Giants stay hot, again winning both the National League title and the World Series, their second straight postseason triumph over the crosstown Yankees. Seven of the eight Giants starters bat better than .320 during the regular season.
The Giants, playing the second of four consecutive World Series, earned their berth by taking the National League pennant with a seven-game cushion. The season included the Giants' 10th no-hitter in the club's history (thrown by Jesse Barnes, who gave up only a single walk to break up the bid for a perfect game), as well as a single game where Ross Youngs hit for the cycle and George Kelly hit two inside-the-park home runs.
John McGraw's club brought home its second straight title after defeating its fellow Polo Grounds tenants, the Yankees, in a four-victory sweep that actually took five games to complete due to a tie.
Third baseman Heine Groh, who was acquired from Cincinnati the previous winter, led the Giants to a 3-2 triumph in the opener after logging a 3-for-3 showing. The National League entrant had been shut out by Joe Bush through seven innings before it stormed back from a two-run deficit on Irish Meusel's two-run single and Ross Youngs' sacrifice fly.
Meusel got back in the act quickly in Game 2, drilling a three-run home run off Bob Shawkey in the first inning. However, the Yankees battled back to tie the contest at 3 and it was inexplicably called because of "darkness" after the 10th inning by umpire George Hildebrand, despite at least a half-hour of daylight remaining.
Jack Scott, who went 8-2 in just 17 games for the Giants, tossed a four-hitter at the Yankees in Game 3 and led the National Leaguers to a 3-0 victory.
The Giants managed to post 4-3 and 5-3 victories in the fourth and fifth games, respectively, to advance to their second straight title. It also helped that the Giants' pitchers shut down Babe Ruth over the final three outings, holding him 0-for-9.
The 1922 world championship would prove to be the third and final one in the illustrious career of the Giants' winningest skipper, John McGraw.
Following the enclosure of the Polo Grounds, the Giants' dynasty rolls on with their third consecutive trip to the World Series. This time, the Yankees overcome their National League rivals to win their first world championship.
Casey Stengel, who would later manage the Yankees to 10 World Series, starred for the Giants in the 1923 Fall Classic.
It was an all-New York World Series for the third straight year, but there were a few changes. First, the Yankees moved into their own ballpark, Yankee Stadium. Second and most importantly, the American League entrant ended the Giants' two-year reign as world champions.
The high-flying Giants were a juggernaut capable of incredible offensive outbursts, becoming the first team in the 20th century to score in every inning of a game. George Kelly, who hit three consecutive home runs in a game, was one of three players with 100-plus RBIs, while Travis Jackson recorded eight RBIs in a single contest. Irish Meusel and Ross Youngs led the league with 125 RBIs and 121 runs scored respectively, while Frankie Frisch batted a team-best .348.
In the Fall Classic, the man who proved to be a thorn in the side of the Yankees was a Giants outfielder who would later become synonymous with the club from the Bronx -- Casey Stengel.
The 34-year-old outfielder christened World Series play in Yankee Stadium when he lined a ninth-inning Joe Bush offering into left-center field that got between the outfielders for an inside-the-park home run that broke a 4-4 draw and gave the Giants a 5-4 triumph.
The Yankees, who had not defeated the Giants in their last nine World Series meetings (eight defeats, one tie), finally broke through in Game 2 when Babe Ruth clubbed two home runs in the 4-2 victory.
When the Series returned to Yankee Stadium for Game 3, Stengel shared the stage with pitcher Art Nehf. The outfielder broke open a scoreless duel with a home run into the right-field stands. Nehf finished off the American Leaguers after allowing five singles and a double in the 1-0 win.
That was all she wrote for the Giants as the Yankees rattled off three consecutive victories to win their first world championship. The American Leaguers coasted to 8-4 and 8-1 victories in Games 4 and 5, respectively.
In the sixth and final contest, Ruth got the Yanks off to a great start with his first-inning, upper-deck blast. But the AL entrant would need a five-run eighth inning to post the 6-4 decider.
For the Giants, the year is like the past three, culminating in a trip to the World Series. While the opponent is different (with Washington supplanting the Yankees), the result from the previous season is the same: a loss to the AL champs.
Freddie Lindstrom, the youngest player in World Series history at 18, had two bad-hop singles go over his head in the seventh and deciding game at Griffith Stadium.
The Giants made their fourth straight appearance in the Fall Classic, but they faced someone other than the Yankees for the first time during that span when they squared off with the Washington Senators.
New York was the National League representative in the World Series for the eighth time in 14 years, but it had to scramble to win the flag by 1 1/2 games over Brooklyn. George Kelly again hit three home runs in one game and led the league with 136 RBIs. Frankie Frisch tied for the league lead with 121 runs scored and also contributed 22 stolen bases.
With the World Series tied at three games apiece, horrored leagacies of Merkle, Snodgrass and Zimmerman returned to longtime Giants fans. Despite making three errors in the final contest, New York was done in twice by the infield at Washington's Griffith Stadium.
New York took a 3-1 advantage into the eighth inning of that final contest. With two out and the bases loaded, Senators second baseman/manager Bucky Harris hit a grounder that skipped over the head of 18-year-old third baseman Freddie Lindstrom. Two runs scored on the bad-hop single to tie the game.
The contest remained deadlocked until the bottom of the 12th inning, when Giants catcher Hank Gowdy tripped over his mask and dropped a Muddy Ruel pop. The Washington catcher responded with a double down the third-base line. One batter later, with runners on first and second, center fielder Earl McNeely grounded to third. But once again, the ball skipped over Lindstrom's head and Ruel came around to score the winning tally.
This would prove to be the final World Series appearance for Giants manager John McGraw. Although he owned a 3-6 lifetime mark in the Fall Classic, only one other manager appeared in more series -- Casey Stengel with 10 trips.
July 10, 1934: "The Meal Ticket" Carl Hubbell (left, with fellow All-Star Vernon Gomez of the Yankees) strikes out five future Hall of Famers in a row at the All-Star Game at the Polo Grounds. He retired Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx in the first inning and started the second with strikeouts of Al Simmons and Joe Cronin.
With baseball experiencing an offensive explosion (the National League batted .303 for the season), the Giants' .319 team average sets a baseball record. Bill Terry establishes a franchise record with a .401 average, making him the last National Leaguer to hit .400 or better. He also sets a franchise record and ties for the league lead with 254 hits. The team, however, finishes five games back in third place.
John McGraw's reign as the Giants' skipper comes to an end, as the frustrated and ailing manager steps down in June. He turns the team over to first baseman Bill Terry, who would manage the team for the next 10 years.
The dead ball is introduced, and pitching propels the Giants to another world championship. "King Carl" Hubbell wins the NL MVP as the anchor of a staff that includes four pitchers with at least 13 wins.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt threw out the first pitch before the third game of the 1933 World Series.
New York, in its first full season under new manager Bill Terry, won the National League pennant on the strong pitching of "King Carl" Hubbell and Hal Schumacher. Hubbell twice pitched one half of a doubleheader shutout during the season and established the franchise record with 46 1/3 consecutive shutout innings. A year later, in the 1934 All-Star Game, he would strike out five future Hall of Famers in a row.
The Giants entered the 1933 World Series as the underdog to the high-powered offense of the Washington Senators. However, the New Yorkers tacked up a 1.53 ERA (8 ER, 47.0 IP) en route to their four-games-to-one series victory.
Hubbell and Schumacher, who had combined for 17 shutouts during the regular season, were selected to start the first two contests vs. the Senators.
Hubbell, the second winningest pitcher in Giants history, struck out 10 and didn't allow an earned run in the 4-2 victory. Outfielder Mel Ott accounted for three of New York's four runs with his two-run home run and RBI single. Schumacher followed Hubbell's lead and allowed only a solo home run in the Giants' 6-1 Game 2 victory.
The good pitching turned on the Giants in Game 3 as Washington's Earl Whitehill tossed a five-hit shutout to give the Senators a 4-0 victory.
Hubbell, who led the National League with 23 wins, carried a 1-1 game into the 10th inning when the Giants edged ahead on third baseman Travis Jackson's bunt single, a sacrifice and shortstop Blondy Ryan's single. King Carl escaped a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the bottom half of the inning with a double play to preserve New York's 2-1 victory.
Schumacher helped himself offensively in the Game 5 with his two-run single in the second inning. The 43-year-old reliever Dolph Luque took over a 3-3 game and worked the final 4 1/3 innings to get the Giants in position to win. Ott took care of the offense when he drilled a solo blast into the center-field stands at Griffith Stadium in the top of the 10th inning to give New York a 4-3 victory.
Carl Hubbell again wins the MVP Award and leads the league in wins and ERA as the Giants advance to the World Series. Mel Ott bashes a league-best 33 home runs, but the American League New Yorkers top the Giants for the championship.
MVP Carl Hubbell won the first game of the 1936 World Series, but the Yankees won the next three.
The Giants locked horns with their crosstown rivals, the Yankees, in the Fall Classic for the fifth time after winning the National League flag by a five-game margin.
The Yankees, who were without Babe Ruth but had Joe DiMaggio, captured the Series in six games to start a run that saw them win 16 of the next 27 world championships.
The National Leaguers rode the arm of Hall of Famer Carl Hubbell to their 11th World Series. The 33-year-old left-hander won his last 16 decisions of the regular season to finish with a 26-6 ledger that included a 2.31 ERA.
King Carl was on the mound for the Giants in Game 1 and got the National Leaguers a 6-1 victory after allowing just seven hits, including a third-inning home run by George Selkirk. Trailing 1-0 in the fifth inning, shortstop Dick Bartell launched a solo blast of his own before the Giants added another run in the sixth and four more in the eighth.
The National Leaguers' victory in Game 1 snapped a 12-game winning streak owned by the Yankees in World Series action.
The Yankees went on to win each of the next three games, outscoring the Giants by a cumulative 25-7 count.
Staving off elimination, the Giants scored a 5-4, 10-inning victory in Game 5. Manager Bill Terry, playing in the next-to-last game of his playing career, drove in the game-winner with a sacrifice fly.
