- Dodgers–Giants rivalry
Los Angeles Dodgers – San Francisco Giants History First meeting May 3, 1890 Last meeting September 22 2011 Next meeting May 7, 2012 Number of meetings 2,194 Regular season series 1096-1079-17, Giants Largest victory 26-8, Giants (April 20, 1944) Current streak Longest Dodgers win streak Longest Giants win streak Post-season history 1889 World Series Giants defeat Dodgers, 6-3
The Dodgers–Giants rivalry is one of the longest-standing and most storied rivalries in the history of baseball.
The feud between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants began in the late 19th century when both clubs were based in New York City, with the Dodgers playing in Brooklyn and the Giants playing at the Polo Grounds in Manhattan. After the 1957 season, Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley decided to move the team to Los Angeles for financial reasons, among others. Along the way, he managed to convince Giants owner Horace Stoneham (who was considering moving his team to Minnesota) to preserve the rivalry by bringing his team to California as well. New York baseball fans were stunned and heartbroken by the move. Given that the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco have long been competitors in economic, cultural, and political arenas, the new venue in California became fertile ground for its transplantation.
Each team's ability to have endured for over a century while leaping across an entire continent, as well as the rivalry's growth from a cross-city to a cross-state engagement, have led to the rivalry being considered one of the greatest in sports history.
Unlike many other historic baseball match-ups in which one team remains dominant for most of their history, the Dodgers–Giants rivalry has exhibited a persistent balance in the respective successes of the two teams. While the Giants have more wins in franchise history, both National League West teams are tied for the most National League pennants with 21, and both teams have each won six World Series titles. The 2010 World Series was the Giants' first championship since moving to California, while the Dodgers' last title came in the 1988 World Series.
Origins and early years
In the 1880s, New York City played host to a number of professional baseball clubs in the National League and the American Association. By 1889, each league had but one representative in New York—the Giants and the Dodgers—and the teams met in an early version of the World's Championship Series in which the Giants defeated the Dodgers 6 games to 3. In 1890, the Dodgers switched to the National League and the rivalry was officially underway.
Although the two teams were natural (geographically proximate and National League) rivals anyway, the animus between the two teams runs deeper than mere competitiveness. Giants fans were seen as well to do elitists of Manhattan while Dodger fans tended to be more blue collar and had more newly arrived immigrants as fans due to the working class atmosphere of Brooklyn. Giants owner Andrew Freedman in 1900 attempted to have the National League split all profits equally despite the teams successes. This was the same year the Dodgers won the pennant and the Giants finished in last. In the early 1900s, the rivalry was heightened by a long-standing personal feud (originally a business difference) between Charles Ebbets, owner of the Dodgers, and John McGraw, manager of the Giants. The two used their teams as fighting surrogates, which caused incidents between players both on and off the field, and inflamed local fans' passions sometimes to deadly levels. In 1940, umpire George Magenkurth was brutally beaten during a game by an enraged Dodger fan ostensibly for making a pro-Giants call, and the rivalry is said to have been the motive for at least one fan-on-fan homicide, in 1938, and another in 2007 within close proximity to AT&T Park. Future Dodger manager Joe Torre recalled how he felt threatened being a Giants fan growing up in Brooklyn in the series. During the latter years for both teams in New York, players often engaged in purposeful, aggressive, physical altercations. In 1965, Giants pitcher Juan Marichal knocked Dodger catcher John Roseboro in the head with a bat.
A long and balanced history
Since 1901, the Dodgers and Giants have played more head-to-head games than any other two teams in Major League Baseball. In their 2,189 meetings (seasons 1901 through 2011), the Giants have won 1,094 games and the Dodgers have won 1,078. The St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Cardinals rival Chicago Cubs (in games versus each other) are very close behind in head-to-head tallies from 1901 onwards. In total (1890–2011), they have played 2,346 games against each other.
2010's results continued to reflect the closeness in the rivalry as the Giants won the season series 10 games to 8.
If ranked by the number of all-time MLB wins by franchise, the Giants (10,463 wins) and the Dodgers (10,157 wins) are number 1 and 3, respectively, number 2 being the Chicago Cubs (10,261 wins). What is notable about the rivalry is not only the balance between the teams but also how both have often played meaningful games late in the year. Since 1951, the Dodgers and Giants have finished 1-2 11 times, and in 3 other years were within several games of both first place and each other. Just as important is the role one team has played as spoiler to the other in the years when they were not directly competing in a pennant race.
The New York Giants won the 68-year series against the Brooklyn Dodgers, 722 to 671. But since relocating to the West Coast in 1958, the Dodgers are ahead in the 836 games played between the two teams as of 2007[update], 450 to 423.
On July 14, 2005, the Giants became the first professional sports team to win 10,000 games with a 4–3 win over the Dodgers.
