- San Francisco Giants
San Francisco Giants 2012 San Francisco Giants season Established 1883 Based in San Francisco since 1958
Major league affiliations Current uniform Retired numbers NY, NY, 3, 4, 11, 20, 24, 27, 30, 36, 42, 44 Colors
- Black, Orange, White
- San Francisco Giants (1958–present)
- The Orange and Black, Los Gigantes, The G-Men, The Jints, The Gyros, Kyojin 巨人
Ballpark Major league titles World Series titles (6) 2010 • 1954 • 1933 • 1922 • 1921• 1905 NL Pennants (21) 2010 • 2002 • 1989 • 1962 • 1954
1951 • 1937 • 1936 • 1933
1924 • 1923 • 1922 • 1921
1917 • 1913 • 1912 • 1911
1905 • 1904 • 1889 • 1888
West Division titles (7) 2010 • 2003 • 2000 • 1997 • 1989
1987 • 1971
Wild card berths (1) 2002 Front office Owner(s) Ownership group led by Manager Bruce Bochy General Manager Brian Sabean
As one of the oldest baseball teams, they have won the most games of any team in the history of American baseball, and any North American professional sports team. They have won 21 National League pennants and appeared in 18 World Series competitions – both records in the National League (tied for NL pennants with the Los Angeles Dodgers and for World Series appearances with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals). The Giants 6 World Series Championships are also tied for second in the National League with the Dodgers (the St. Louis Cardinals have won 11). The Giants have played in the World Series an NL record 18 times, but boycotted the event in 1904. With their history, the Giants have the most Hall of Fame players in all of professional baseball.
The Giants played at the Polo Grounds in Manhattan, New York, until the close of the 1957 season, after which they moved west to California to become the San Francisco Giants. As the New York Giants, they won 14 pennants and 5 World Championships, from the era of John McGraw and Christy Mathewson to that of Bobby Thomson and Willie Mays. The Giants have won four pennants and the 2010 World Series since arriving in San Francisco.
Early days and the John McGraw era
The Giants began as the second baseball club founded by millionaire tobacconist John B. Day and veteran amateur baseball player Jim Mutrie. The Gothams, as the Giants were originally known, entered the National League in 1883, while their other club, the Metropolitans (the original Mets) played in the American Association. Nearly half of the original Gotham players were members of the disbanded Troy Trojans, whose place in the National League the Gothams inherited. While the Metropolitans were initially the more successful club, Day and Mutrie began moving star players to the Gothams and the team won its first National League pennant in 1888, as well as a victory over the St. Louis Browns in an early incarnation of the World Series. They repeated as champions the next year with a pennant and World Series victory over the Brooklyn Bridegrooms.
It is said that after one particularly satisfying victory over the Philadelphia Phillies, Mutrie (who was also the team's manager) stormed into the dressing room and exclaimed, "My big fellows! My giants!" From then on, the club was known as the Giants.
The Giants' original home stadium, the Polo Grounds, also dates from this early era. The first of the Polo Grounds was located north of Central Park adjacent to Fifth and Sixth Avenues and 110th and 112th Streets in the New York City neighborhood of Harlem. Upon eviction from the Polo Grounds after the 1888 season, the Giants moved uptown and renamed various fields the Polo Grounds which were located between 155th and 159th Streets in the New York City neighborhoods of Harlem and Washington Heights. The Giants played at the Polo Grounds until the end of the 1957 season, when they moved to San Francisco.
The Giants remained a powerhouse during the last half of the 1880s, culminating in their first league pennant in 1888 and another in 1889. However, in 1890, nearly all of the Giants' stars jumped to the upstart Players' League, whose New York franchise was also named the Giants. The new team even built its park next door to the National League Giants' Polo Grounds. With a decimated roster, the Giants finished a distant sixth. Attendance took a nosedive, and the financial strain affected Day's tobacco business as well. The Players' League dissolved after the season, and Day sold a minority interest to the PL Giants' principal backer, Edward Talcott. As a condition of the sale, Day had to fire Mutrie as manager. Although the Giants rebounded to third in 1891, Day was forced to sell controlling interest to Talcott at the end of the season.
Four years later, Talcott sold the Giants to Andrew Freedman, a real estate developer with ties to Tammany Hall. Freedman was one of the most detested owners in baseball history, getting into heated disputes with other owners, writers and his own players. The most famous one was with star pitcher Amos Rusie. When Freedman only offered Rusie $2,500 for 1896, Rusie sat out the entire season. Attendance fell off throughout the league due to the loss of Rusie, prompting the other owners to chip in $50,000 to get him to return for 1897. Freedman hired former owner Day as manager for part of 1899.
In 1902, after a series of disastrous moves that left the Giants 53½ games behind, Freedman signed John McGraw as a player-manager, convincing him to jump in mid-season from the Baltimore Orioles of the American League and to bring with him several Orioles' players. McGraw would go on and manage the Giants for three decades, one of the longest and most successful tenures in professional sports. McGraw's hiring was one of Freedman's last significant moves as owner of the Giants; after the season he was forced to sell his interest to John T. Brush. Under McGraw the Giants won ten National League pennants and three World Series championships.
The Giants already had their share of stars during its brief history at this point, such as Smiling Mickey Welch, Roger Connor, Tim Keefe, Jim O'Rourke and John Montgomery Ward, the player-lawyer who formed the renegade Players League in 1890 to protest unfair player contracts. McGraw would also cultivate his own crop of baseball heroes during his time with the Giants. Names such as Christy Mathewson, Iron Man Joe McGinnity, Bill Terry, Jim Thorpe, Mel Ott, Casey Stengel, and Red Ames are just a sample of the many players who honed their skills under McGraw.
The Giants under McGraw famously snubbed their first modern World Series chance in 1904—an encounter with the reigning world champion Boston Americans (now known as the "Red Sox")—because McGraw considered the new American League as little more than a minor league. His original reluctance was because the intra-city rival New York Highlanders looked like they would win the AL pennant. The Highlanders lost to Boston on the last day, but the Giants stuck by their refusal. McGraw had also managed the Highlanders in their first two seasons, when they were known as the Baltimore Orioles.
The ensuing criticism resulted in Brush leading an effort to formalize the rules and format of the World Series. The Giants won the 1905 World Series over the Philadelphia Athletics, with Christy Mathewson nearly winning the series single-handedly.
The Giants then had several frustrating years. In 1908, they finished in a tie with the Chicago Cubs and had a one-game playoff at the Polo Grounds. The game was a replay of a tied game that resulted from the Merkle Boner. They lost the rematch to the Cubs, who would go on to win their second World Series. That post-season game was further darkened by a story that someone on the Giants had attempted to bribe umpire Bill Klem. This could have been a disastrous scandal for baseball, but because Klem was honest and the Giants lost, it faded over time.
The Giants experienced some hard luck in the early 1910s, losing three straight World Series starting in 1911 to the A's, the Red Sox,and the A's again(the Giants and the A's both won pennants in 1913; two seasons later, both teams finished in eighth [last] place). After losing the 1917 Series to the Chicago White Sox (the White Sox's last World Series win until 2005), the Giants played in four straight World Series in the early 1920s, winning the first two over their tenants, the Yankees, then losing to the Yankees in 1923 when Yankee Stadium opened. They also lost in 1924, when the Washington Senators won their only World Series in their history (prior to their move to Minnesota).
1930–57: Five pennants in 28 seasons
McGraw handed over the team to Bill Terry in 1932, and Terry played for and managed the Giants for ten years. During this time the Giants won three pennants, defeating the Senators in the 1933 World Series and losing to the Yankees in 1936 and 1937. Aside from Terry himself, the other stars of the era were Mel Ott and Carl Hubbell. Known as "King Carl" and "The Meal Ticket", Hubbell gained fame during the 1934 All-Star Game, when he struck out five future Hall of Famers in a row: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, and Joe Cronin.
Mel Ott succeeded Terry as manager in 1942, but the war years proved to be difficult for the Giants. Midway during the 1948 season Brooklyn Dodgers manager Leo Durocher left the Dodgers to become manager of the Giants. This hire was not without controversy. Not only was the mid-season switch unusual, but Durocher had been accused of gambling in 1947 and subsequently suspended for the entire 1947 season by Baseball Commissioner Albert "Happy" Chandler. Durocher remained at the helm of the Giants through the 1955 season, and those eight years proved to be some of the most memorable for Giants fans, particularly because of the arrival of Willie Mays and arguably the two most famous plays in Giants' history.
1951: The "Shot Heard 'Round the World"
One of the most famous episodes in Major League Baseball history, the "Shot Heard 'Round the World" is the name given to Bobby Thomson's walk-off home run that clinched the National League pennant for the Giants over their rivals, the Brooklyn Dodgers. This game was the deciding one of a three-game playoff ending one of baseball's most memorable pennant races. The Giants had been thirteen and a half games behind the league-leading Dodgers in August, but under Durocher's guidance and with the aid of a sixteen-game winning streak, caught the Dodgers to tie for the lead on the last day of the season.