The American Leaguers finished off the Polo Grounds tenants in Game 6 as they pounded out 17 hits en route their Series-clinching 13-5 victory.
Bill Terry drops the player part of his player-manager title and leads the Giants against the Yankees in the fifth all-New York World Series. Carl Hubbell, who won his last 16 decisions the previous year, strings together eight more wins for a record 24 straight victories.
Carl Hubbell won his first eight decisions in 1937 to run his winning streak to a Major League-record 24 games.
The two New York teams squared off once again in the Fall Classic, but the Yankees' offensive firepower proved to be too much for the Giants as the American League took home the title in a five-game series.
The Giants, who boasted two 20-game winners in Carl Hubbell and rookie Cliff Melton, only had one big bat to combat the Yankees arsenal. Mel Ott clubbed 31 home runs and drove in 95 runs.
However, that was no match for the Yankees' lineup that had five different 100-RBI men in Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Tony Lazzeri, Bill Dickey and George Selkirk.
Hubbell was once again the Giants' Game 1 starter and was coasting along with a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth. Then the Yankees produced one of their vaunted big-run innings, posting a six-run frame. The American Leaguers went on to post the 8-1 victory.
It was much of the same in Games 2 and 3 and the Yankees posted 8-1 and 5-1 triumphs, respectively.
The Giants turned the tables in Game 4 as they plated six runs in the second inning, with the big blows coming from center fielder Hank Leiber. He opened the frame with a single and scored before capping off the rally with a two-run single. The National Leaguers had Hubbell on the hill and he shut down the Yankees on six hits for the 7-3 victory.
The Yankees captured their second straight title with a 4-2 win in the fifth contest.
July 8, 1949: Monte Irvin (pictured) and Hank Thompson become the first black players to play for the Giants.
Mel Ott, who would spend his entire 22-year playing career with the Giants, takes over the managerial reins during the difficult war years.
Mel Ott's famous "foot in the bucket" stance didn't affect the player-manager's hitting prowess.
The acquisition of "The Big Cat," Johnny Mize, didn't help Mel Ott succeed in his rookie managerial campaign. The two racked up impressive offensive stats, with Mize batting .305 and leading the league with 110 RBIs and Ott tallying an NL-best 30 home runs and 118 runs scored.
Ott also drove in his 1,583rd run, establishing what was then a National League record. But 1942 was only the beginning of the lean war years for the Giants, who seemed to be hit harder by the loss of players to military service than other NL clubs. Mize, Harry Danning, Babe Young and Willard Marshall all were called to duty in 1943, and the Giants lost 98 games that year and 87 in 1944.
Despite the on-field struggles, the team did its part to support the war effort, wearing red, white and blue uniforms and staging victory rallies at the Polo Grounds, as well as giving up night games in observance of the wartime curfew and raising millions of dollars selling war bonds.
After holding Spring Training in New Jersey to help conserve resources for the war effort, the Giants finish a miserable 49 1/2 games out. Carl Hubbell wraps up his Hall of Fame career with 253 wins.
The first post-war season should be bright for the Giants, but the rogue Mexican League lures away many of the top New York players. The exodus hits the Giants harder than most NL squads, and they lose 93 games. Mel Ott hits his 511th and final home run.
In a stunning July development, hated Dodgers manager Leo Durocher replaces Mel Ott as manager of the Giants and starts the rebuilding process.
Leo Durocher crossed town to lead the Giants after being fired by the Dodgers.
In 1946, Dodgers manager Leo Durocher had declared that "nice guys" -- like Giants skipper Mel Ott -- "finish last." But when Durocher's own squad fell into last place in July 1948 and Ott was dismissed by Horace Stoneham, one of the most stunning developments in baseball history took place: Leo the Lip was hired to manage the Giants.
Although the Giants were a home run machine, with seven regulars smacking at least 10 in '48, Durocher felt wholesale changes were necessary. Over the next few years, he would shape a team built on speed and aggressive hitting instead of power.
The Giants' revitalization under Durocher comes to fruition in a storybook finish. After trailing the Dodgers by 13 1/2 games on Aug. 11, the Giants end up forcing a three-game playoff, culminated by the most famous home run in history.
Bobby Thomson is mobbed by his Giants teammates after his three-run homer secured the pennant.
After trailing the Dodgers by 13 1/2 games on Aug. 11, manager Leo Durocher's troops rattled off 16 straight victories and won 37 of their final 44 regular-season contests to force a tie with Brooklyn.
New York won the first game and Brooklyn captured the second before they met for a decisive contest at the Polo Grounds.
With the Giants trailing 4-2 with one out and two on in the bottom of the ninth, Dodgers pitcher Don Newcombe removed himself from the game in favor of reliever Ralph Branca. Thomson drilled an 0-1 pitch to left field and jumped onto home plate to put an exclamation on "The Miracle of Coogan's Bluff," as called by legendary Giants announcer Russ Hodges.
"Brooklyn leads it, 4-2. Hartung down the line at third, not taking any chances. Lockman without too big of a lead at second, but he'll be running like the wind if Thomson hits one. Branca throws. There's a long drive. It's gonna be, I believe -- The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! Bobby Thomson hits into the lower deck of the left-field stands! The Giants win the pennant! And they're going crazy! They're going crazy! Oh-ho!"
The momentum seemed to carry over to the next day for the opener of the World Series as Monte Irvin stole home in the first inning to register the first swipe of home since the Yankees' Bob Meusel did it in 1928. The Giants' left fielder finished the contest 4-for-5 and spearheaded a 5-1 victory.
Irvin would once again lead the National Leaguers' offense in Game 2, but his three hits weren't enough to overcome the Yankees in a 3-1 defeat.
Shortstop Eddie Stanky inspired a five-run, fifth-inning rally in Game 3 when he kicked the ball out of Phil Rizzuto's glove on a failed stolen-base attempt and scrambled to third. The Giants would move on to a 6-2 triumph at the Polo Grounds.
Despite holding a two-games-to-one Series lead, the Giants couldn't finish off the Yankees as the American Leaguers ran off three straight victories to claim the title.
1951 also marked the beginning of a legendary career, as Willie Mays made his debut. He was called up from the minors batting .477 but went 0-for-12 to start his inaugural Major League season. He then crushed a Warren Spahn pitch completely out of the Polo Grounds, the first of 20 longballs he would stroke in his Rookie of the Year campaign.
After a season without Monte Irvin (who broke his leg in a 1952 preseason games) and two campaigns without Willie Mays (who entered the Army), the Giants are back at full strength and capture the world championship.
Not only did Willie Mays make a spectacular catch on Vic Wertz's drive, he spun and threw the ball back so quickly that the runners could not advance.
Willie Mays got the National League champion Giants off to a great start in the 1954 World Series when he made perhaps the greatest defensive play in baseball history.
With New York and Cleveland tied, 2-2, in the eighth inning of Game 1 at the Polo Grounds and two Indians runners on base, the Hall of Fame center fielder made an over-the-shoulder catch of a 460-foot smash off the bat of the Indians' Vic Wertz.
The Giants went on to win, 5-2, when pinch-hitter Dusty Rhodes hit a three-run, 10th-inning home run off Indians starter Bob Lemon. Ironically, the game-winning clout went only 260 feet.
The Giants would go on to sweep the Indians in four games to register their last world championship in an upset over the highly touted American League champs, winners of 111 games.
Rhodes, who hit .341 in part-time duty and as a pinch-hitter deluxe during the regular season, also delivered the game-winning hits in both Games 2 and 3. However, his services weren't needed in the fourth and final contest as New York jumped out to a 7-0 advantage and coasted to the 7-4 championship-clinching victory.
New York was the surprise National League champion. After finishing fifth in 1953, the Giants were led by Mays, who won the NL batting title with a .345 mark that included 41 home runs and 110 RBI. The center fielder, named Most Valuable Player and The Sporting News' Player of the Year, had returned to the Giants after missing two campaigns due to military service.
Another "newcomer" Johnny Antonelli, who was acquired from Milwaukee in exchange for Bobby Thomson in the offseason, won 21 games and recorded a league-best 2.29 ERA to help New York to the NL flag.
Following two disappointing seasons and increasing dissatisfaction with his tenure in New York, owner Horace Stoneham considers moving his club to Minnesota before being convinced to join the rival Dodgers in a historic move to the West Coast.
Despite two straight losing seasons, manager Bill Rigney came West to lead the Giants in San Francisco.
The 1955 Giants slipped to third place despite 51 homers from Willie Mays and down to sixth in '56 under new manager Bill Rigney. With the Polo Grounds slated to be demolished and replaced by a housing development, Giants owner Horace Stoneham began looking for a site to which to relocate. Giants attendance had fallen from 1.2 million in 1954 to less than 633,000 in 1956.
In the meantime, San Francisco mayor George Christopher had designs on luring a Major League Baseball team to his city. He heard about Stoneham's unhappiness and Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley's threats to move, and through conversations with O'Malley and the mayor of Los Angeles, Christopher discovered the Dodgers were considering a move to L.A.
O'Malley and Christopher convinced Stoneham that the two clubs should move West together, and on Aug. 19, 1957, Stoneham announced that the Giants would be moving to the Bay Area for the 1958 season.
When asked how he felt about taking the Giants away from New York's children, Stoneham replied, "I feel bad about the kids, but I haven't seen many of their fathers lately."
San Francisco greets its new baseball team with a huge parade and a raucous opener at cozy Seals Stadium.
The Dodgers' Gino Cimoli awaits the first pitch in San Francisco Giants history from Ruben Gomez.
Fans packed Seals Stadium from the first day of big league ball on the West Coast. On April 15, in that historic opener, Ruben Gomez shut out the Dodgers, 8-0, and a rookie first baseman from Puerto Rico hit a home run in his second Major League at-bat.
Orlando Cepeda, "the Baby Bull," went on to win Rookie of the Year honors and overshadowed the astounding Willie Mays, whom many fans viewed as New York's star, not their own.