Pennant race drama
- One of the most famous pennant races in history is that of 1951. The Dodgers held a 13 1⁄2 game lead over the Giants as late as August 11, when Brooklyn manager Chuck Dressen famously declared, "The Giants is dead!" Led by rookie Willie Mays, however, the Giants charged through August and September to catch and pass the Dodgers. The Dodgers rallied to win the final game of the season, tying the Giants for first place and necessitating a three-game playoff for the pennant. The Giants won the first game, the Dodgers the second, with the Giants taking the tie-breaking third game with a dramatic ninth-inning home run by Bobby Thomson, a play known as the Shot Heard 'Round the World.
- In 1959, the Giants led the Dodgers by three games as late as September 6. However, a late-year three-game sweep of the Giants both eliminated San Francisco from contention and allowed the Dodgers to catch the Braves, whom they defeated two games to none in a three-game playoff en route to winning the World Series. This inaugurated the tight pennant races between the two teams in the 1960s, in which the Giants and Dodgers finished no further than four games apart from each other and first place four times through 1966. In 1965, the Giants went on a 14-game winning streak in early September to take a 4 1⁄2-game lead, but the Dodgers responded with a 13-game winning streak and won 15 of their final 16 games to beat out the Giants by two games. In 1966, a three-way race between the Dodgers, Giants, and Pirates came down to the last day of the season. The Dodgers went into the second game of a doubleheader with the Phillies ahead of the Giants by one game. Had the Dodgers lost, the Giants would have been 1⁄2 game out and would have had to fly to Cincinnati to make up a game that had been rained out earlier in the season. If the Giants won that game, they would have then met the Dodgers in a playoff. But the Dodgers won the second game in Philadelphia to win the pennant by 1 1⁄2 games. In 1971, the Dodgers rallied from a 6 1⁄2-game September deficit to get within a game of the National League West-leading Giants with one game to play. But while the Dodgers were defeating the Houston Astros, the Giants beat the San Diego Padres to win the division.
- The closest finish came in 1962, when the Dodgers, battling injuries and a hitting slump, blew a late lead, producing a Giants-Dodgers tie atop the National League standings at the end of the regular season, just as in 1951. In the ensuing three-game playoff for the pennant, the Giants again took two out of three, with the deciding blow being four runs by the Giants in the ninth inning (as the visiting team this time) to take the series and the pennant. This would prove to be the last best-of-three tiebreaker, as both leagues now use a single-game tie-breaking format. As with 1951, that playoff win turned out to be the Giants' high water-mark of the season, as they lost the World Series to the New York Yankees on both occasions. During the season, Dodgers fan and Brooklyn native Danny Kaye had released a comic song called "D-O-D-G-E-R-S" which portrayed a fanciful game between the two clubs, featuring a miraculous comeback by the "Flatbush Refugees". In the last line, Kaye asked, "Do you think we'll really win the pennant?" The answer turned out to be "No", although they would win the World Series the following year.
- The Dodgers brutally returned the favor in 2004. After virtually every other reliever in the Giants bullpen had attempted to preserve a 3-0 lead going into the bottom of the ninth, several walks and an error set the stage for Steve Finley's dramatic grand slam off of Wayne Franklin, which clinched the division title for the Dodgers. Even with the wild card still up for grabs, this proved disastrous for the Giants – despite ace Jason Schmidt's fine performance in a 10-0 rout over the Dodgers the following day, an Astros win during the game eliminated the Giants entirely from playoff contention. Had the Giants maintained their lead in the previous game and Schmidt performed similarly, the Giants would have forced a one-game playoff in San Francisco between the Giants and Dodgers for the division crown. Ironically, Finley would play for the Giants in 2006.
When not tied for first during the last few days of the season, both teams have a long and storied history of eliminating their rival from playoff contention.
- Dressen's ill-advised comment in 1951 reversed the effect of a similar comment made in 1934. Prior to the season, Giants manager Bill Terry was asked his opinion of various teams for the upcoming campaign, including the Dodgers. His response of "Are they still in the league?" was to prove provocative. While the Dodgers struggled, the Giants found themselves tied with the St. Louis Cardinals atop the National League with two games left to play, and facing the sixth-place Dodgers for a two-game series in Brooklyn. Despite winning 14 of 22 from the Dodgers that year, the Giants lost those last two to the "Flatbush spoilers" and the pennant to the Cardinals, who won their final two games.
- In 1980, the Dodgers blew an eighth-inning lead at San Francisco in the last game of the second-to-last series of the year. This loss dropped the Dodgers three games behind the Astros and cost them the chance to win the National League West division outright when they swept Houston in the final three games of the year. Instead, they were forced to play the Astros in a one game playoff – which they lost.