Mays' catch and the 1954 Series
In game one of the 1954 World Series at the Polo Grounds against the Cleveland Indians, Willie Mays made "The Catch"—a dramatic over-the-shoulder catch of a fly ball by Vic Wertz to deep center field. At the time the game was tied 2–2 in the eighth inning, with men on first and second and nobody out. Mays caught the ball 450 ft (140 m) from the plate, whirled and threw the ball to the infield, keeping the lead runner, Larry Doby, from scoring.
The underdog Giants went on to sweep the series in four straight, despite the Indians having won a then-American League record 111 games that year. The 1954 World Series title would be their last appearance in the World Series as the New York Giants, as the team moved to San Francisco just prior to the 1958 season.
Memorable New York Giants of the 1950s
In addition to Bobby Thomson and Willie Mays, other memorable members of the Giants teams during the 1950s include: Hall of Fame manager Leo Durocher, coach Herman Franks, Hall of Fame outfielder Monte Irvin, outfielder and runnerup for the 1954 NL batting championship (won by Willie Mays) Don Mueller, Hall of Fame knuckleball relief pitcher Hoyt Wilhelm, starting pitchers Larry Jansen, Sal Maglie, Jim Hearn, Marv Grissom, Dave Koslo, Don Liddle, Max Lanier, Rubén Gómez, and Johnny Antonelli, catcher Wes Westrum, catchers Ray Katt and Sal Yvars, shortstop Alvin Dark, third baseman Hank Thompson, first baseman Whitey Lockman, second basemen Davey Williams and Eddie Stanky, outfielder, pitcher Clint Hartung, Hall of Fame second baseman Red Schoendienst and utility players: Bill Rigney, Daryl Spencer, Bobby Hofman, and Dusty Rhodes among others. In the late 1950s and after the move to San Francisco two Hall of Fame First Basemen Orlando Cepeda and Willie McCovey joined the team.
1957: The move to California
The Giants' final three years in New York City were unmemorable. They stumbled to third place the year after their World Series win and attendance fell off precipitously. While seeking a new stadium to replace the crumbling Polo Grounds, the Giants began to contemplate a move from New York, initially considering Metropolitan Stadium in Minneapolis-Saint Paul, which was home to their top farm team, the Minneapolis Millers. Under the rules of the time, the Giants' ownership of the Millers gave them priority rights to a major league team in the area.
At this time, the Giants were approached by San Francisco mayor George Christopher. Despite objections from shareholders such as Joan Whitney Payson, majority owner Horace Stoneham entered into negotiations with San Francisco officials at around the same time that the Dodgers' owner Walter O'Malley was courting the city of Los Angeles. O'Malley had been told that the Dodgers would not be allowed to move to Los Angeles unless a second team moved to California as well. He pushed Stoneham toward relocation. And so it was in the summer of 1957 that both the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers announced their moves to California, and the golden age of baseball in the New York area had ended.
New York would remain a one-team town with the New York Yankees until 1962 when Joan Whitney Payson founded the New York Mets and brought National League baseball back to the city. Payson and M. Donald Grant, who became the Mets' chairman, had been the only Giants board members to vote against the Giants' move to California. The "NY" script on the Giants' caps and the orange trim on their uniforms, along with the blue background used by the Dodgers, would be adopted by the Mets – something of a compromise between the colors of both the Giants and the Dodgers.
1958: The San Francisco Giants history begins
As with the New York years, the Giants' fortunes in San Francisco have been mixed. Though recently the club has enjoyed relatively sustained success, there have also been prolonged stretches of mediocrity, along with two instances when the club's ownership threatened to move the team away from San Francisco.
1958–61: Seals Stadium and Candlestick Park
When the Giants moved to San Francisco, they played in Seals Stadium for their first two seasons. The stadium, which was located at 16th & Bryant St. across from the Stempel's Bakery, had been the home of the Pacific Coast League (PCL) San Francisco Seals, a minor league affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, from 1931 to 1957. In 1958, Latino hitter Orlando Cepeda won Rookie of the Year honors. In 1959, Willie McCovey won the same award.
In 1960, the Giants moved to Candlestick Park (sometimes known simply as "The 'Stick"), a stadium built on Candlestick Point in San Francisco's southeast corner overlooking San Francisco Bay. The new stadium quickly became known for its strong, swirling winds, cold temperatures, and thick evening fog that made for a formidable experience for brave fans and players. The park had a built-in radiant heating system, but it never worked. Candlestick Park's reputation was sealed in the ninth inning of the first 1961 All-Star Game when, after a day of calm conditions, the winds rose. A strong gust appeared to cause Giants relief pitcher Stu Miller to slip off the pitching rubber during his delivery, resulting in a balk (and a baseball legend that Miller was "blown off the mound").
There were also many times that Candlestick Park was covered in fog, both inside and out, coming in from the ocean seven miles to the west (through what is known as the "Alemany Gap," a type of wide gorge through which the ocean winds come without major topographical obstacles). At one time, a fog horn was played inside the stadium between innings giving Candlestick another reputation. Other times, the winds would also whirl around in the parking lot, but inside the stadium it would be calm. Even with its reputation of being cold, windy, and foggy, it stood its ground when the ground below it shook violently during the 1989 World Series. At 5:04 p.m., the Loma Prieta Earthquake shook the San Francisco Bay Area during the pre-game ceremonies before Game 3. For 15 seconds the stadium rocked and there was fear that the standing light fixtures above would fall onto the crowd. However, only minor injuries were reported, and the stadium's structure was deemed safe ten days later.
1962 World Series
In 1962, after another memorable pennant chase with the Dodgers which resulted in a playoff series which the Giants won, the Giants brought a World Series to San Francisco. However, the Giants lost the series four games to three to the New York Yankees. The seventh game went to the bottom of the ninth inning, with the Yankees ahead 1–0. With Matty Alou on first base and two outs, Willie Mays sliced a double down the right field line. Right fielder Roger Maris, quickly got to the ball and rifled a throw to the infield, preventing Alou from scoring the tying run (he only reached 3rd base).
With the speedy Mays on second, any base hit by the next batter, Willie McCovey, would likely win the series for the Giants. McCovey hit a screaming line drive that was snared by second baseman Bobby Richardson, bringing the Series to a sudden end. Earlier in the inning, a failed sacrifice bunt by Felipe Alou had ultimately resulted in his brother Matty not scoring on Mays' double. In addition, Richardson was not originally positioned to catch the drive – he only moved there (three steps to the left) in reaction to a foul smash by McCovey on the previous pitch.
Giants fan (and resident of nearby Santa Rosa) Charles Schulz made a reference to the real world in one of his Peanuts strips soon afterward. In the first three panels of the strip of December 22, Charlie Brown and Linus are sitting on a porch step, looking glum. In the last panel, Charlie cries to the heavens, "Why couldn't McCovey have hit the ball just three feet higher?" Some weeks later, the same scene appears. This time, Charlie cries, "Or why couldn't McCovey have hit the ball just two feet higher?"
1963–84: Always a bridesmaid, never the bride
Although the Giants did not play in another World Series until 1989, the teams of the 1960s continued to be pennant contenders thanks to several future Hall-of-Famers. These included Gaylord Perry, who pitched a no-hitter with the Giants in 1968; Juan Marichal, a pitcher with a memorable high-kicking delivery; McCovey, who won the National League MVP award in 1969, and Mays, who hit his 600th career home run in 1969. A Giants highlight came in 1963 when Jesús Alou joined the team, and along with Felipe and Matty formed the first all-brother outfield in Major League history. In 1967 the Giants had their first Cy Young Award winner in Mike McCormick.
The Giants' next appearance in the postseason came in 1971. After winning their division, they were easily defeated in the League Championship Series by the Pittsburgh Pirates and Roberto Clemente, who then went on to beat the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series.
During this decade, the Giants gave up many players who became successful elsewhere. Some of them included Garry Maddox, George Foster, Dave Kingman, and Gaylord Perry. However, the Giants did produce two more Rookie of the Year winners (Gary Matthews Sr. in 1973 and John Montefusco in 1975).
In 1976, Bob Lurie bought the team, saving it from being moved to Toronto. Toronto was awarded an expansion team called the Blue Jays, but San Francisco baseball fans' worries about losing their beloved Giants had not completely gone away just yet. The rest of the 1970s was a generally disappointing time for the Giants, as they finished no higher than third place in any season. That third place season was 1978. They had a young star in the likes of Jack Clark, along with veteran first baseman Willie McCovey, second baseman Bill Madlock (whom the Giants had acquired from the Chicago Cubs,) shortstops Johnnie LeMaster and Roger Metzger, and third baseman Darrell Evans. Veteran pitchers Vida Blue, John Montefusco, Ed Halicki, and Bob Knepper rounded out the starting rotation with Vida Blue leading the way with eighteen victories. The most memorable moment of that 1978 season occurred on May 28, 1978, when pinch hitter Mike Ivie, acquired from the San Diego Padres during the offseason for Darrel Thomas, hit a towering grand slam off of Dodgers pitching ace Don Sutton in front of Candlestick Park's highest paid attendance of 58,545. They were atop of the NL West for most of the season, but the Dodgers heated up to eventually win the West and the NL Pennant.