Mays still turned in a brilliant season, batting a career-best .347 and hitting 29 homers. But without the spacious outfield of the Polo Grounds, the "Say Hey Kid" had few chances to show off the unbelievable catches for which he had been known. Fans voted Cepeda as team MVP over Mays.
Although the Giants finished 12 games out in third place, they still tallied a respectable 80-74 record. More importantly, they beat the transplanted Dodgers 16 out of 22 times, keeping alive a 75-year-old rivalry.
Future Hall of Famer Willie McCovey goes 4-for-4 in his Major League debut en route to Rookie of the Year honors. Sam Jones and Mike McCormick both toss rain-shortened no-hitters.
Sept. 15, 1963:
Jesus, Matty and Felipe Alou comprise the first all-brother outfield in Major League history.
Another move -- the last one for 40 years -- takes place, as the Giants relocate to what is known at the time as their new gem of a stadium, Candlestick Park.
Vice President Richard Nixon was on hand for the opening of Candlestick Park.
For the first two years of their tenure in the City by the Bay, the Giants would occupy Seals Stadium, a former minor league ballpark.
Owner Horace Stoneham left New York primarily because the Polo Grounds had inadequate parking and attendance was suffering. But Seals Stadium also lacked parking, so it would only serve as a temporary residence. The city of San Francisco promised to build the Giants a new stadium, and a piece of land on Candlestick Point was chosen as the site for the ballpark.
On April 12, 1960, the Giants first took the field at Candlestick Park. On hand to christen the new stadium were Vice President Richard Nixon, who threw out the first pitch, and Hall of Famer Ty Cobb.
Nixon declared it "the finest ballpark in America," but like most launches, the opening wasn't a perfectly smooth endeavor.
"[Opening Day] was exciting because we had a brand-new ballpark, but it was not without its problems -- wind being one of them," said Mike McCormick, who pitched the second game at Candlestick Park. "I think people were surprised how windy it was.
"There were a lot of design problems -- things were leaking, things weren't working, pipes that weren't right," McCormick said. "Some of the bathrooms didn't work. They had put thermal heat in the concrete under box seats and that didn't work."
The toilet in the Giants' dugout had no door, but one was quickly added once it was noted that fans in some box seats could see into the dugout. In the third inning, the umpires protested the placement of the new park's foul poles, which they claimed were completely in fair territory.
But the flaws could hardly dampen the festive atmosphere that permeated the day. The Giants did their part by defeating the St. Louis Cardinals, 3-1, behind a three-hitter from Giants starter "Sad" Sam Jones.
The Cardinals' Bill White (who later became president of the National League) had the honor of getting the first hit at Candlestick Park, but fittingly, the first Giants player to get a hit was homegrown star Orlando Cepeda. He smacked a two-run triple in the bottom of the first inning.
On that first sunny day, spirits were high despite the wind, but relief pitcher Stu Miller noted the honeymoon was short-lived.
"Everybody loved Seals Stadium. It was a nice, cozy ballpark," recalled Miller. "But here comes the new ballpark. We thought, 'Oh man!' -- but that didn't last long.
"We said, 'Wait a minute, it's a little windy here,'" Miller said with a chuckle. "We thought maybe the first windy day was an aberration, but after a week, we said, 'It looks like it's going to be that way all the time!'"
Willie Mays continued to be an offensive star despite the winds, cracking 29 homers and driving in 103 runs with a .319 average. Mays, Cepeda and Willie McCovey were joined by another future Hall of Famer when Juan Marichal made his debut midseason with a one-hit shutout against the Phillies.
Willie Mays smacks four home runs in one game at Milwaukee's County Stadium. He is also chosen to start in the outfield for the All-Star Game, held at San Francisco's new ballpark.
Stu Miller says the tale of him being gusted off the mound is overblown.
Just one year after opening their new ballpark at Candlestick Point, the Giants played host to the Midsummer Classic, the first All-Star Game of 1961.
It was the third year of a four-year experiment in which Major League Baseball played two All-Star games each season. The second game that year was held three weeks later in Boston.
The National League All-Stars had taken both games in 1960, and with Milwaukee's Warren Spahn taking the hill to start the '61 game, it looked like the Nationals might continue their dominance. For the first five innings, Spahn and the Reds' Bob Purkey held the American League stars hitless and didn't walk anyone.
Meanwhile, National League batters had put two runs on the board. The American League broke through in the sixth when Minnesota's Harmon Killebrew tagged the Giants' Mike McCormick with the only hit he would give up -- a solo home run, the Americans' first hit of the game.
When the Cubs' George Altman homered in the eighth to put the National League on top by a score of 3-1 (and with the American League having mustered only one hit), it looked like the game was just about over.
The American League managed to scratch out a run in the ninth to narrow the score to 3-2. With two men on base, the Giants' Stu Miller became a legendary part of Candlestick lore.
"The flag was straight down. But around the seventh inning, the flag started to flutter. By the eighth inning, it was blowing straight out. It turned out to be the best day and the worst day. I had never seen the wind blow that hard.
"By the time I got in there, it had gotten worse. I came in and anchored myself. There was a man on first and second with one out. Before I threw a pitch, I went into a stretch position and then there was an extra gust of wind and I just wavered a bit," Miller said.
No balk was called until the American League players started yelling at the umpires for a call. So Miller threw a slow curve to batter Rocky Colavito, who swung and missed. The American League players hollered some more and the umps convened to make the balk call, advancing the two runners.
"I don't think any of the fans knew what happened. They were probably wondering why the hell did those runners move up," Miller said. "Anyhow, the next day in the papers the headline says, 'Miller Blown Off Mound.'
"I wonder to this day, why didn't the first-base umpire or the third-base umpire, who was looking right at me, see me do that," Miller said. "I didn't move a helluva lot. The papers made it sound like I was pinned against the center-field fence."
The wind then supposedly blew a grounder out of the reach of the Cardinals' Ken Boyer at third base, allowing the tying run to score on the error.
In the 10th, a Boyer error again almost cost the National League the game. His throw to first flew into the outfield, and the go-ahead run scored from first.
But in the bottom of the inning, knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm of Baltimore (a former Giant) gave up hits to Hank Aaron and Willie Mays to tie the score. Mays then scored the winning run on Roberto Clemente's single, ending the game in a 5-4 National League victory.
Skipper Alvin Dark leads perhaps the greatest team in San Francisco Giants history to its first World Series by the Bay. The team again downs the Dodgers in a three-game playoff and nearly pulls out the championship against the Yankees.
Felipe Alou (right) welcomes Willie Mays home after the slugger hit a homer against the Dodgers in a 1962 playoff.
In some ways, the 1962 World Series was anticlimactic compared to the thrilling pennant race with the Los Angeles Dodgers that preceded it. The Giants staged a remarkable comeback after being four games out of first place with seven games remaining to pull into a tie with the Dodgers. With identical records of 101-61, the rivals met in a best-of-three playoff series.
Billy Pierce blanked the Dodgers in Game 1 while Willie Mays drilled two clouts to provide an 8-0 romp at Candlestick. Los Angeles returned home for the second game and plated seven runs in the sixth and won 8-7.
The Giants found themselves trailing 4-2 in the top of the ninth in Game 3. Third baseman Jim Davenport drew a bases-loaded walk to cap a four-run rally that gave San Francisco a 6-4 victory in the decisive game at Los Angeles, earning a ticket to the World Series against the Yankees.
But the team's celebration was kept to a minimum since they had to take a midnight flight from Los Angeles to San Francisco and prepare for Game 1 of the World Series the following day at Candlestick Park.
"We had scrambled so much and then we got into the playoff series with the Dodgers. Then we took two out of three games from the Dodgers," said Davenport. "It did, in a way, take a lot of excitement away from the World Series."
San Francisco fans, however, were exuberant, anxious to see the home team appear in its first World Series. And what a treat they got. In a nail-biting series, the two teams traded victories, neither of them winning two in a row.
"The '62 World Series was so exciting. I went crazy," said Gloria McKay, who worked as an usherette at Candlestick Park since 1960. "I was so excited that I went out and bought a pair of shoes!"
The Yankees jumped out in front first, winning, 6-2, behind lefty Whitey Ford. Yankees third baseman Clete Boyer knocked in a go-ahead solo home run in the seventh inning to break a 2-2 tie.
Giants right-hander Jack Sanford roared back in the second game, tossing a three-hitter and shutting down the Yankees, 2-0. Second baseman Chuck Hiller scored the Giants' first run in the first inning, while Willie McCovey blasted a solo homer in the seventh to lock up the game.
In Game 3, Giants starter Billy Pierce and the Yanks' Bill Stafford pitched shutout ball for six innings at Yankee Stadium. In the end, the Bronx Bombers would prevail, breaking the stalemate with three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Giants made a ninth-inning bid by scoring two on Mays' double and Ed Bailey's two-run dinger, but couldn't hold on. They lost 3-2.
The Giants staged another pitching gem as Juan Marichal tossed four innings of scoreless ball against Ford. Unfortunately, the Dominican Dandy left the game after getting hit on the index finger while bunting. The injury sidelined him for the rest of the series.
"I wish I could have finished the game and had the chance to pitch a second game," said a disappointed Marichal. "But that happened and that was it."
The Giants did, however, go on to win the game, 7-3, behind Hiller's grand slam off Yankees right-hander Jim Coates.
In Game 5, the Yankees' Ralph Terry and Sanford dueled to a 2-2 tie after seven innings until the Yanks' Tom Tresh's three-run homer cracked the game open in the eighth. The Giants' 5-3 loss gave the Yankees a one-game advantage and sent the Series back to the 'Stick for Game 6.
Four rain-drenched days put the Series on hold. Desperate to play ball, team officials instructed two helicopters to hover five feet above the wet field. Their hope was that the choppers' powerful propellers would create enough wind to blow dry the soggy surface.
"There was a lot of water settled on the field. They thought, 'If we come in with the helicopters, we could move that water to make it drain better,'" said pitcher Mike McCormick, who didn't play in the Series due to shoulder problems. "It was still bad. I think what it really did was to show the fans and the public that they were doing everything they could to play the game."