- In 1982, the Dodgers and Giants were tied for second in the NL West, both one game behind the Atlanta Braves, as they faced each other in the final three games of the year. The Dodgers won the first two games 4-0 and 15-4 to eliminate the Giants, but then the Giants knocked the Dodgers out of the pennant race on the season's last day on an eighth-inning three-run home run by Joe Morgan, winning the game 5-3. Thus, the Braves finished first by one game.
- The Giants did it again in 1991, as the Dodgers finished one game behind the Braves after dropping two of three in San Francisco over the final weekend. Trevor Wilson tossed a complete game shutout on the day in which the Dodgers were eliminated.
- The Dodgers responded in kind in 1993, as two Mike Piazza home runs and a dominant complete-game performance by Kevin Gross resulted in a 12-1 walloping on the final day of the season that kept the 103-win Giants out of the playoffs in what many consider the last true pennant race (before implementation of the wild card). True to the balanced spirit of the rivalry, despite winning the first three games of that four-game series in Los Angeles, the Giants were unable to sweep the Dodgers at their home park in a four-game series for the first time since 1923, and the Braves won the division by one game. Coincidentally, Piazza's 1993 heroics occurred on October 3, a date which until then had featured two pennant-clinching Giant victories over the Dodgers (1951 and 1962) and one dramatic elimination of their arch-foe (1982).
- In 1997, a late September two-game sweep of the Dodgers at Candlestick Park highlighted by Barry Bonds' twirl after a home run in the first game and Brian Johnson's heroic home run in the bottom of the 12th in the second tied the Giants with the Dodgers for first place and eventually propelled them into the playoffs. The impact on both organizations was significant; Fred Claire, who was then general manager of the Dodgers, said "those two days have stayed with me for the last 10 years," and Los Angeles Times sports columnist Bill Plaschke argued that "it led to an organizational upheaval...(from which) (i)t has taken the Dodgers nearly a decade to recover." In contrast, the Giants' run from 1997 through 2003 produced the most playoff appearances in that stretch for the franchise since the 1930s.
- The Dodgers have done their best to return the favor, however. In 2001, the Giants finished two games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks as the Dodgers took two of the final three games of the year in San Francisco, despite Barry Bonds' record of 73 home runs in the season. In the first game of the series, Bonds hit his record-breaking 71st home run of the season off Chan Ho Park, but the Dodgers won the game, thereby enabling Arizona to clinch the division title.
All of these events and their associated quirks and symbols are relished by the fans of these two teams.
In a unique case of the rivalry playing out "indirectly," some New York Mets fans in their championship season of 1969 who happened to have been Brooklyn fans in years past, took vicarious pleasure in the Mets knocking the Chicago Cubs out of the pennant race after the Cubs had been in first place for much of the summer. The Cubs were managed by Leo Durocher, whose Giants had done likewise to the Dodgers in 1951, while the Mets were managed by old Dodgers favorite Gil Hodges.
Pennants and championships
The Dodgers won 9 pennants in Brooklyn, and another 9 in Los Angeles. The Giants won 14 pennants in New York and 4 in San Francisco.
When the teams were based in New York, the Giants won 5 championships, the Dodgers won only 1. After the move to California, it was the reverse, Dodgers won 5, Giants 1. In both New York and in California, one team's championships predated to the other's only one in the location. In New York, the Giants' championships predated to the Dodgers only championship in Brooklyn, in 1955. While in California, the Dodgers' championships predated to the Giants' first one there, in 2010. The Dodgers' 6 championships sandwiched the Giants' two most recent championships (1954 and 2010).
More recently, the Giants advanced to the playoffs when they won the 2002 National League pennant, 2003, and when winning the title in 2010, and the Dodgers advanced to the playoffs in 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2009, but have failed to win a pennant since their championship season of 1988.
Ardent fans of each club would be likely to consider the other as their "most hated" rival, enjoying the other team's misfortune almost as much as their own team's success. A typical Dodgers fan would just as soon ask "Did the Giants lose?" as they would "Did the Dodgers win?" and vice versa. This view is supported by the consistently solid attendance figures for Giants-versus-Dodgers games at both home fields, and increased media coverage as well. A good example of this is that during the final 3 game Dodger-vs-Giants series in 1991, the Giants drew over 150,000 fans. The attendance for these 3 games represented almost 1⁄10 of their total fans (1.7 million) for the entire 81 game home schedule, and prompted at least one reporter on ESPN to wonder if the euphoria in the Bay Area following the games reflected a delusion that the Giants had won the World Series rather than simply knocking the Dodgers out. In 2009, Forbes rated the Giants-Dodgers rivalry the most intense rivalry in baseball due to its lasting competitiveness through the 20th century and both fanbases' willingness to be overcharged for Dodgers-Giants game tickets with a ticket markup of 44% for the 2008 season.