In time for the 1979 season, Candlestick was converted back to grass.
In 1981, the Giants became the first National League team to hire a black manager, Frank Robinson. However, Robinson's tenure lasted less than four years and was generally unsuccessful. In that tenure, the Giants finished a game over .500 in the strike-shortened 1981 season. The next season, the Giants acquired veterans Joe Morgan and Reggie Smith. They were in the midst of a three-team pennant race with the Dodgers and Braves. Morgan hit a homer against the Dodgers on the final day of the season to make sure Atlanta won the NL West.
1985–89: Nadir and resurrection
The 1985 Giants lost 100 games (the most in franchise history), and owner Bob Lurie responded by hiring Al Rosen as general manager. Under Rosen's tenure, the Giants promoted promising rookies such as Will Clark and Robby Thompson, and made canny trades to acquire such players as Kevin Mitchell, Dave Dravecky, Candy Maldonado, and Rick Reuschel.
New manager Roger Craig served from 1985 to 1992. In Craig's first five full seasons with the Giants, the team never finished with a losing record.
Under Roger Craig's leadership (and his unique motto, "Humm Baby") the Giants won 83 games in 1986 and won the National League Western Division title in 1987. The team lost the 1987 National League Championship Series to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games. The one bright spot in that defeat was Giants outfielder Jeffrey Leonard, who was named the series MVP in a losing effort. In Leonard's own faltering words, the prize money ($50,000) meant nothing to him. He would have given anything to be going up north to play the Minnesota Twins in the 1987 World Series.
1989: The "Thrill", World Series and the Earthquake
Although the team used fifteen different starting pitchers, the 1989 Giants won the National League pennant. They were led by pitchers Rick Reuschel (1989 National League All-Star Game Starter) and Scott Garrelts (the 1989 National League ERA champion) and sluggers Kevin Mitchell (the 1989 National League MVP) and Will Clark.
The Giants beat the Chicago Cubs in the National League Championship Series, four games to one. In Game 5, eventual 1989 NLCS MVP Will Clark (who hit .650, drove in eight runs, including a grand slam off Greg Maddux in Game 1) came through in the clutch with a bases-loaded single off of the hard-throwing Mitch Williams to break a 1–1 tie in the bottom of the eighth inning. In the top of the 9th inning, Steve Bedrosian was shaky as he gave up a run. But ultimately, Bedrosian was able to get Ryne Sandberg to ground-out for out #3. Fittingly, the hero of Game 5, Will Clark caught the final out from second baseman Robby Thompson. For the first time in twenty-seven years, the San Francisco Giants were the champions of the National League.
After taking care of the Cubs, the Giants faced the Oakland Athletics in the "Bay Bridge Series". The series is best remembered because the Loma Prieta earthquake on October 17, 1989, disrupted the planned Game 3 of the series at Candlestick Park. After a ten-day delay in the series, Oakland finished up its sweep of San Francisco. The Giants never would hold a lead in any of the 4 games and never even managed to send the tying run to the plate in their last at-bat.
1992: Farewell San Francisco?
Following the 1989 World Series defeat to the Oakland A's, a local ballot initiative to fund a new stadium in San Francisco failed, threatening the franchise's future in the city. After the 1992 season, owner Bob Lurie, who had previously saved the franchise from moving to Toronto in 1976, put the team up for sale. A group of investors from St. Petersburg led by Vince Naimoli reached an agreement to purchase the team and move them to the Tampa Bay Area, but National League owners voted against the acquisition. Wally Haas, the owner of the Oakland Athletics at the time, agreed to grant the Giants exclusive rights to the South Bay so the Giants could explore all potential local sites for a new stadium and at least help to keep the team in the Bay Area. The team was instead sold to an ownership group including managing general partner Peter Magowan, the former CEO of Safeway, Harmon Burns, and his wife, Sue.
In addition to the anticipated move to downtown San Francisco, the Giants' ownership also made a major personnel move to solidify fan support. Before even hiring a new General Manager or officially being approved as the new owners, Magowan signed superstar free agent Barry Bonds (a move which MLB initially blocked until some terms were negotiated to protect Lurie and Bonds in case the sale failed).
1993: "The last pure pennant race"
The Barry Bonds era began auspiciously as Bonds put up the numbers for the third MVP of his career: 46 homers, 129 runs and 123 RBI, (.336 BA, .458 OBP, .677 SLG, for a total of 1.135 OPS), all career highs. Matt Williams was very good (38 HR, 110 RBI, .294 BA), with Robby Thompson and Will Clark (in his last season with the Giants) providing offensive support. John Burkett and Bill Swift both had 20+ wins, and closer Rod Beck was dominant with 48 saves and a 2.16 ERA. All this led the Giants to a 103–59 record in Dusty Baker's first year as manager, which earned him the Manager of the Year award.
But despite the Giants' great record, the Atlanta Braves — fueled by solid seasons from David Justice, Ron Gant, Deion Sanders and their midseason acquisition of Fred McGriff from the San Diego Padres — came back from a ten-game deficit to the Giants to win the NL West by a single game. The Braves also had 20+ wins from both Tom Glavine and Cy Young Award winner Greg Maddux.
Desperately needing a win against the Dodgers in the final game of the year to force a one-game playoff with the Braves in San Francisco, the controversial choice of Giants rookie pitcher Salomon Torres proved disastrous as he gave up three runs in the first four innings and the Giants went on to lose the game 12–1. After MLB's establishment of the three-division–Wild Card playoff format following the 1993 season, New York Times sports columnist Dave Anderson captured the feeling of many baseball purists regarding the thrilling (and for Giants fans, heartbreaking) winner-take-all outcome as the "last pure pennant race."
The period of 1994 to 1996 was not good for the Giants, punctuated by the strike that canceled the rest of the 1994 baseball season and the World Series. The strike denied Matt Williams a chance to beat Roger Maris's single season home run record—he had 43 HR in 115 team games, and was thus on pace for 60 when the strike hit with 47 games left to play (Bonds had 37, on pace for 52). But the rest of the team was bad, with no other player having even 10 home runs or even 40 RBI that late into the season.
The Giants came in last place in both 1995 and 1996, as key injuries and slumps hurt them. 1995 had a strange feeling about it, with fans unsure if they would come back after the strike-shortened 1994 season (something that would keep attendances notably lower for a few more years, probably until the HR chase of 1998). Bonds continued to be the team's driving force, posting fantastic numbers, with the highest WAR among position players in the National League (33 HR, 104 RBI, 109 R and 120 BB in 144 games). Matt Williams and Glenallen Hill were the only other Giants with 20+ HR, and the rest of the team had mediocre offensive numbers. The pitching staff was bad, with only Mark Leiter having 10 wins (10–12, 3.82 ERA). Rod Beck had 33 saves, but a 4.45 ERA and a 5–6 record, including nine blown saves.
1996 was highlighted by Barry Bonds joining the 40–40 club (42 HR, 40 SB, with 129 RBI, 151 BB and .308 BA). Rookie Bill Mueller also provided hope for the future of the club with a .330 average (66 hits in 200 AB over 55 games). Matt Williams and Glenallen Hill provided offensive support. Pitching-wise, the team was not very good. Only Mark Gardner had more than 10 wins (12–7, 4.42 ERA), and Rod Beck had 35 saves, a 3.34 ERA and nine losses on his record. The low point came in late June when the Giants lost 10 straight games en route to a 68–94 record.
After three consecutive losing seasons, the Giants named Brian Sabean as their new general manager in 1997, replacing Bob Quinn. (Sabean may have been acting as GM prior to the announcement, as he was rumored to have engineered the deal to get Kirk Rueter from the Montreal Expos). His tenure began with great controversy. In his first official trade as GM, he shocked Giants fans by trading Matt Williams to Cleveland for what newspapers referred to as a 'bunch of spare parts', with the negative reaction being great enough for him to have to publicly explain: "I didn't get to this point by being an idiot... I'm sitting here telling you there is a plan."
Sabean was proven right, as the players he acquired in the Williams trade—Jeff Kent, Jose Vizcaino, Julian Tavarez, and Joe Roa (plus the $1 million in cash that enabled them to sign Darryl Hamilton)—and a subsequent trade for J.T. Snow were major contributors in leading the Giants to win their first NL West division title of the decade in 1997. Snow, Kent, and Bonds each had over 100 RBI, and pitcher Shawn Estes' 19 wins led the team. Rod Beck had 37 saves.
The 1997 baseball season also saw the introduction of interleague play. The Giants faced the four American League West teams that year: Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, Anaheim Angels and the Oakland A's, while compiling a 10–6 record.