Once play got underway, the Giants didn't disappoint. They evened the Series at three-all with a 5-2 victory behind Orlando Cepeda, who went 3-for-4 with two RBIs.
Then came the final game -- Game 7. Close to 44,000 fans watched Terry and Sanford take part in an awesome pitching duel. The Yankees' only run scored on Tony Kubek's double-play grounder in the fifth inning. But the Giants threatened to score -- and win -- in the bottom of the ninth inning with a man on second and third with two out and slugger McCovey at the plate.
"I was hoping they would walk him and get to me," said Cepeda, who was on deck.
Terry decided to throw to McCovey. The rest is history. A loud crack from McCovey's bat brought the Giants to their feet, anticipating victory. Terry threw down his glove in disgust. It wasn't until he turned around to see that Bobby Richardson had snagged the hard liner for the final out of the game did he know that the exciting series had come to an end -- in the Yankees' favor.
The Giants, meanwhile, were shocked.
"It happened so quick. It was over in such a split second," Davenport said. "You always think back, 'If the ball had been that much further, we'd have had a championship ring on our fingers.'"
Juan Marichal establishes himself as one of the premier pitchers of all time with a 25-win season, including two of the greatest games ever pitched at Candlestick Park.
Despite being a dominant pitcher throughout the '60s, Juan Marichal never won the Cy Young Award.
On June 15, Juan Marichal etched his name in the history books by pitching the only no-hitter of his career. Not only was he the first player to spin a no-no in San Francisco, the "Dominican Dandy" was the first Latin player to do so in the Major Leagues.
It had been more than 34 years since the last Giants no-hitter when Marichal took the mound against the Houston Colt .45s that day. He had already established himself as capable of pitching gems; his debut three years earlier had been a one-hit, 12-strikeout shutout.
Marichal needed only 89 pitches to finish off Houston, but his teammates were finding it equally difficult to break through on the scoreboard. The game was scoreless into the eighth inning, when Jim Davenport and Chuck Hiller provided the game's lone run with a pair of doubles.
The 1-0 victory was but one highlight of a stellar season for Marichal, who finished with a record of 25-8, a 2.41 ERA and 248 strikeouts. Two weeks after his no-hitter, he would engage in -- and win -- an epic 16-inning pitching duel with the Milwaukee Braves' Warren Spahn.
You couldn't ask for a better faceoff than the one in which Marichal and Spahn battled on July 2 at Candlestick Park. The two All-Star hurlers dazzled 15,921 fans with their fine display of pitching prowess. They matched each other pitch for pitch for 16 scoreless innings, neither one conceding to a reliever.
The standoff was just another example of the amazing arms these two pitchers had. Marichal entered the game with an eight-game win streak and a 12-3 record. He had thrown a no-hitter the previous month. Meanwhile, Spahn, who was then 42 years old, showed no signs of old age; he entered the game with an 11-3 record and five straight victories.
Inning after inning, the two great pitchers dominated each other's lineup. After nine innings, Milwaukee manager Bobby Bragen asked Spahn to come out of the game. Spahn refused. On the other side of the field, Giants manager Alvin Dark also suggested that Marichal give way to the bullpen. Marichal, too, refused.
"A 42-year-old man is still pitching," the 25-year-old Marichal reportedly told Dark. "I can't come out."
As the innings went by, "you couldn't help but get into the game. ... We knew that this was something special," said first baseman Orlando Cepeda, who went 2-for-6 that night. "I'll never forget that game."
The long, cold night game finally came to an end five hours later at 12:31 a.m. when slugger Willie Mays broke up the shutout with a one-out, solo home run in the bottom of the 16th inning.
"It was a long night; we were glad to go home," Cepeda said.
In the end, both pitchers posted stellar numbers: Marichal tossed 16 innings, gave up eight hits and four walks and fanned 11; Spahn surrendered nine hits and one walk and struck out two. Unfortunately for Spahn, that ninth hit was the one that handed the game to the Giants.
The Giants continue to string together stellar seasons (their second of four in a row with at least 90 wins) only to fall short by two games. Willie Mays wins his second MVP Award.
Lefty Mike McCormick wins the franchise's only Cy Young Award as well as Comeback Player of the Year. Despite Willie McCovey's 31 homers (including three grand slams) and 91 wins, the Giants finish 10 1/2 games behind the remarkable St. Louis Cardinals led by former Giant and NL MVP Orlando Cepeda.
While the team again settles for a runner-up finish, several Giants enjoy dramatic personal achievement, including Gaylord Perry's no-hitter, Juan Marichal's 26 wins and Bobby Bonds' brilliant debut.
With Juan Marichal leading the way with 26 wins and a 2.43 ERA, the Giants' pitching staff established a San Francisco record with a team 2.71 ERA. Bob Bolin, the fifth starter, won 10 games and posted the lowest ERA in San Francisco history at 1.98.
Gaylord Perry is one of five San Francisco Giants in the Hall of Fame.
Five years after Marichal had tossed a no-hitter, Gaylord Perry found himself in a defensive struggle against the St. Louis Cardinals. In the first inning, the Giants' Ron Hunt smacked a solo home run off the Cards' legendary Bob Gibson, but San Francisco was held scoreless after that.
Thankfully, Perry picked that day -- Sept. 17, 1968 -- to toss his only no-hitter. It was the 14th victory of Perry's 16-win season, in which he had a 2.44 ERA and pitched 19 complete games.
The euphoria of his accomplishment didn't last long, however. The Cardinals' Ray Washburn stunned the Giants the very next day by pitching a no-hitter of his own.
Offensively, Willie McCovey led the league with 36 home runs and 105 RBIs, and outfielder Bobby Bonds dazzled in his debut, cracking a grand slam for his first-ever hit (fittingly, against the Los Angeles Dodgers). No player had done that in 70 years.
But for the fourth year in a row, the Giants finished in second place, causing manager Herman Franks to retire (as he had promised he would do if the team failed to win the pennant).
Willie McCovey wins the MVP Award, leading the league in home runs, RBIs and slugging percentage, but the Giants finish second for the fifth year in a row.
Sept. 29, 1976:
John "The Count" Montefusco pitches a no-hitter, shutting down the Braves in Atlanta for one of his 16 victories that season.
The "Year of the Fox" produces the Giants' first division title despite having neither a .300 hitter nor a 20-game winner.
Bobby Bonds hit 33 home runs and committed only two errors in 1971.
1971 was the "Year of the Fox." That was the year manager Charlie Fox, who had replaced the fired Clyde King 1 1/2 months into the 1970 season, led a team made up of aging stars and rising youngsters to a Western Division title.
The Giants got off to a fast start, winning 18 of their first 23 games. The energy and raw talents of youngsters like outfielder Bobby Bonds and shortstop Chris Speier melded nicely with the experience and wisdom of veterans Juan Marichal, Willie McCovey and Willie Mays. Bonds smashed 33 home runs and 102 RBIs. Speier played solid defense, creating a formidable double-play duo with second baseman Tito Fuentes. Meanwhile, pitching ace Marichal continued his domination over batters, notching 18 wins. At age 40 and showing no signs of age, Mays slugged four home runs in his first four games. His production didn't let up as he went on to set a National League career record for runs scored in June.
This winning combination kept the team in first place for almost the entire season; the Giants spent only three days in second place. Despite such steady play, the team began to wear down near the end of the season. They saw their nine-game lead on Sept. 4 dwindle to one game by Sept. 25. It wasn't until the final game of the season that the Giants clinched the NL West title on Marichal's 5-1 gem over the San Diego Padres.
The Giants salivated at the chance to face the Pittsburgh Pirates in the best-of-five championship series. They had beaten the Pirates nine times out of 12 and seemed likely candidates to win the pennant.
"We were happy we were going to play them," McCovey said. "They were fearing us."
The Giants jumped out of the gate full steam ahead. In the series opener at the 'Stick, the home team beat the Pirates, 5-4, in front of 40,977 fans. McCovey and Fuentes fueled the attack, ripping two-run homers in the fifth inning.
But the team wouldn't fare so well in the next three games. In the second game, Pirates first baseman Bob Robertson hit three home runs, leading Pittsburgh to a 9-4 win. The Bucs' win snapped a six-game losing streak at Candlestick Park.
Despite a beautifully pitched four-hitter by Marichal in Game 3, the Pirates won again, 2-1, at Three Rivers Stadium.
Pittsburgh earned their ticket to the World Series by taking Game 4, 9-5, and eliminating the Giants. McCovey's three-run homer and four RBIs weren't enough to pull out a victory.
"It just goes to show you that anything can happen in the playoffs," McCovey said.
Although the team finishes 11 games out of first place, three players win major honors. Bobby Bonds, who misses becoming baseball's first 40-40 man by one home run, is named The Sporting News' Player of the Year, while southpaw Ron "Bear" Bryant is named Pitcher of the Year after winning 24 games, the most ever by a San Francisco lefty. Outfielder Gary Matthews wins Rookie of the Year honors as one of three Giants to hit .300 or better.
After bidding farewell to stars Willie McCovey and Juan Marichal and mired in a string of sub-.500 seasons, the Giants enjoy two refreshing pitching performances, John Montefusco's colorful Rookie of the Year performance and Ed Halicki's no-hitter.
As the dejected New York Mets leave the field, the scoreboard proclaims Ed Halicki's feat.
Only three times did Giants fans watch the home team's pitcher throw a no-hitter at Candlestick Park. After two in the '60s, the third -- and most recent -- home no-hitter was spun by Ed Halicki in 1975.
On Aug. 24, the Giants squared off against the New York Mets in a doubleheader. After the Mets nabbed the opener by the score of 9-5 on the strength of a Dave Kingman grand slam off "Gentleman" Jim Barr, Halicki took the mound for Game 2 of the twin bill.
Willie Montanez, obtained earlier in the season from the Phillies for Garry Maddox, got the Giants on the board in the first inning with a two-run single. It would be all the 6-foot-7 Halicki would need.
In his first full season in the Majors, the right-hander dominated the New Yorkers in front of 24,132 fans, striking out 10 on his way to the 6-0 victory. It was the first no-hitter thrown in the National League in over two years.