During games in Los Angeles, Dodger fans will chant, "Giants Suck" and used to chant "Barry Sucks" when the Giants are in town, in reference to former Giants outfielder Barry Bonds, often regardless of whether or not Bonds is at bat or involved in a defensive play. In San Francisco, Giants fans will chant, "Beat LA" and "Dodgers Suck." A recent expression of the these feelings was the 2007 All-Star Game in San Francisco, where the three Dodgers All-Stars (pitcher Brad Penny, catcher Russell Martin and closer Takashi Saito) were roundly booed by partisan fans throughout the festivities.
The rivalry extends beyond the fans to the players. Jackie Robinson retired after he was traded to the Giants from the Dodgers in December of 1956. According to legend, and his teammate Tommy Lasorda, he did so because he had come to hate the Giants after ten years in Dodger Blue. This notion has been challenged, on the grounds that Robinson would have been 38 years old when the new season began, and simply decided to retire. In any case, in a gesture that transcends this heated rivalry, Robinson's retired blue Dodger numeral '42' hangs in the Giants' home ballpark, AT&T Park, just as it does at all other MLB ballparks in remembrance of Robinson on breaking the color barrier on baseball. Like Robinson, Willie Mays refused to sign with the Dodgers after the 1972 season, and was traded to the New York Mets, the successor to both the Giants and Dodgers in New York.
Both teams play in the National League Western Division, and due to the unbalanced schedule, play 17 to 19 head-to-head games each year. This is comparable to the 22 games each year that they faced each other in New York and Brooklyn.
Possibly the most notorious incident between these two clubs occurred August 22, 1965. In a game at Candlestick Park, Giants pitcher Juan Marichal had hit two Dodgers batters with brushback throws. Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax disliked retaliation and only threw a very high pitch over the head of Willie Mays. When Marichal came up to bat later, Koufax apparently had no interest in retaliation directly against Marichal, but Marichal felt that Dodgers catcher Johnny Roseboro was interested, as he claimed Roseboro was returning Koufax's pitches dangerously close to Marichal's head and had clipped his ear with one throw after dropping the ball on the ground. As Marichal and Roseboro began to argue, Marichal (#27) hit the Dodgers catcher on the head with his bat. A bench-clearing brawl ensued. Giants infielder Tito Fuentes (#26) also threatened to wield a bat, but did not use it. The fight was broken up by peacemakers Willie Mays of the Giants and Koufax of the Dodgers. Mays helped the badly bleeding (but not severely injured) Roseboro off the San Francisco field. Roseboro and Marichal eventually became close friends up until Roseboro's death in 2002. Marichal spoke at his funeral. Actor and performance artist Roger Guenver Smith performed his one-man show on the incident, "Juan and John," at the Public Theater in Manhattan in December 2009. Roseboro's daughter, Morgan Fouch Roseboro, attended the debut.
In the 1981 season as a member of the Dodgers, Reggie Smith was taunted by Giants fan Michael Dooley, who then threw a batting helmet at him. Smith then jumped into the stands at Candlestick Park and started punching him. He was ejected from the game, and Dooley was arrested. Five months later, Smith joined the Giants as a free agent.
Giants fan Marc Antenorcruz was shot and killed by Dodgers fan Pete Marron on September 19, 2003 in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium, following a late-season Dodgers-Giants game. Marron was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to 50 years in prison. A second defendant, Manuel Hernandez, plead no contest to voluntary manslaughter and had his 15 year sentence suspended.
There has also been Opening Day violence between the two teams' fans at Dodger Stadium. In 2009, a man stabbed his friend in the stadium parking lot after the home opener, in which the Dodgers beat the Giants 11–1. Arthur Alvarez was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon. Alvarez, who contended that he was knocked to the ground and acted in self-defense, was later acquitted by a jury.
On March 31, 2011, a 42-year-old Giants' fan, Bryan Stow, of Santa Cruz, was critically injured when he was attacked by two Dodgers fans in the Dodger Stadium parking lot after the Dodgers and Giants opened the 2011 season. The suspects subsequently fled the scene in a vehicle driven by a woman. Stow, a paramedic and father of two, sustained severe injuries to his skull and brain and was placed into a medically induced coma after the incident. A suspect, 31-year-old Giovanni Ramirez, was arrested in May 2011 in connection with the crime. Ramirez was never formally charged and was declared innocent in July 2011 when Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood were arrested and charged in the crime. Lawyers for Stow say his medical care is expected to cost more than $50 million. On September 27, 2011, relatives reported that Stow showed signs of improvement and even went outside for the first time in six months.
- Major League Baseball rivalries
- 1889 World Series
- Inline citations
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- Allen, Lee (1964). The Giants and the Dodgers: The Fabulous Story of Baseball's Fiercest Feud. Putnam.
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