In 1998, the Giants were fueled by good seasons from Jeff Kent and Barry Bonds, both with 30+ HR and 100+ RBI. Also having good seasons were pitchers Kirk Reuter (16–9 W-L record, 4.36 ERA), Mark Gardner (13–6, 4.33) and newly acquired Orel Hershiser (11–10, 4.41). New closer Robb Nen had 40 saves. The Giants tied for the NL Wild card but lost a one-game playoff against the Chicago Cubs (at Wrigley Field, Chicago).
The next year, (1999), saw the Giants finish second in the NL West with an 86–76 record. Barry Bonds's production dropped as he hit .262, his lowest average in a decade. He did however hit 34 home runs while missing more than one-third of the season due to injury, and other team regulars put up very good numbers in support. These included J.T. Snow, Jeff Kent, Rich Aurilia, and Ellis Burks, all who had 20+ HR and 80+ RBI. Marvin Benard also had a career year in center field with 16 home runs, 64 RBIs, and a career and team high 27 stolen bases. The pitching staff was paced by Russ Ortiz (18–9, 3.81) and Kirk Reuter (15–10, 5.41).
With the knowledge that their days in Candlestick Park were coming to an end, the 1999 season ended with a series of promotions and tributes. After the final game of the season, a defeat to the Los Angeles Dodgers, home plate was ceremoniously removed and taken to the new grounds where the downtown stadium was being built.
2000–01: Downtown Baseball Begins
In 2000, after forty years at Candlestick Park, the Giants bid a bittersweet farewell to their old home and privately financed a downtown stadium, a long-advocated move. AT&T Park (originally Pacific Bell Park and later SBC Park) sits on the shores of China Basin (often referred to as McCovey Cove by Giants fans) at the corner of 3rd and King Streets (with an official address of 24 Willie Mays Plaza to honor the long-time Giant). Regardless of anything that might happen on the field of play, this move represented an entirely new era for the Giants and their fans. Whereas the team used to occupy a stadium that was a throwback to the era of suburban, multi-purpose, concrete "cookie-cutter" stadiums that so many teams moved to during the 1960s and 70s, their new home is regarded as one of the better venues in all of professional sports. Even so, as part of the intense rivalry with the Los Angeles Dodgers, some Dodger fans derisively refer to AT&T Park as "The Phone Booth," owing to its current and former names (Pac Bell Park, SBC Park).
The Giants routinely sell out this nearly 43,000-seat stadium, whereas it was not uncommon for them to have a paid attendance of less than 10,000 in Candlestick's nearly 60,000 seating capacity, although by the 1999 season the Giants managed about 25,000 fans a game. The franchise since the move annually vies for highest MLB season attendance, in contrast to being often threatened with having the league-low figure before. While still breezy in the summer time in comparison to other MLB parks, AT&T Park has been a consensus success and has developed the reputation as a "pitcher's park." Its state-of-the-art design minimizes wind-chill, it is well served by mass transit, and it has spectacular views of the bay and the city skyline, a trait that had been missing from Candlestick Park since its redesign in the early 1970s to accommodate the 49ers. AT&T Park is the centerpiece of a renaissance in San Francisco's South Beach and Mission Bay neighborhoods.
Despite inaugural game festivities at the new ballpark, the Dodgers would spoil the 2000 season opener, with a three HR performance by little-known Kevin Elster. However, the Giants would rebound and put out a solid effort all season long, culminating with a division title and the best record in the Major Leagues. Jeff Kent paced the attack with clutch RBI hits (33 HR, 125 RBI) en route to winning the MVP award, despite Bonds's 49 HR, 106 RBI season (Bonds finished second in MVP voting to Kent). The pitching staff was decent but not great, although 5 starters had at least 10 victories. These included Liván Hernández (17–11, 3.75), Russ Ortiz (14–12, 5.01), Kirk Rueter (11–9, 3.96), Shawn Estes (15–6, 4.26), and Mark Gardner (11–7, 4.05). Robb Nen was nearly perfect, with 41 saves and a minute 1.50 ERA.
The Giants lost the 2000 division series to the New York Mets, three games to one. They had started out solid, winning game one bolstered by Liván Hernández. However, the Mets won the next three games, despite decent performances by Shawn Estes, Russ Ortiz and Mark Gardner. Game two in particular had a tumultuous ending. Down 4–1 in the ninth, J.T. Snow hit a three-run home run to tie the game; but the Mets won the game anyway by scoring in the tenth inning.
In 2001 the Giants were eliminated from playoff contention on the second to last day of the season. Rich Aurilia put up stellar numbers (37 HR, 97 RBI, .324 BA) in support of Barry Bonds, who once again gave fans something to cheer about as he hit 73 home runs, setting a new single-season record. The pitching staff was good but not great, with Russ Ortiz (17–9, 3.29) leading a staff that also had Liván Hernández (13–15, 5.24), and Kirk Reuter (14–12, 4.42). Shawn Estes and Mark Gardner would have sub-par years, but notably Jason Schmidt (7–1, 3.39) was picked up in a mid-season acquisition from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Robb Nen continued to be a dominant closer (45 saves, 3.01 ERA).
2002: National League Championship Season and World Series
In the 2002 season, the Giants finished 2nd in the NL West behind the Arizona Diamondbacks, bolstered by another MVP season for Barry Bonds (46 HR, 110 RBI, .370 BA, a then-record 198 walks and a .582 OBP) and Jeff Kent (37 HR, 108 RBI and .313 BA). Additional roster support was provided by decent seasons from Benito Santiago and Rich Aurilia, plus new acquisitions David Bell, Reggie Sanders and Tsuyoshi Shinjo, who spent only one season with the Giants before returning to Japan. The pitching staff again proved solid, with five starters having 12 wins or more, including Jason Schmidt, who the Giants acquired in 2001 from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Closer Robb Nen had 43 saves and a 2.20 ERA, and setup men Felix Rodriguez and Tim Worrell were solid coming out of the bullpen.
The Giants would make the playoffs as the NL Wild Card team. They went on to defeat the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS three games to two, with Russ Ortiz winning Games 1 and 5 in Atlanta. In the NLCS, they went on to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals four games to one, with wins by Reuter, Schmidt and two by Worrell in relief. Benito Santiago went on to win the MVP award in the NLCS.
The Giants then went on to face the American League's Wild Card team, the Anaheim Angels, now known as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, in the World Series. Since its inception, this was the first time that two wildcard teams met in a World Series. The Giants split the first two games in Anaheim and took two of three at Pac Bell Park. With the Giants leading the series three games to two following a 16–4 blowout win in Game 5 at Pac Bell Park, the series shifted back to Anaheim. With the Giants leading 5–0 going into the bottom of the 7th inning of Game 6, the series' momentum changed decisively when then Manager Dusty Baker removed starter Russ Ortiz and handed him the "game" ball as he left the mound. Moments later, Scott Spiezio hit a three-run home run for the Angels off reliever Felix Rodriguez, and went on to win the game 6–5. The following night, Anaheim won Game 7, 4–1 to claim the Series. Angels third baseman Troy Glaus was named MVP.
After the 2002 season, the Giants would go through many personnel changes. After ten seasons, manager Dusty Baker did not have his contract renewed. Closer Robb Nen had pitched despite a damaged shoulder, an injury which eventually ended his career (retired), and Jeff Kent was not re-signed (he went to play for the Houston Astros). Position players David Bell, Reggie Sanders, Tsuyoshi Shinjo and Kenny Lofton, as well as pitchers Liván Hernández, Russ Ortiz and relief pitcher Aaron Fultz all played for other teams the following season.
2003: Wire to wire
After two consecutive close second place finishes, the Giants, under new manager Felipe Alou, recorded 100 victories for the seventh time in franchise history and the third time in San Francisco, winning their division for the third time in seven seasons. The team spent every day of the season in first place, just the ninth team to do so in baseball history. Their offense was paced by yet another MVP season from Bonds (45 HR, 90 RBI, .341 BA, 148 BB, and an OBP of .529). Decent offensive support was provided by Rich Aurilia, Marquis Grissom, Jose Cruz Jr., Edgardo Alfonzo, Benito Santiago, Pedro Feliz and Andres Galarraga. The pitching staff was led by Jason Schmidt (17–5, 2.34 ERA) and Kirk Rueter (10–5, 4.53), but had a dropoff after that, as no other starter had 10 wins.
Once again in the playoffs, and just like in 1997, the Giants faced the Florida Marlins in the NLDS. Jason Schmidt won game one in San Francisco with a complete game victory, but the Marlins would win the series three games to one as the Giants bullpen proved unable to prevent their opponent from scoring.
2004–06: Playoff drought
In 2004, Barry Bonds broke his own records with 232 walks and a .609 OBP on route to his 7th and last NL MVP award (45 HR, 101 RBI, .362 BA). The team also had a solid but not stellar supporting cast including Marquis Grissom (22, 90, .279) and Pedro Feliz (22, 84, .276), along with decent showings by Ray Durham, Edgardo Alfonzo, Michael Tucker and AJ Pierzynski. Jason Schmidt was the star of the staff (18–7, 3.20 ERA, 251 SO), and the team was constantly looking for a new closer (Matt Herges and Dustin Hermanson split the role during the season). After sitting out most of the first half of the season, J.T. Snow led the league in hitting after the All-Star Break.