Halicki ended the '75 season with a 9-13 record and a 3.49 ERA. He pitched in 24 games, striking out 153 batters. His no-hitter stood out in an otherwise ordinary season, in which the Giants finished at 80-81, 27 1/2 games out of first place, good for third in the NL West.
Only one other Giants pitcher has thrown a no-hitter since Halicki's gem -- John Montefusco in 1976 in Atlanta.
Bob Lurie saves the Giants from a possible move to Toronto by heading a group that buys the team and keeps it in San Francisco.
Willie McCovey returns to the Giants and wins the Comeback Player of the Year Award with a team-best 28 home runs at the age of 39.
Aug. 10, 1989: Dave Dravecky completes a miraculous recovery from surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his pitching arm and defeats the Reds in front of a teary-eyed Candlestick Park crowd. But in his next start, his arm snaps while delivering a pitch and later breaks again when he bumps into a teammate during the NLCS victory celebration. He retired after the season, and two years later, his arm was amputated.
Frank Robinson becomes the first black manager in the National League when he is named to head the Giants.
A 96-loss season is brightened somewhat by the 1984 All-Star Game at Candlestick Park, which includes Chili Davis and Bob Brenly as Giants representatives. Crazy Crab makes his one-year appearance as the Giants' "anti-mascot."
Fans took the idea of a mascot you love to hate to an extreme.
The '70s may have brought us bell bottoms and disco, but they also saw the beginnings of the mascot craze in professional baseball. In 1984, the Giants decided to try their hand at the mascot game, but with their own special twist: They created an "anti-mascot."
The creature they unleashed was the now-legendary (and infamous) Crazy Crab. The idea was to poke fun at traditional mascots, and television commercials depicted manager Frank Robinson having to be restrained from attacking the poor crustacean. Fans were encouraged to boo and hiss the phony mascot, who was portrayed by actor Wayne Doba.
The prodding worked all too well. With a 96-loss season soothing no souls, Crazy Crab became the object of hatred and abuse. The crowd would hurl all sorts of things at the beast, both verbally and literally, and even players got into the act, dumping drinks and other things into the suit.
Broadcasters Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper, both players during the year of Crazy Crab, were asked in an online chat if they ever had trouble with him. Their response: "No, we used to drill him with the resin bag daily, so he was scared of us."
Catcher Steve Nicosia once donned the suit while he trashed the volatile Jeffrey Leonard's locker. While playing the Crab, Doba was even tackled by a San Diego Padres player and ended up filing a lawsuit against the team for back injuries.
On the final day of the 1984 season, as he stood on the field in the suit before the game, Doba reportedly told a Giants executive, "I hope there's nobody up there with a gun."
The nightmare for the bug-eyed object of foam derision ended after just one season. The Giants would not attempt another mascot, "anti" or real, until 1997, when Lou Seal made his cautious debut. But no mascot will likely ever again as sharply define the term "love-hate" as the vaunted Crazy Crab.
Bad goes to worst as the Giants falter to the only 100-loss season in their history. Reliever Scott Garrelts leads the staff with a measly nine wins, and the team bats a league-worst .233.
Manager Roger Craig and GM Al Rosen begin a remarkable turnaround with their crew of "You Gotta Like These Kids" players. Rookies Will Clark and Robby Thompson jump over the Triple-A level to earn starting jobs, and Clark cracks a home run off Nolan Ryan in his first big league at-bat. Pitcher Mike Krukow wins 20 games and earns an All-Star bid.
Just two years after a wretched 100-loss season, the Giants win the division thanks to late-season pitching acquistions by Al Rosen.
Jeffrey Leonard became the first player on a losing team to capture the NLCS MVP honor, but the Giants fell in seven games to the Cardinals.
After an amazing 1986 season, in which manager Roger Craig transformed the Giants from a 100-loss club into the "Humm Baby" crew with an 83-79 record, good things were expected in 1987.
But after leading or being near the top of the division for the first two months of the season, the Giants began to slide. When they fell a season-high 5 1/2 games behind division leader Cincinnati on the Fourth of July, general manager Al Rosen decided to shake things up and engineered a blockbuster trade, acquiring Kevin Mitchell, Dave Dravecky and Craig Lefferts from the Padres.
Two more trades in the next few weeks added pitchers Rick Reuschel and Don Robinson, and San Francisco regained the division lead for good in mid-August. They would win the West by six games with a 90-72 record and head into the National League Championship Series to face the St. Louis Cardinals.
In late July, the Giants had swept the Cardinals in a four-game series, so hopes were high as the teams opened play in St. Louis. But Cardinals pitcher Greg Mathews allowed only four hits and struck out seven in 7 1/3 innings while driving in two runs to lead his club to a 5-3 victory in Game 1.
Game 2 saw Giants slugger Jeffrey Leonard crack his second homer in as many games as part of a 3-for-4 day. Will Clark added a home run of his own, and Dravecky pitched a sparkling two-hit shutout to even the series at a game apiece.
When the series shifted to San Francisco for Game 3, the Giants jumped out to an early 4-0 lead. But the Cards battled back with a two-run Jim Lindeman homer in the sixth off starter Atlee Hammaker, and an inning later, they scored four more off Hammaker and reliever Robinson. San Francisco got within one by adding a run in the bottom of the ninth, but St. Louis held on to capture a 2-1 series lead.
The next two games, both at Candlestick Park, put the Giants on the verge of their first World Series berth in 25 years. Three home runs -- including Leonard's fourth consecutive game with a dinger, an LCS record -- and Mike Krukow's complete-game two-hitter gave the Giants a 4-2 victory in Game 4. In Game 5, Leonard didn't homer but Mitchell did, and Joe Price pitched five innings of one-hit ball in relief of Reuschel to collect the 6-3 win.
But a four-run fourth inning in Game 5 would be the last time the Giants would score in the series. Despite another spectacular pitching performance from Dravecky, who struck out eight while allowing only five hits and a single Cardinals run in six innings, the Giants fell in Game 6, 1-0.
They were blanked again in Game 7 (setting a dubious NLCS record with 22 straight innings of scoreless baseball). The Cards' Danny Cox pitched a complete game, and losing pitcher Hammaker gave up four in the second inning. The Giants emptied the bullpen, using six more pitchers in the game, but without any offense, the cause was hopeless. The Cardinals clinched the pennant with a 6-0 drubbing of the Giants at Busch Stadium.
Leonard, whose "one-flap-down" home trot was the story of the series, received the unusual, but somewhat hollow, honor of being named MVP in the losing cause. The Cardinals would later fall to the Twins in the 1987 World Series in seven games.
"Twenty-seven years of waiting come to an end" when San Francisco heads for its first World Series in nearly three decades. But forces of nature put a damper on the Bay Bridge Series, and San Francisco is swept away.
July 31, 1994: The Giants become the first professional sports team to host an AIDS benefit game, "Until There's a Cure" Day. The event has been repeated every year since, raising nearly a half-million dollars for AIDS education, care and service organizations and international AIDS research.
Owner Bob Lurie, after failing in numerous attempts to get a downtown ballpark built, agrees to sell the team to a group that would relocate the franchise to the Tampa-St. Petersburg area. But a local investment group, led by Peter Magowan, saves the franchise by buying the team instead. Before the deal is even officially done, Magowan's group attracts superstar Barry Bonds to the squad.
Matt Williams is on pace to break Roger Maris' record of 61 home runs, and the Giants are challenging for first place when the players' strike wipes out the rest of the season. Rod Beck, who had saved a franchise-record 48 games the previous year, is halted at 28-for-28 in save chances.
Barry Bonds joins two exclusive clubs in an otherwise miserable 94-loss season.
Barry Bonds is one of only three players to achieve 40 home runs and 40 stolen bases in one season.
The '90s cannot be mentioned without Barry Bonds. As his nine All-Star selections, eight Rawlings Gold Glove awards and three MVP trophies during that decade attest, this future Hall of Famer's performance at the plate and in the field ranked among baseball's elite. But it was his combination of raw speed and power that made him a threat at the plate and on the basepaths. Named "Player of the Decade" by The Sporting News, Bonds struck fear in pitchers and catchers alike.
On April 27, 1996, Bonds became the fourth member of the prestigious 300-300 Club, launching his 300th and 301st home runs off Florida Marlins starter John Burkett en route to a 6-3 win at Candlestick Park. With the blasts, Bonds became one of only four players in Major League history to hit more than 300 home runs and steal more than 300 bases. (He swiped his 300th base two years prior.) Other members of this exclusive club include: Willie Mays (660 HR, 338 SB), Andre Dawson (436 HR, 314 SB) and his late father, Bobby Bonds (332 HR, 461 SB).
That year, Bonds also became only the second player to join the 40-40 Club (Jose Canseco was the other member; they have since been joined by Alex Rodriguez), knocking in 42 homers and nabbing 40 bases. All told, Bonds has had five seasons with 30 or more round-trippers and stolen bases.
But Bonds didn't stop there. On Aug. 23, 1998, he became the founding member of the 400-400 Club, clubbing his 400th dinger off Florida's Kirt Ojala. The solo shot made him the first player to reach 400 home runs and 400 stolen bases. He had stolen base No. 400 on July 26, 1997, against the Pittsburgh Pirates in front of the home crowd at the 'Stick.
After tallying his 500th career homer on April 17, 2001, Bonds established the 500-500 Club when he swiped his 500th base on June 23, 2003.
After two straight last-place finishes, GM Brian Sabean faces vilification by trading fan favorite Matt Williams, forcing him to declare "I am not an idiot" to the press. The "Team of Dustiny" proves him right by winning the division nine days after Brian Johnson's now-legendary 12th-inning homer to beat the Dodgers.
Brian Johnson's homer capped off a remarkable two days of baseball in San Francisco.
A second straight last-place finish in '96, this time with a devastating 94 losses, meant something had to change. On Nov. 13, new general manager Brian Sabean did what many Giants fans considered unthinkable -- he traded fan favorite Matt Williams to the Indians for Jeff Kent, Jose Vizcaino, Julian Tavarez and a player to be named (Joe Roa).
Sporting the slogan "It's Giants baseball; anything can happen," the team charged out to a 16-5 record at the start of the '97 season, en route to a six-game advantage over Los Angeles at the All-Star break. In the span of just three weeks, their lead evaporated (thanks to an 8-13 post-break performance) and they were tied with the Dodgers.
For the next six weeks, the teams battled back and forth, with neither club able to lead by more than 2 1/2 games. In one of the most memorable series in Giants history, capped by Brian Johnson's 12th-inning, game-winning homer, they swept Los Angeles to again pull into a tie.
In the history of the Giants, few home runs rival the drama of catcher Johnson's shot on Sept. 18. His blow not only pulled San Francisco into a first-place tie with Los Angeles, it entered Johnson's name into the annals of legendary Giants shots, ranking up there with Bobby Thomson's 1951 "Shot Heard 'Round The World," also hit against the Dodgers.
When the Dodgers came to town on Sept. 17 for a two-game set, they were leading the division by two games. The Giants cut the deficit to a single game by taking a taut night opener, 2-1. Barry Bonds' upper-deck home run in the first inning off Chan Ho Park gave the Giants both of their runs, and Kirk Rueter allowed only four hits and a single run (a homer by Raul Mondesi) in his seven-plus innings of work. Roberto Hernandez, acquired at the trade deadline, finished off the game with his sizzling fastball.
With baseball fever seizing much of the Bay Area, manager Dusty Baker turned to Terry Mulholland (another late-season pickup) for the series finale. He gave up a home run to the second batter he faced (Otis Nixon), but his club battled back.
With two out in the bottom of the first, Bonds hit a triple and then scored on Glenallen Hill's single. J.T. Snow snapped the tie with a leadoff homer in the fourth, and the Giants broke it open when Bonds smacked a three-run round-tripper off Dodgers starter Tom Candiotti in the fifth.
In the sixth, the normally sure-handed Snow dropped a ball while trying to tag out Nixon as he ran up the first-base line, and the error later allowed two unearned runs to score. Still, Mulholland left with a 5-3 lead. But Julian Tavarez allowed runners to reach second and third with one out in the seventh, and Baker had no choice but to bring in Hernandez, despite his two innings of work the previous night and a sore shoulder.
The gamble failed, however, as Mike Piazza tied the game with a two-run single. Neither squad could unknot the score in nine innings, and after two scoreless innings of relief from Doug Creek, Baker turned to his beleagured closer, Rod Beck, for the 10th.
Beck, who had blown a save and taken the loss two games earlier, entered to a smattering of boos from the crowd, and things turned downright ugly when Piazza, Eric Karros and Mondesi all singled to load the bases with none out. With the huge crowd voicing their disapproval of Beck's continued presence in the game, Baker went to the mound and told his pitcher to dig down deep for something special.
The man nicknamed "Shooter" delivered, striking out Todd Zeile. Facing pinch-hitter Eddie Murray, Beck got the member of the 500-homer club to hit a slow grounder to second, where Jeff Kent picked it up and fired home for one out. Johnson's throw to first beat the aging Murray to end the inning.
With the fans now screaming their support of the mustachioed pitcher, Beck left the field with a roar and then pitched two hitless innings.
After more than four hours of baseball, the teams were still stuck at five runs each when Johnson came to the plate to lead off the bottom of the 12th. Reliever Mark Guthrie threw one pitch, and Johnson clobbered it. It rode toward the wall in left, but having already seen an earlier Dodgers blow to nearly the same spot look like a sure home run, only to be knocked down by the Candlestick Park wind, the 52,140 in attendance held their breath.
When the ball cleared the fence and landed in the left-field bleachers, the ballpark erupted. It's possible cars on nearby Highway 101 thought an earthquake was happening as the frenzied crowd celebrated wildly while Johnson circled the bases. The catcher later said he didn't even feel his feet hitting the ground as he ran, and when he crossed the plate, his teammates mobbed him. The scoreboard itself almost seemed alive as it displayed the current NL West standings, with the Giants and Dodgers in a flat-footed tie.
Leading the charge from the dugout was the almost-forgotten earlier hero of the game, Bonds, who burst from the dugout and bear-hugged Baker. He celebrated so enthusiastically, he momentarily popped his shoulder out of its socket. Luckily, the injury didn't keep him out of the lineup, as Giants fans and their team all knew much more work lay ahead in the final 10 days of the season.
The Giants took the division lead the next day with a win against San Diego, and although they lost the next day, the Dodgers were in the midst of losing three straight to the Rockies. With two more wins over the Padres and a split of two games against the Rockies, the Giants enjoyed a 2 1/2-game lead as they headed home for their final three-game set of the season.
With a win over the Padres on Friday night and a Dodgers loss to the Rockies, the Giants would clinch the division. Bonds hit his 40th home run of the season to put him over the 100 RBIs mark, giving San Francisco its first 100 RBIs trio in Bonds, Kent and Snow, and Shawn Estes notched his 19th win of the season in a 17-4 drubbing of San Diego. But the Dodgers refused to die, and their victory meant San Francisco was only guaranteed a tie for first place.
"Dustiny" (a term coined by Beck) could not be denied; one win by the Giants would seal the title. On Saturday, Sept. 27, midseason acquisition Wilson Alvarez took the mound for San Francisco and allowed only two hits in the first seven scoreless innings. Mark Lewis and Glenallen Hill manufactured a run in the fourth, and a Johnson bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the sixth tacked on another run. Pitcher Alvarez singled home another.
Thoughts of a clinch gripped the minds of the more than 48,000 fans in attendance when the Giants added another three runs in the seventh, thanks in part of Snow's two-run double. Although Hernandez gave up a run in the eighth, the Giants entered the ninth with a 6-1 lead.
Despite his recent struggles and the emergence of Hernandez as an alternate closer, Baker gave the ball to Beck for the final inning. He set down the first two batters and faced Greg Vaughn as the potential title-clinching out.
With a 2-2 count and the crowd in a frenzy, Beck blazed a pitch by Vaughn, who swung and missed, setting off the celebration. Beck threw his arms in the air, and the Giants dogpiled in the center of the field. Bonds knelt in prayer in left field before joining the frenzy, and he later leaped atop the dugout to embrace fans.
The renewed Giants made their first postseason appearance in eight years when they faced National League Wild Card entry Florida Marlins in the Division Series. Despite losing all three games of series, San Francisco gave Florida its toughest test en route to its first world championship.
Both Games 1 and 2 came down to the last at-bat, with Florida taking advantage of being the home club and posting 2-1 and 7-6 victories, respectively.
Despite two solo home runs by Kent in Game 3, the Marlins finished off the sweep on strength of Devon White's sixth-inning grand slam off Alvarez.
But the sweetness of securing a title showed the team had clearly established a new winning tradition.
"That day was again needed because of how close we came in '93," said Baker. "In '94, '95 and '96, most of the team was gone and we finished last. It saved my career again because they were talking about getting a new manager. That was another big turning point that propelled this organization to success and into being one of the finer organizations around."
Although they trail NL West winners San Diego by nine games at season's end, the Wild Card gives the Giants hope for postseason play. They make up a five-game deficit in the final 10 games of the season to force a one-game playoff with the Cubs.
Barry Bonds spends some time with the fans at Wrigley Field before trying to mount a ninth-inning comeback in the Wild Card tiebreaker game.
After trailing Chicago by five games on Sept. 17, the Giants went 8-2 over their final 10 regular-season contests to catch the Cubs and force a Wild Card tiebreaker game Sept. 28 at Wrigley Field. San Francisco had a chance to win the Wild Card outright on the last day of the season, but the Rockies stormed back from a 7-0 deficit to defeat the Giants, 9-8, and send them to Chicago for the playoff.
San Francisco dropped a 5-3 outcome and just missed making their second consecutive postseason appearance.
Barry Bonds hit a laser shot to right field with the bases loaded and none out in the ninth, but it was snagged by MVP Sammy Sosa to result in only a sacrifice fly.
After entering the top of the ninth trailing 5-0, the Giants almost mounted another comeback. San Francisco plated three runs and had the tying run at the plate when the game ended.
The Giants became only the third club in history to overcome a four-game deficit with seven contests remaining (1951 New York Giants and '62 San Francisco Giants).
Surrounded by dozens of Giants legends, the greatest Giant of them all -- Willie Mays -- throws the final pitch at Candlestick Park.
Injuries to Barry Bonds, Jeff Kent and Ellis Burks slow the Giants, who finish 14 games back despite a 22-6 run starting in mid-August. But five players bash 20-plus homers and drive in at least 80 runs. With the team out of contention, however, the focus is on the end of the Giants' stay at Candlestick Park.
It has been said that while many fans won't miss Candlestick Park, they'll certainly miss the memories of the great players that roamed its grass and dirt and the phenomenal events that the park has hosted.
Add to those memories a magnificent closing ceremony, a poignant, nostalgia-drenched celebration that began with team president and managing general partner Peter Magowan noting the special breed that has made the park their second home these many years.
"No fans were as loud, no fans stayed as late, no fans endured as much as you did," he said. Indeed, Magowan can count himself among the hardy; he began following the Giants as a child and later took his grandson to games.
"I guess I'm getting old, but what a nice way to do so."
As broadcasters Lon Simmons and Jon Miller introduced dozens of former players, the ghosts of Candlestick came to life with each man running out to assume his former position. The cream-colored jerseys of the '50s and '60s mingled with the crisp whites of the later uniforms, joining the decades of baseball that have been played at the park.
Dusty Baker and his 1999 squad joined the alumni, laughing and playing with old friends and longtime heroes alike. The final introductions were of the truly immortal Giants, four of the Giants' Hall of Famers: Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal, Willie McCovey (who had left the game early due to his continuing knee problems) and the greatest Giant of them all, Willie Mays.
The assembled players gathered at the pitching mound, and after a fitting 24-second countdown, Mays threw the last-ever pitch at Candlestick Park. Behind the plate was his godson, the Giants' All-Star left fielder Barry Bonds, who received the ball at 5:24 p.m. and handed it to one of the Giants' most dedicated and loyal fans, Marge Wallace of San Francisco.