As in 1993 and 2001, the Giants again avoided elimination from playoff contention until the final weekend of the season. The team would come close but still finished two games behind the division-winning Los Angeles Dodgers, marking the third time in four seasons the Giants would finish within 2½ games of the leader. The season ended in frustration, as San Francisco needed a three-game sweep of the Dodgers in the final weekend of the season to force a one-game playoff in San Francisco for the NL West title. After winning the first game, the Giants lost the second game 7–3 (L.A. scored seven runs in the 9th, the last four on a walkoff grand slam by Steve Finley) as the Dodgers clinched the division title. Houston won the wildcard spot the next day, rendering the Giants' season finale victory meaningless.
The Giants' 2005 season was the team's least successful since moving to its new stadium. Bonds missed most of the season with a knee injury, closer Armando Benitez was injured for four months, and ace Jason Schmidt struggled after numerous injuries. However, team management has taken advantage of the off year to give playing time to numerous young players, including pitchers Noah Lowry, Brad Hennessey, Kevin Correia, Scott Munter, Matt Cain, and Jeremy Accardo, as well as first baseman Lance Niekro and outfielders Jason Ellison and Todd Linden. The acquisition of Randy Winn from the Seattle Mariners also proved invaluable in the stretch run.
On May 25, the Giants held a celebration in honor of Baseball Hall of Famer Juan Marichal. A statue of Marichal was dedicated on the plaza outside of the ballpark. Leonel Fernández, the President of the Dominican Republic, was in attendance. In the two games which followed the ceremonies, the Giants wore uniforms with the word "Gigantes" on the front (the Spanish word for "Giants"). On July 14, 2005, the franchise won their 10,000th contest defeating their long-time rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers, 4–3, becoming the first professional sports franchise to have five digits in its winning total.
On September 28, the Giants were officially eliminated from the NL West race after losing to the division champion San Diego Padres. The team finished the season in third place, with a record of 75–87, their worst season—and first losing record—since 1996. Despite the disappointing finish, manager Felipe Alou was offered a one-year extension of his contract by Giants management.
The Giants were expected to contend in 2006, as they were bolstered by a strong starting staff. Despite a losing streak in May, and the worst batting performance by Barry Bonds in about fifteen years the Giants did contend in the less-than-stellar Western Division and by July 23 were in first place. On that day, however, during the last game of a home stand and leading San Diego going into the ninth inning, closer Armando Benitez blew a save by giving up a home run and the Giants lost in extra innings. That was the first loss of a horrendous three-week stretch that saw San Francisco go 3–16, losing nine games by one run.
At the end of August the Giants recovered to again contend for both the division crown and the Wild Card berth. Bonds returned to form after his legs healed (batting .400—34 for 85—in 27 games from August 21 to September 23), the starting staff pitched well enough to lead the National League in ERA among starters, and the team found an effective closer in Mike Stanton, acquired in a trade at the end of July. However on the final road trip of the season the Giants lost eight of nine games to fall out of all contention for post-season play, despite an offensive explosion by both Bonds and right-fielder Moisés Alou. The starting staff collapsed, bombed in all nine games, and Giants pitching gave up 93 runs on the trip (by comparison, the Giants gave up 86 runs during the 19-game losing span in August), and the Giants were "officially eliminated" on September 25, and finished the season with a record of 76–85, just 1½ games better than the previous season.
On October 2, 2006, the day after the end of the regular season, the Giants announced that they would not renew the contract of manager Felipe Alou, but did extend him an offer to remain with the club in an advisory role to the general manager and to baseball operations.
2007: End of the Bonds era
With eleven free agents excluding Jason Schmidt who signed with the Dodgers for roughly $15 million a year, a new manager on board with Bruce Bochy coming from division rival San Diego, and the loss of veteran catcher Mike Matheny due to complications resulting from concussions sustained during his career, the Giants' prospects for the 2007 season were less than favorable going into the winter off-season. Since then, the team has agreed to several deals—resigning Pedro Feliz, Ray Durham, and old time Giants fans favorite Rich Aurilia, and picking up catcher Bengie Molina, Ryan Klesko, and Dave Roberts. They also signed free agent pitcher Barry Zito to a seven year contract worth $126 million. The deal, which was the richest contract for a pitcher in baseball history, includes a $20 million player option for an eighth year. On January 9, 2007, the Giants resigned pitcher Russ Ortiz to compete for the fifth starting position in spring training. Ortiz was slotted for the position in late March due to his outstanding spring.
The Giants started off the regular season slow, had spurts of promise but more often stretches of mediocre to worse play. Pitching was often inconsistent or the offense was non-existent (such as during a pair of 1–0 losses for losing pitcher Matt Cain).
The season did have memorable action, such as the Giants playing the Red Sox in Boston for the first time since 1912. Most notable during the season, however, was Bonds march towards Hank Aaron's career home run record of 755. Bonds's proximity to the record brought heavy media attention to the San Francisco Giants.
On July 27, in the first inning of the Giants' three game series against the Florida Marlins, Bonds hit his 754th career home run. Also contributing to the Giants' 12–10 victory was pinch-hitter Mark Sweeney, who moved ahead of Manny Mota on the all time pinch hits list with a clutch RBI single in the sixth inning.
Leading off in the top of the second inning of game two versus the Padres, before a sell-out crowd at PETCO Park, Barry Bonds hit a high fastball off the facing of the upper deck in left field for his 755th career home run. The opposite-field shot tied the game at 1–1 and tied Hank Aaron for the all-time home run record. The Giants lost in extra innings, this time by a score of 2–3.
In the bottom of the fifth inning at home against the Nationals on August 7, 2007, Bonds hit his 756th home run which caused a melee in the crowd. Hank Aaron appeared on the big screen and congratulated Bonds. The Giants went on to lose the game 8–6.
The discouraging theme of 2007 would continue as solid pitching was not backed up with offense. Tim Lincecum held the Chicago Cubs to two hits through eight innings on August 21, but the team scored only one run, losing to the Cubs by a score of 5–1.
On September 22, 2007, the Giants officially announced that the team would not re-sign Barry Bonds for the 2008 season. After much speculation and debate, owner Peter Magowan announced Bonds's departure at a press conference, stressing the fact that the Giants needed to get younger and start fielding a more efficient offense.
Barry Bonds played his last game as a San Francisco Giant on September 26, 2007. He went 0 for 3, driving a ball that was caught at the warning track in left-center field in his final at bat.
2008: Without Bonds
The 2008 season marked the first year that Barry Bonds was not a member of the team since first signing with them in 1992. The Giants signed former Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Aaron Rowand to a 5-year, $60 million contract. Barry Zito once again got off to a poor start, losing his first eight decisions. However, the team found hope in pitcher Tim Lincecum. After going 7–5 in his first stint in 2007 with the Giants, he exploded onto the scene this year winning four straight before losing his 1st game of the year on April 29, 2008, to the Colorado Rockies. Lincecum was selected to the 2008 MLB All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium but was unable to pitch due to being hospitalized with flu-like symptoms. He went on to win the 2008 NL Cy Young Award, finishing at 18–5. He was the first Giant to do so since Mike McCormick won it in 1967. The Giants finished the season in fourth place in the NL West with a record of 72–90.
2009: A mix of the Old and the New
During the off season, the Giants strengthened their pitching staff by acquiring veteran starting pitcher Randy Johnson and relievers Bobby Howry and Jeremy Affeldt. The Giants also signed infielders Edgar Renteria and Juan Uribe. Despite these new acquisitions however, questions still lingered about the teams offensive abilities and whether they would be able to contend. Nonetheless, the team compiled a 49–39 record by the 2009 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, good enough for second place in the NL West.
In addition to the team's overall performance, the first half of the season provided several memorable moments for the players themselves. Highlights included Johnson earning his 300th career victory, becoming the twenty-fourth pitcher in Major League history to do so, as well as struggling starter Jonathan Sánchez tossing a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres on July 10, the first Giants no-hitter since 1976 when John Montefusco no-hit the Braves. 2009's pitching staff will go down as one of the strongest starting rotations in Giants history.
The Giants sent two of their starting pitchers to the All-Star Game. Matt Cain, who did not pitch due to a minor elbow injury, and Tim Lincecum, who was chosen to be the starting pitcher for the National League. It was Lincecum's 2nd straight all-star game appearance and Cain's 1st. The Giants narrowly missed sending a third player the game, as third baseman Pablo Sandoval was a leading contender to be the fan's vote for the final roster spot. However the vote went to Philadelphia Phillies' outfielder Shane Victorino.
On July 10, Jonathan Sánchez, spot starting in place of an injured Randy Johnson and on his first start upon returning to the starting rotation after a brief demotion to the bullpen, threw a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres. Sánchez issued no walks (the only runner reached on an error by third baseman Juan Uribe) and struck out a career-high eleven hitters in the game, which was also his first major league complete game and shutout and the first no-hitter ever thrown at AT&T Park. He threw 110 pitches to complete the game, with a final score of 8–0 for the Giants.