As streamers shot from air cannons flew through the air, home plate was dug up and Baker gave the trophy to Magowan and executive vice president/chief operating officer Larry Baer. As they strode to center field, an orange-and-black-adorned helicopter gently landed on the field. California Highway Patrol Commissioner Dwight "Spike" Helmick received the prize and the chopper began its trip to the Giants' new home in China Basin.
The crowd joined in one final group sing of "Bye-Bye Baby" as players current and former took one last lap around the field throwing balls to the fans.
As the JumbroTRON showed the chopper landing at Pacific Bell Park, Simmons offered one closing comment: "I guess all I can say is 'Tell It Goodbye'."
The plate took its rightful spot at Pacific Bell Park as the strains of "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" played. Equipment manager Mike Murphy, a 42-year veteran of the team, locked the clubhouse doors, and a flickering candle on the JumboTRON was blown out, simultaneously blowing out the Candlestick era of Giants baseball.
The Giants christen the spectacular Pacific Bell Park in inauspicious fashion, losing the first six games in the new yard and 11 of their first 15 games overall. But with the support of 3.3 million fans who sell out every game at the rookie park, San Francisco wins its second division title in four years. Jeff Kent wins the NL MVP while Dusty Baker captures his third Manager of the Year Award.
San Francisco won its second National League West title in four years as the club posted a Major League-best 97-65 mark, only to see its October run stopped short by the Wild Card New York Mets, a club that would eventually win the NL flag.
The Giants enjoyed a truly magical regular season, their first in their new jewel of a home, Pacific Bell Park. Playing in front of 81 straight sellouts that accounted for a franchise-record 3,315,330 fans, San Francisco rattled off a 55-26 ledger, matching the Mets for the best home mark in the Majors.
Dusty Baker won his third NL Manager of the Year award after guiding his troops to a Major League-best 51-26 record after the All-Star break, resulting in an 11-game cushion, the Giants' largest winning margin since 1913.
San Francisco produced its most prolific offensive attack in 70 years, led by National League Most Valuable Player Jeff Kent. Teammate Barry Bonds, who finished second in the MVP voting, clubbed 49 clouts.
The Giants jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the NLDS with a 5-1 victory in front of a raucous Game 1 crowd at Pacific Bell Park. Livan Hernandez held New York to one run over 7 2/3 innings while Ellis Burks clubbed a three-run, third-inning homer off the left-field foul pole.
J.T. Snow's dramatic three-run, pinch homer in the bottom of the ninth tied Game 2, 4-4, but the Mets would rally to win, 5-4, in 10 innings and even the series at a game apiece.
Unfortunately for San Francisco, its offense went south when the club went east, as the Giants could manage only two runs in 22 innings at Shea Stadium. New York's Benny Agbayani gave the Mets a 3-2 victory in Game 3 with a 13th-inning solo home run, and Bobby Jones hurled a one-hit shutout for a 4-0 win in the Game 4 clincher.
The Giants battle for a playoff spot into the season's final weekend, but most eyes are trained on the team throughout the season because of Barry Bonds' phenomenal homer binge. With 39 homers at the All-Star break and three homers on Sept. 9 to put him at 63, it was only a matter of time before the San Francisco slugger broke Mark McGwire's three-year-old record of 70 homers. Bonds ended up bashing 73 long balls that year.
San Francisco makes the playoffs as the Wild Card and then knocks off the NL East champion Braves in a thrilling five-game series to advance to the National League Championship Series. The Giants shock the Central champ Cardinals by winning the first two games in St. Louis, eventually winning the pennant in five games to earn a berth in their first World Series in 13 years. They can't hold a late five-run lead in Game 6 vs. the Angels, losing that game and then Game 7.
Following a 3-0 loss at Florida on Aug. 18, a stagnant San Francisco club stood at 66-56, four games behind Los Angeles in the NL Wild Card chase. From then on, the Giants would play like champions, going 29-10 down the stretch to capture the league's fourth playoff spot by 3 1/2 contests over the Dodgers.
Despite a 95-win campaign that tied for the fourth-most victories in San Francisco history, the Giants entered the NLDS as heavy underdogs to the Atlanta Braves, who captured their 11th consecutive division crown by an astounding 19-game margin.
Undaunted by their opponents and buoyed by the right arm of starter Russ Ortiz, the Giants stormed into Turner Field and won the series opener by an 8-5 count as Rich Aurilia, Benito Santiago and J.T. Snow all collected two RBIs apiece.
Yet, the hope of Game 1 quickly turned into despair, as Atlanta backed the stout pitching of Kevin Millwood and Greg Maddux, respectively, with 17 combined runs in a pair of routs to take a 2-1 series lead.
Facing the prospect of a long winter, San Francisco turned to past playoff hero Livan Hernandez to work his magic once again in Game 4 at Pacific Bell Park. The big right-hander responded by hurling 8 1/3 strong innings, while Aurilia finished 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs as the Giants won 8-3 to force a return trip to Atlanta.
In the decisive Game 5, five-time MVP Barry Bonds exorcised his demons of postseasons past, singling and scoring the Giants' first run in the second and clubbing an opposite-field, solo homer in the fourth that gave San Francisco a 2-0 lead. Ortiz became the first Giants pitcher to win two games in the same postseason series since Carl Hubbell went 2-0 in the 1933 World Series, yet San Francisco's 3-1 victory was in doubt until the end. With two men on and none out in the ninth, closer Robb Nen struck out Gary Sheffield then induced Chipper Jones to ground into a series-ending double play.
Following their furious late-season run to capture the Wild Card berth and that stirring five-game NLDS victory over Atlanta, the Giants provided the only truly fitting encore -- they won the club's first NL pennant in 13 years by defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in a scintillating and highly competitive five-contest NLCS.
San Francisco began its run to the Fall Classic by winning each of the first two contests in St. Louis. The Giants pounded Cardinals ace Matt Morris early and often en route to a 9-6 victory in Game 1, while Jason Schmidt turned in a dominating Game 2 performance. The right-hander struck out eight and carried a shutout into the eighth inning, while Aurilia's two-homer, three-RBI effort spurred a 4-1 triumph.
Despite Bonds' dramatic three-run, fifth-inning homer into McCovey Cove that briefly tied Game 3 at Pacific Bell Park, a solo clout by St. Louis' Eli Marrero and stingy pitching by the Cardinals bullpen gave the visitors a 5-4 win and renewed hope.
St. Louis jumped out to a 2-0, first-inning lead in Game 4 and appeared on its way to evening the series until a pair of Giants veterans turned the tide. In the sixth, Snow delivered a two-out, two-run double that knotted the contest. Following a two-out intentional walk to Bonds in the eighth, Santiago cemented his series MVP honors by clubbing a full-count offering from Rick White into the left-field bleachers for a 4-2 lead. Nen struck out the final two hitters in the ninth to strand the tying run at third and close out a 4-3 San Francisco victory.
Giants lefty Kirk Rueter and Morris engaged in a classic October pitchers' duel in a Game 5 that was scoreless until St. Louis broke through with a run in the seventh. Bonds tied the contest, 1-1, with an eighth-inning sacrifice fly, thus setting the stage for one of the most dramatic moments in San Francisco history.
Morris retired the first two Giants hitters in the bottom of the ninth inning but was chased by consecutive singles from David Bell and Shawon Dunston. St. Louis turned to reliever Steve Kline, and Kenny Lofton greeted the southpaw by lining his first pitch into right-center field for a single that scored a sliding Bell as the jubilant NL champion Giants poured onto the field.
In the first World Series between two Wild Card teams, the Giants and Anaheim Angels lived up to the moniker, combining to set numerous offensive records in a memorable seven-game Fall Classic.
Anaheim emerged from the fireworks with the first world championship in franchise history, while San Francisco was saddled with heartbreak after seeing a title slip away just five outs from the pinnacle.
The clubs split the first two contests in Anaheim, with Bonds grabbing the spotlight in his first appearance on the World Series stage. San Francisco's left fielder clubbed a solo homer in his first at-bat to spark a 4-3 Giants win in Game 1, then connected for a mammoth ninth-inning shot in Game 2. Not to be outdone, the Angels' Tim Salmon homered twice as Anaheim won an 11-10 slugfest to even the series.
When the scene shifted north, the Angels seemed to take control with a convincing 10-4 win in Game 3. As they had all season, the Giants battled back in Game 4, rallying from a 3-0 deficit to earn a 4-3 victory on Bell's two-out, RBI single in the eighth inning.
Game 5 belonged to San Francisco, as the home club delighted the 42,713 fans at Pacific Bell Park with a 16-4 rout. Jeff Kent tied Giants World Series records with four runs, two homers and four RBIs, Aurilia drove in three runs to establish a franchise playoff mark with 17 RBIs overall, and Snow had two of his series-high 11 hits.
The Giants were eight outs from their first World Series title since 1954, as Dunston's two-run homer, Bonds' record eighth postseason clout (fourth of the Series), and Kent's RBI single propelled San Francisco to a 5-0 lead in Game 6. But the ultimate prize was wrested away as Scott Spiezio's three-run, seventh-inning homer and series MVP Troy Glaus' two-run, eighth-inning double highlighted Anaheim's rally to a 6-5 victory.
San Francisco scored first in Game 7 but ultimately could not overcome the pitching of John Lackey and the bat of Garret Anderson, who delivered the deciding three-run, third-inning double in Anaheim's 4-1 triumph.
Under new manager Felipe Alou, the Giants become the ninth team in Major League history to lead their division from start to finish, posting 100 wins to capture the NL West. The Wild Card Marlins upstage the Giants, however, winning their National League Division Series three games to one en route to winning their second world championship.
For the first time since 1936-37, the Giants earned consecutive appearances in postseason play, as the club won its third National League West title in seven years and became only the second team in franchise history to go wire-to-wire with an overall finish of 100-61.