On July 19, the club announced that Sue Burns, the team's senior general partner who was a virtual fixture in her seat adjacent to the Giants' dugout, died early Sunday morning of cancer. She was 58. Burns was the widow of Harmon Burns, who died in November 2006 at age 61. A financier in the San Francisco Bay Area, Harmon Burns was a key member of the investor group that purchased the Giants from Bob Lurie after the 1992 season and prevented them from moving to Tampa-St. Petersburg. On July 27, the Giants honored Burns in a pre-game ceremony in which Barry Bonds was also in attendance. In the game, ace pitcher Tim Lincecum struck out a career-high 15 batters and the Giants defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 4–2.
On July 20, the Giants traded one of their top prospects, double-a pitcher Tim Alderson, for Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Freddy Sanchez. Alderson was the first round pick in the 2007 draft and was ranked the number four prospect in the Giants organization by Baseball America, but Sanchez provided a much needed jump for the Giants offense. Sanchez ended the 2009 season batting .293 with 41 runs batted in and 22 walks.
On September 11, the Giants added another key player when they brought up Buster Posey from the Giants triple-a affiliate Fresno Grizzlies. Buster Posey was one of the most talked about minor league players throughout 2009, and played in seven games in the 2009 season. When playing college ball at Florida State University, he was the only player in college ball history to play every position in a single game. After the Giants traded Bengie Molina to the Rangers in June 2010, Posey replaced him as starting catcher.
On September 23, in beating the Diamondbacks 5–2, the Giants clinched a winning season at 82–70. This was their first winning season since 2004. On September 30, the Colorado Rockies' 10–6 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers eliminated the Giants from the Wild Card race for 2009.
The Giants completed the 2009 regular season at 88–74, 14 games above .500, winning 16 more games than the previous season. Finishing in third place in the NL West behind the Colorado Rockies and first-place Los Angeles Dodgers, the Giants moved up one spot from 2008. With the emergence of star player Pablo Sandoval alongside a dominant pitching staff, the Giants look forward to making the playoffs next year for the first time since 2003.
2010–present: New slogan, new team, new title
In 2010, in a season described with the slogan "Giants' Baseball: Torture" by broadcaster Duane Kuiper, the club won the National League Western Division title for the first time since 2003 after trailing the San Diego Padres most of the season. On July 4, after losing a four-game road series in Colorado, the Giants' record stood at 41–40 at the half-way point of the season. Boosted by a 21-game hitting streak by Posey, called up in May from AAA Fresno, the Giants then won 19 of the remaining 24 games in July. August saw a losing record of 13–15, as the club lost four series against the Braves, Padres, Phillies, and Cardinals. On August 25, despite overcoming a 10–1 deficit in the 5th inning, the Giants lost to the Reds in extra innings at home to drop 6.5 games behind San Diego. Three days later, following an 11–3 debacle at home against the Diamondbacks, Sabean and Bochy held a private meeting with the starting pitchers, who had gone 5–13 with a 5.56 ERA in August, including 14 straight starts without a win.
In September, the slogan for the Giants became "Fear the Beard" as they made their push for the playoffs. Brian Wilson and Sergio Romo grew out their facial hair, AT&T Park filled with "Fear the Beard" signs, and "There's Magic Inside" slogan took the place of the one from the previous season, "Yes We Can".
The Padres suffered a 10-game losing streak going into September and on the 5th, the Giants beat the Dodgers 3–0 to move to within a game of first place. Despite being shut out four times in ten games, the Giants recorded an 18–8 September to move into first by three games as the pitching staff achieved a team ERA of 1.78, the lowest in the National League in a September stretch run since the 1965 Dodgers. During their September run, the Giants' pitching staff allowed no more than 3 runs for 18 straight games, the longest single-season streak since 1920. The division title came down to the final three games of the year in October at home against San Diego, with the Giants clinching in the last regular season game, 3–0. Jonathan Sanchez, who had been ridiculed in August when he failed to make good a boast that the Giants would sweep the Padres, led the September charge with a 3–1 record and 1.17 ERA, and took the win in the clincher. Closer Brian Wilson finished the game for his franchise record-tying and major league-leading 48th save. In the second half of the season the Giants went 51–30. After a 9–20 first half against division opponents, the Giants won 29 of their remaining 43 division games.
2010 World Series Champions
At the beginning of the 2010 Major League Baseball season only one (Jim Caple of ESPN.com, although he later recanted his pick before the NLCS, saying the Philadelphia Phillies would beat the Giants and advance to the World Series) out of literally dozens of baseball writers and pundits picked the Giants to even reach the World Series, with most not expecting the Giants to even make the playoffs.
In the 2010 National League Division Series, the Giants defeated the Atlanta Braves three games to one, splitting at home and then sweeping them at Turner Field. Tim Lincecum won Game 1 with a memorable and record-setting 14-strikeout, 2-hit shutout performance. The clinching game was also notable as it was the final game of Atlanta's highly successful and venerated manager, Bobby Cox.
In the ensuing NLCS, the Giants took a 3–1 advantage over the Philadelphia Phillies, winning two games at home after splitting the first two at Philadelphia. Starting pitcher for the Giants Tim Lincecum rematched against the Phillies' Roy Halladay in Game 5. The Giants failed to beat Roy Halladay, losing 4–2, forcing a return trip to Philadelphia. In Game Six, the Giants beat Philadelphia by a final score of 3–2, to win the NLCS 4–2 and advance to face the Texas Rangers in the 2010 World Series. Because the National League won the All-Star Game, the Giants had home-field advantage in the World Series with the first two games in San Francisco, the next three games in Texas (the last if necessary), and the following two games (if necessary) back in San Francisco.
The first World Series game was a highly anticipated matchup between 2-time National League Cy Young Award winner (2008,2009) Tim Lincecum against the 2008 American League Cy Young award winner and heretofore undefeated in postseason play, Cliff Lee. The pitching matchup turned out to be a sideline, as the Giants won the first game of the World Series, 11–7, over the Rangers, backed by Freddy Sanchez's three doubles, setting a World Series record for being the first player to hit three consecutive doubles in their first three at bats. The game also saw the Giants set the record for the most runs (6) scored in a single half-inning in a World Series since 1933. The next day, the Giants won game 2 of the World Series, crushing the Rangers 9–0 after the Rangers walked 4 in a row and allowed 7 runs to the Giants in the 8th inning. Matt Cain also had a dominant game, pitching 72⁄3 innings without giving up a run. The Giants went on to lose Game 3 in Arlington, Texas 4–2 after a 3-run home run from Ranger's rookie, Mitch Moreland, in the second inning and a solo home run by Josh Hamilton in the fifth. Game 4 belonged to the Giants, as rookie left-handed pitcher Madison Bumgarner shut out the Rangers, 4–0, with home runs by Huff and Posey. The Giants, along with Tim Lincecum, won Game 5 by a score of 3–1. Lincecum outdueled Cliff Lee in an every-pitch-matters matchup that was scoreless until Renteria hit a stunning three-run homer with two outs in the seventh inning. Nelson Cruz homered in the bottom half, but Lincecum returned to his wicked self and preserved the lead. Brian Wilson was brought in to pitch the 9th and produced a scoreless inning, allowing San Francisco to bring out a series of firsts, not just for the Giants, but also for the city of San Francisco and the San Francisco Bay Area. Edgar Renteria was named World Series Most Valuable Player.
The firsts with the championship were:
- City of San Francisco:
- San Francisco Bay Area:
Overall the Giants have won 6 World championships (5 as the New York Giants, 1 as the San Francisco Giants), 21 pennants, 7 Western Division titles and 1 wild-card berth in the team's multiple post-season appearances. The San Francisco team has appeared in the post-season nine times in 53 years, going to the World Series four times (1962, 1989, 2002, and 2010).
In summing up the firsts with the championship, Larry Baer, the president of the Giants and a fourth generation resident of San Francisco, said that the team dedicated the championship to everyone who has worn a Giants uniform, and all Giants fans since the team's move to San Francisco, honoring 53 years of baseball in the city.
On November 15, 2010, Giants catcher Buster Posey was named NL Rookie of the Year.
The Giants' rivalry with the Los Angeles Dodgers dates back to when the two teams were based in New York, while the rivalry with the New York Yankees existed when the Giants were in New York. The rivalry with the Oakland Athletics dates back to when the Giants were in New York and the A's were in Philadelphia and was renewed in 1968, when the Athletics moved from Kansas City.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers–Giants rivalry is the longest-standing and one of the most storied rivalries in the history of baseball.
The feud between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the 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.