A flurry of offseason moves brought new faces to San Francisco as the team introduced first-year manager Felipe Alou and four new starters to the lineup. The revamped club breezed by their opposition, ending their campaign 15 1/2 games ahead of the Dodgers for the Giants' largest advantage in 91 years.
General manager Brian Sabean garnered Executive of the Year accolades for constructing the team with the third best record in baseball and Barry Bonds earned his unprecedented sixth National League Most Valuable Player Award.
Headed into Game 1 of the NLDS rested and primed for success, pitching ace Jason Schmidt thrived in the intense atmosphere at SBC Park, tossing a complete-game three-hitter as the Giants blanked the visiting Marlins, 2-0.
A sudden turn of events plagued the Giants in Game 2, as San Francisco saw its 4-1 lead quickly vanish as Gold Glovers made costly miscues and the Marlins escaped SBC Park with a 9-5 win.
Knotted up at 1, both teams headed to South Florida, but the Giants' run of bad luck seemed to follow. After taking a 3-2 advantage in the 11th inning of Game 3, San Francisco let the Marlins slip back into the contest after a dropped fly ball by Jose Cruz Jr. allowed the tying run on base. With two out, the bases loaded and a 1-2 count on Ivan Rodriguez, Tim Worrell's next pitch was drilled into right field for a game-winning, two-run single.
In Game 4, San Francisco's furious comeback in the ninth fell short as J.T. Snow was thrown out at the plate on Jeffrey Hammonds' two-out single to left, giving the Marlins a 7-6 victory and ending the Giants' hopes for another playoff run.
The Giants slog out to a dismal start, sitting eight games under .500 and behind the league leaders on May 18. But after Jason Schmidt's one-hit shutout of the Cubs that day, the Giants rip off the fourth-best record in the Majors and put themselves squarely in playoff contention. The Dodgers hold off the Giants for the division title, and only a scorching run by Houston keeps San Francisco out of the Wild Card slot.
Barry Bonds' three right-knee surgeries in the offseason, combined with a bacterial infection, served as a portent to what would prove a disappointing season for the Giants. Bonds didn't take the field for the Giants until September, and by then, it was too little, too late. There were, however, signs of improvement and growth that should encourage Giants fans. Center fielder Randy Winn, whom the Giants acquired from Seattle just before the trade deadline, and young pitchers Matt Cain, Noah Lowry and Brad Hennessey all excelled in the second half. After finishing just seven games back in the division, the Giants have every reason for optimism in 2006.
The Giants ultimately met with frustration, finishing third in the NL West at 76-85 after being 74-72 and only three games out of first place in mid-September. But the season included some redeeming aspects. Shortstop Omar Vizquel won his 11th Gold Glove award. Matt Cain (13-12, 4.15) tied for fourth in the NL Rookie of the Year balloting. Jason Schmidt set a franchise record with 16 strikeouts against Florida on June 6. And Barry Bonds hit 26 home runs to hike his career total to 734, 21 behind all-time leader Hank Aaron.
The Giants struggled to their first last place finish since 1996, logging a 71-91 record. Barry Bonds eclipsed Major League Baseball's all-time home run record, finishing with 762 clouts in his final season with the Giants. The emergence of young starters Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum became a bright spot for the club under new manager Bruce Bochy.
This was a year of transition for the Giants, who endured their fourth consecutive losing season while placing fourth in the NL West with a 72-90 record. They played their first full season without home run king Barry Bonds since 1992. The team received an influx of youth, as a franchise-record 16 rookies made their Major League debuts. But San Francisco appeared to get the hang of things toward the end of the season, posting a 28-27 mark in the final two months. Performers such as rookie Pablo Sandoval, who hit .345 in 41 games, hastened the Giants' strong finish.
It was also a year of personal achievement, led by Tim Lincecum -- the first Giant to win the Cy Young Award since Mike McCormick in 1967. The right-hander impressed by finishing 18-5 with a Major League high 265 strikeouts. Lincecum, playing his first full Major League season, made the NL All-Star team, as did closer Brian Wilson, who tied for second in the NL with 41 saves. Omar Vizquel, the popular and respected veteran, established a Major League record on May 25 by playing his 2,584th game at shortstop, eclipsing fellow Venezuelan Luis Aparicio.
The Giants surprised a lot of observers by finishing 88-74 and remaining in the Wild Card race through most of the season. Pitching was the big story, as Giants hurlers led the Majors with 1,302 strikeouts and 18 shutouts. But the offense ranked 13th in scoring, which cost hitting coach Carney Lansford his job. Nevertheless, Pablo Sandoval picked up where he left off after the previous season, finishing second in the NL with a .330 batting average and leading the team with 25 homers and 90 RBIs. The Giants, who finished below .500 at home in three of the previous four seasons, went 52-29 at AT&T Park, the NL's best home record. After the season, general manager Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy received two-year contract extensions.
Almost every starter performed with distinction. Lincecum became the first pitcher in history to win the Cy Young Award in each of his first two full Major League seasons. Though he went only 15-7, he trimmed his ERA to 2.62 to 2.48 and led the league with 261 strikeouts. He started the All-Star Game and was joined in St. Louis by Matt Cain, who went 14-8 after posting a 15-30 mark in the previous two years. Jonathan Sanchez took a perfect game into the eighth inning against San Diego on July 10 and finished with the Giants' first no-hitter in 33 years. Randy Johnson joined the Giants as a free agent and not only sparked the club with his competitive spirit but also won his 300th game.
The 2010 season was the one many Giants fans had awaited literally all their lives. Not only did the Giants capture the National League West, clinching the division on the season's final day to finish 92-70, but they also went 11-4 in the postseason against Atlanta, Philadelphia and Texas en route to winning the World Series. It was the franchise's first triumph in the Fall Classic since 1954 and, obviously, the first since the Giants moved to San Francisco in 1958.
San Francisco's success revolved around its formidable pitching, which led the Majors with a 3.36 ERA. Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez finished a combined 42-30 and rookie Madison Bumgarner won seven games in what amounted to the season's second half. They formed the first "homegrown" quartet of starting pitchers in the postseason since the 1986 Red Sox. Brian Wilson, who saved a Major League-high 48 games in the regular season and six more in the postseason, was nothing short of dominant as he anchored an effective bullpen. General manager Brian Sabean's midseason deals for left-hander Javier Lopez and right-hander Ramon Ramirez helped bolster the relief corps.
Catcher Buster Posey, the first Giant to be named National League Rookie of the Year since 1975, sustained a 21-game hitting streak in July to stimulate the club. He complemented leading run producers Aubrey Huff (.290, 26 home runs, 86 RBIs) and Juan Uribe (.248, 24, 85). Left fielder Pat Burrell (.266, 18, 51) joined the team in June and, like Posey, provided a necessary spark. Outfielder Cody Ross, claimed on waivers in August, became indispensable during the postseason as he was voted Most Valuable Player of the League Championship Series. Shortstop Edgar Renteria followed by winning World Series MVP honors in an effort capped by his three-run homer in the fifth and deciding game.
The Giants not only failed to repeat as World Series champions, they also missed the postseason, despite spending 81 days in first place. San Francisco settled for its third consecutive winning season, finishing second in the National League West at 86-76.
Outstanding pitching remained the Giants' hallmark. Four of their starters ranked among the league's top 11 in ERA. Three of them -- Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Ryan Vogelsong -- made the NL All-Star team, where they were joined by closer Brian Wilson. But the staff's 3.20 ERA, second-best in the league, was nullified by the offense, which scored a NL-low 570 runs.
Injuries dogged the Giants, who used the disabled list a Major League-high 25 times. Season-ending injuries to catcher Buster Posey and second baseman Freddy Sanchez before the season was halfway over ultimately grounded the Giants. Without them, the team's most dynamic offensive performer was Pablo Sandoval (.315, 23 homers, 70 RBIs in 117 games), who also was a finalist for the Gold Glove award at third base.
Through it all, the fans remained ardent, still stoked by the club's first Series triumph in its San Francisco history. The Giants sold out every home game while setting an AT&T Park record with a total attendance of 3,387,303.
The Giants didn't field their greatest team ever in 2012. Just their guttiest.
San Francisco captured its second World Series in three years by winning six consecutive elimination games in the postseason. The 1985 Kansas City Royals were the only other team to accomplish this feat. The Giants' typically strong starting pitching fueled the team's surge, as Ryan Vogelsong, Barry Zito, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner combined to record a 0.99 ERA in the last seven postseason contests, including a four-game World Series sweep of Detroit.
Buster Posey (.336, 24 home runs, 103 RBIs) won the National League's batting title and Most Valuable Player award, becoming the first catcher to capture those honors in 70 and 40 years, respectively. Others who recorded significant achievements included Marco Scutaro, who hit .362 in 61 games after the Giants obtained him from Colorado on July 27. Scutaro also hit .500 in the NLCS against St. Louis to earn series MVP honors. Right fielder Hunter Pence, another Trade Deadline acquisition, drove in 45 runs in 59 games. Center fielder and leadoff hitter Angel Pagan set a San Francisco-era record with 15 triples. Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt distinguished themselves in their first full Major League seasons by improving steadily as the year progressed. Outfielder Gregor Blanco made his mark as a clutch performer by contributing multiple outstanding defensive plays. And Pablo Sandoval saved his best for last, homering three times in Game 1 of the World Series to set the triumphant tempo for the Giants. Sandoval ultimately was named Series MVP.
Cain made history by pitching the 22nd perfect game in history on June 13 against Houston. He, Vogelsong, Bumgarner and Zito each won 14 games or more. Tim Lincecum slumped to a 10-15 mark, but the two-time Cy Young Award winner thrived in the postseason by yielding one earned run in 13 innings spanning five relief appearances. Though closer Brian Wilson was lost to an elbow ailment and Tommy John surgery in early April, Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo, among others, combined to compensate for the loss of the three-time All-Star.
The Giants absorbed another personel loss on Aug. 15 when left fielder Melky Cabrera, the All-Star Game MVP who was batting a league-high .346, was suspended 50 games for testing positive for testosterone. Rather than give up, the Giants finished 30-14 to run away with the NL West.
As good as that seemed, the best was yet to come.