A geographic rivalry with the cross-bay American League Athletics has grown larger as a result of the two teams meeting in the 1989 World Series, nicknamed the "Battle of the Bay," which Oakland swept (and which was interrupted by the Loma Prieta Earthquake moments before Game 3). In addition, the introduction of interleague play in 1997 that has called for the teams to play each other about 6 times every season since 1997. This rivalry, once limited to spring-training games, is called "The Battle of the Bay" because the two teams play on opposite sides of the San Francisco Bay. They have played each other fairly evenly, despite differences that range from league, style of play, stadium, payroll, fan base stereotypes, media coverage, and World Series records—all of which have heightened the rivalry in recent years. Since the start of interleague play, the A's lead the series 34–28. The intensity of the rivalry and how it is understood varies among Bay Area fans. Some are fans of both teams. The "split hats" that feature the logos of both teams best embodies the shared fan base. Other Bay Area fans view the competition between the two teams as a "friendly rivalry" with little hatred.
This particular geographic rivalry is generally considered to be relatively friendly when compared to similar cases, including the Subway Series (New York Mets and New York Yankees), the Red Line Series (Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox), and the Freeway Series (Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim).
The Giants and A's enjoyed a limited rivalry at the start of the twentieth century prior to the emergence of the Yankees when the Giants were in New York and the A's were in Philadelphia. The teams were managed by managing legends John McGraw and Connie Mack, who were friendly rivals and considered to be the premier managers during that era. Each team played in 5 of the first 15 World Series (tying them with the Red Sox and Cubs for most World Series appearances during that time period). As the New York Giants and the Philadelphia A's, they met in three World Series, with the Giants winning in 1905, and the A's emerging victorious in 1911 and 1913. After becoming the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A's, they met in a fourth world series in 1989, the most recent championship for the A's.
Though in different leagues, the Giants historically have had a rivalry with the Yankees, beginning as a regional rivalry before the Giants moved to the West Coast. Before the institution of interleague play in 1997, the two teams would have little opportunity to play each other. However, they faced off in seven World Series, in 1921, 1922, 1923, 1936, 1937, 1951, and 1962. The Yankees won five of these series. The teams have only met twice in the regular season with the first meeting occurring in 2002 at the old Yankee Stadium. The teams met again at AT&T Park in 2007.
Baseball Hall of Famers
As of 2009, the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame has inducted 66 representatives of the Giants (55 players and 11 managers) into the Hall of Fame, more than any other team in the history of baseball. The Los Angeles Dodgers have the second most (45 players, 9 managers) and the Yankees with the third most (41 players, 11 managers).
San Francisco Giants Hall of Famers Affiliation according to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum New York Gothams/Giants San Francisco Giants
- Players listed in bold are depicted on their Hall of Fame plaques wearing a Giants or Gothams cap insignia.
- † – depicted on Hall of Fame plaque without a cap or cap insignia due to not wearing a cap or playing when caps had no insignia
- ‡ – depicted without a cap or cap insignia, but Hall of Fame recognizes New York Gothams/Giants as "Primary Team"
- 1 – inducted as player, also managed Giants or was player-manager
- 2 – inducted as manager, also played for Giants or was player-manager
Ford C. Frick Award recipients
Names in bold received the award based primarily on their work as Giants broadcasters.
* Played as Giants
The following inducted members of the Hall of Fame played and/or managed for the Giants, but either played for the Giants and were inducted as a manager having never managed the Giants, or managed the Giants and were inducted as a player having never played for the Giants:
- Cap Anson – inducted as player, managed Giants in 1898.
- Hughie Jennings – inducted as player, managed Giants from 1924 to 1925.
- Bill McKechnie – inducted as manager, played for Giants in 1939.
- Frank Robinson – inducted as player, managed Giants from 1981 to 1984.
- Casey Stengel – inducted as manager, played for Giants from 1921 to 1923.
Broadcasters Russ Hodges, Lon Simmons, and Jon Miller are permanently honored in the Hall's "Scribes & Mikemen" exhibit as a result of winning the Ford C. Frick Award in 1980, 2004, and 2010 respectively. As with all Frick Award winners, neither is officially recognized as an inducted member of the Hall of Fame.
San Francisco Giants Wall of Famers
In 1944, Hubbell became the first National Leaguer to have his number retired by his team.
Terry, Ott and Hubbell played/managed their entire careers for the New York Giants. Mays began his career in New York, moving with the Giants to San Francisco in 1958; he did not play in 1953 due to his service in the Korean War.
Although not officially retired, the team has not reissued number 25 since Barry Bonds left the team following the 2007 season.
John McGraw (3B, 1902–06; Manager, 1902–32) and Christy Mathewson (P, 1900–16), who were members of the New York Giants before the introduction of uniform numbers, have the letters "NY" displayed in place of a number.
Broadcasters Lon Simmons (1958–73, 1976–78, 1996–2002, 2006), Russ Hodges (1949–70), and Jon Miller (1997–current) are each represented by an old-style radio microphone displayed in place of a number.
* Retired throughout the major leagues; Robinson actually was traded to the Giants, but retired before playing a game for them.
All-time record: 10,595--9,111 (.538) (most wins in MLB history)
Current rosterSan Francisco Giants 2012 Spring Training roster
40-man roster Spring Training
- 78 Ehire Adrianza
- 9 Brandon Belt
- 2 Emmanuel Burriss
- 35 Brandon Crawford
- 14 Mike Fontenot
- 50 Conor Gillaspie
- 17 Aubrey Huff
- 8 Jeff Keppinger
- 6 Brett Pill
- 48 Pablo Sandoval
- -- Melky Cabrera
- 51 Justin Christian
- 34 Darren Ford
- 62 Francisco Peguero
- 12 Nate Schierholtz
- 56 Andrés Torres
- -- Wilmin Rodriguez
- 16 Bruce Bochy
- 1 Tim Flannery (third base)
- 26 Mark Gardner (bullpen)
- 58 Bill Hayes (bullpen catcher)
- 39 Roberto Kelly (first base)
- 31 Hensley Meulens (hitting)
- 19 Dave Righetti (pitching)
- 23 Ron Wotus (bench)
60-day disabled list
34 Active, 0 Inactive, 1 Non-roster invitees
* Not on active roster
7- or 15-day disabled list
updated November 11, 2011
→ All MLB rosters
Minor league affiliations
Level Team League Location AAA Fresno Grizzlies Pacific Coast League Fresno, California AA Richmond Flying Squirrels Eastern League Richmond, Virginia Advanced A San Jose Giants California League San Jose, California A Augusta GreenJackets South Atlantic League Augusta, Georgia Short Season A Salem-Keizer Volcanoes Northwest League Keizer, Oregon Rookie AZL Giants Arizona League Scottsdale, Arizona DSL Giants Dominican Summer League Boca Chica, Dominican Republic
Radio and television
The Giants' flagship radio station is KNBR, 680 AM, which refers to itself as "The Sports Leader". Jon Miller and Dave Flemming are the regular play-by-play announcers. When games are televised on KNTV, Duane Kuiper replaces Miller on the radio, and Miller goes to television.
Giants' telecasts are split between KNTV (over-the-air) and Comcast SportsNet Bay Area (cable). Miller regularly calls the action on KNTV, while the announcing team for CSN telecasts is Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper, affectionately known as "Kruk and Kuip" (pronounced "Krook" and "Kype"). KNTV's broadcast contract with the Giants began in 2008, one year after the team and KTVU mostly ended a relationship that dated to 1958, the team's first year in the Bay Area. (As a FOX affiliate, KTVU continues to air Giants games that are part of the Major League Baseball on Fox package; Several Giants games a year are also part of the ESPN and TBS packages.).
During a July 23–25, 2010 road game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Fresno Grizzlies broadcaster Doug Greenwald filled in so that Jon Miller could travel to Cooperstown to be honored with the Ford C. Frick Award. Snow sat in so that Dave Flemming could also attend the award presentation. On September 4, 2010, Miller made his first appearance with CSN Bay Area.
Home run call glitch
On May 28, 2006, Flemming called the 715th career home run of Barry Bonds, putting Bonds second on the all-time home run list. Unfortunately, the power from his microphone to the transmitter cut off while the ball was in flight, so the radio audience heard only crowd noise. Papa took over the broadcast and apologized to listeners. Kuiper's TV call was submitted to the Baseball Hall of Fame as an artifact, instead of the usual radio call.
- Giants statistical records and milestone achievements
- List of San Francisco Giants broadcasters
- San Francisco Giants general managers and managers
- Yomiuri Giants, a Japanese baseball team whose uniforms and logos resemble the San Francisco team's
- New York Giants (football team that was named after the Giants when both teams played at the Polo Grounds in New York)
- 2010 San Francisco Giants season
- Francisco Grande (The Giants' spring training camp from 1959 to 1982)
- The Fan, a film starring Robert De Niro and Wesley Snipes that centers on the Giants.
- ^ Sue Burns obituary, San Francisco Chronicle, July 20, 2009.
- ^ Games Won by Teams Records
- ^ Giants Hall of Famers
- ^ Sakamoto, Gordon (1976-02-11). "Giants will stay in San Francisco". Bryan Times. United Press International: p. 14. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=20oLAAAAIBAJ&sjid=UFIDAAAAIBAJ&pg=3352,2941070&dq=national-exhibition-company&hl=en.
- ^ "1984 All-Star Game". Baseball Almanac. http://www.baseball-almanac.com/asgbox/yr1984as.shtml.
- ^ Chass, Murray (November 11, 1992). "BASEBALL; Look What Wind Blew Back: Baseball's Giants". New York Times: p. B11. http://www.nytimes.com/1992/11/11/sports/baseball-look-what-wind-blew-back-baseball-s-giants.html?pagewanted=print.
- ^ "1993 San Francisco Giants Statistics and Roster". Baseball-Reference. http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/SFG/1993.shtml.
- ^ "1993 San Francisco Giants Schedule, Box Scores and Splits". Baseball-Reference. http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/SFG/1993_sched.shtml.
- ^ "1994 San Francisco Giants Statistics and Roster". Baseball-Reference. http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/SFG/1994.shtml.
- ^ Baseball-reference.com SFG 1995
- ^ Baseball-reference.com SFG 1996
- ^ Baseball-reference.com SFG 1997
- ^ 1997 National League Standings and Head-to-Head
- ^ Baseball-reference.com SFG 1998
- ^ Baseball-reference.com SFG 1999
- ^ Baseball-reference.com SFG 2000
- ^ Baseball-reference.com NLDS 2000
- ^ Baseball-reference.com SFG 2001
- ^ Baseball-reference.com SFG 2002
- ^ Baseball-reference.com NLDS 2002
- ^ Baseball-reference.com NLCS 2002
- ^ Baseball-reference.com SFG 2003
- ^ Baseball-reference.com NLDS 2003
- ^ Baseball-reference.com SFG 2004
- ^ Baseball-reference.com Bonds stats
- ^ Baseball-reference.com SFG 2006 schedule
- ^ Giants catcher Mike Matheny announces retirement
- ^ Dubow, Josh (August 9, 2007). "Giants make deal with rival Dodgers, sending Sweeney to L.A". Associated Press. San Francisco Chronicle. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2007/08/09/sports/s164644D83.DTL&type=printable.
- ^ Curry, Jack (September 22, 2007). "Bonds Goes From Out of the Park to Out of a Job". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/22/sports/baseball/22bonds.html?pagewanted=print. Retrieved 2007-09-22.
- ^ Associated Press (July 27, 2009). "Bonds, Giants honor Burns". ESPN.com. http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/print?id=4360261&type=story.
- ^ Santo, Michael (July 30, 2009). "SF Giants Acquire Freddy Sanchez, Trade Tim Alderson". Huliq.com. http://www.huliq.com/3257/84245/sf-giants-acquire-freddy-sanchez-trade-tim-alderson.
- ^ "MLB Standings – 2003". ESPN.com. http://espn.go.com/mlb/standings/_/year/2003.
- ^ Schlegel, John. "Giants make 'torture' a delight for fans". mlb.com. http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20101005&content_id=15434390&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb. Retrieved 6 Oct 2010. The slogan was coined on the April 21 edition of Kruk and Kuip on Baseball on KNBR radio, following a game in which the Giants lost 1–0 despite a 1-hitter thrown by Jonathan Sanchez.
- ^ http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/preview10/news/story?page=10expertpicks
- ^ http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100331&content_id=9035596&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb
- ^ "2010 MLB Preseason Experts Picks". CNN. March 31, 2010. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/baseball/mlb/03/29/expert.picks/index.html.
- ^ Ben Walker. "Lee-Lincecum: Marquee Matchup in Series Opener". ABC. http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/wireStory?id=11977610.
- ^ Haft, Chris (2010). "Giants use Cain, smack Rangers into 2–0 hole". mlb.com. http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20101028&content_id=15891422&vkey=recap&fext=.jsp&c_id=sf. Retrieved 28 Oct 2010.
- ^ Haft, Chris (2010). "Ten-gallon splat: SF knocks Texas off a Cliff". mlb.com. http://sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20101027&content_id=15857468&vkey=recap&fext=.jsp&c_id=sf. Retrieved 27 Oct 2010.
- ^ Haft, Chris (2010). "Madison avenue! Giant road show makes it 3–1". mlb.com. http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20101031&content_id=15922942&vkey=recap&fext=.jsp&c_id=sf. Retrieved 31 Oct 2010.
- ^ a b c d e Scott, Laurence (November 1, 2010). "Giants Bring World Series Championship to West Coast". NBCBayArea.com. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports/Giants-Rangers-Game-Five-Recap-106492814.html. Retrieved November 2, 2010.
- ^ Haft, Chris (2010). "Giants win the Series! Giants win the Series! Edgar Rentaria went on to win the 2010 World Series MVP award". mlb.com. http://sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20101101&content_id=15949454&vkey=recap&fext=.jsp&c_id=sf. Retrieved 1 Nov 2010.
- ^ "Giants win first World Series since 1954". Foxsports.com. 2010-11-01. http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/San-Francisco-Giants-win-World-Series-Championship-110110. Retrieved 2010-11-03.
- ^ Walker, Ben (November 2, 2010). "Giants win World Series behind Lincecum, Renteria". Associated Press. Yahoo! Sports. http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ap-worldseries&print=1. Retrieved November 2, 2010.
- ^ Shpigel, Ben (November 1, 2010). "Rookie's Gem Has Giants On Verge of Championship". New York Times: p. D1. "The Giants...secure the Bay Area's first title since...the 49ers won the Super Bowl."
- ^ "Giants receive trophy". MLB.com. November 2, 2010. http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=12948817&topic_id=14873508. Retrieved February 17, 2011.
- ^ Haft, Chris (2010). "Posey catches NL Rookie of the Year honors". mlb.com. http://sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20101115&content_id=16099576&vkey=news_sf&c_id=sf. Retrieved 23 Nov 2010.
- ^ a b c Murphy, Robert (2009). After many a summer: the passing of the Giants and Dodgers and a golden age in New York baseball. New York: Sterling. ISBN 9781402760686.
- ^ Sullivan, Neil J. (1987). The Dodgers move west: the transfer of the Brooklyn baseball franchise to Los Angeles. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195043669.
- ^ "The 10 greatest rivalries". ESPN.com. January 3, 2000. http://espn.go.com/endofcentury/s/other/bestrivalries.html.
- ^ Caple, Jim (September 16, 2002). "Giants-Dodgers best rivalry in baseball". ESPN.com. http://static.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/caple_jim/1432476.html.
- ^ Beard, Donald (March 30, 2005). "Giants-Dodgers Covers a Lot of Ground". The Washington Post: p. H5. http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A8285-2005Mar28?language=printer.
- ^ Leach, Matthew (October 17, 2011). "Take flight: Homers send Cards to Fall Classic". MLB.com. Major League Baseball. http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2011_10_16_slnmlb_milmlb_1&mode=recap_away&c_id=stl. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
- ^ "Head-to-Head record for Oakland Athletics against the listed opponents from 1997 to 2007". http://www.baseball-reference.com/games/head2head.cgi?teams=OAK&from=1997&to=2007&submit=Submit.
- ^ Stout, Glenn (2002). Yankees Century: 100 Years of New York Yankees Baseball. Houghton Mifflin. pp. 290. ISBN 0618085270.
- ^ Neft, David (2006). The Sports Encyclopedia: Baseball 2006. St. Martin's Press. pp. 351. ISBN 0312350015.
- ^ Wynne, Brian (1984). The Book of Sports Trophies. Cornwall Books. pp. 37.
- ^ "Lou Gehrig's Farewell Speech". LouGehrig.com. http://www.lougehrig.com/about/speech.htm. Retrieved 2009-09-10.
- ^ Ott, Tim (June 18, 2003). "Gehrig's #4 was first retired number". MLB.com. http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20030618&content_id=381438&vkey=lou_gehrig&fext=.jsp&c_id=null.
- ^ See List of Major League Baseball retired numbers#Similar honors.
- ^ Kroner, Steve (November 2, 2007). "Giants are moving to KNTV". San Francisco Chronicle. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/11/01/SPHFT4PM5.DTL. Retrieved 2009-09-18.
- Hynd, Noel (1988). The Giants of the Polo Grounds: The Glorious Times of Baseball's New York Giants. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-23790-1.
San Francisco Giants The Franchise Ballparks Culture Rivalries Retired Numbers World Series Champions (6) National League
Division Titles Minors Seasons (129) 1880s-1890s 1900s-1910s 1920s-1930s 1940s-1950s 1960s-1970s 1980s-1990s 2000s-2010s Principal owners of the San Francisco Giants franchise New York Gothams/Giants (1883-1957) San Francisco Giants (1958-present) New York/San Francisco Giants retired numbers Major League Baseball owners by team American League East Division Central Division West Division National League East Division Central Division
Thomas S. Ricketts (Chicago Cubs)
Robert Castellini (Cincinnati Reds)
Drayton McLane, Jr. (Houston Astros)
Mark Attanasio (Milwaukee Brewers)
Robert Nutting (Pittsburgh Pirates)
William DeWitt, Jr. (St. Louis Cardinals)
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