One of the top franchises in the history of Major League Baseball, the San Francisco Giants have won a record 23 NL pennants played in 20 World Series. Their eight World Series titles is fourth in Major League history.
Beginning play in 1883 as the New York Gothams, the teams was quickly named the New York Giants. They played at the Polo Grounds in New York from 1883 - 1957 before moving to San Francisco before the 1958 season.
After two seasons at Seals Stadium, the Giants moved to Candlestick Park, playing there through the 1999 season. In 2000, the team started play at AT&T Park, where they still play today.
The Giants has some success early on, winning pennants in 1888 and 1889, but then over the next 13 seasons finished third or better only twice. In 1904 the Giants won 104 games but fell in the World Series.
Lead by legendary manager John McGraw, the Giants won their first championship came in 1905, winning 105 regular season games and took down the Philadelphia A's in five games. Christy Mathewson established himself as a star during the series, winning three games over a six-day period.
Continuing their excellent play, the Giants had winning seasons in 15 of the next 16 seasons, but failed to win a World Series. That changed with a championships in consecutive seasons 1921 and 1922 over the New York Yankees and Babe Ruth.
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Willie Mays Great Catch
After an 11-year drought, the Giants claimed their fourth World Series title, defeating the Washington Nationals behind first your manager Bill Terry, who took over for the retiring McGraw. Carl Hubbell, the ace of the staff, won two of the four games in the series.
Over the next 77 seasons, the Giants earned only one more world championship, behind star centerfielder Willie Mays in 1954 over the Cleveland Indians. In game one of the series, Mays made an over the shoulder catch that is still considered one of the greatest catches in league history.
Sprinting towards the fence on a deep drive by Vic Wertz, Mays catches in full stride with back towards the plate. The catch game in a tie game in the eighth with two on and no outs. Had he not caught the game, it could have changed the course of the game and the series.
Another moment remembered to this day was the "shot heard round the world" by Bobby Thomson. In the bottom of the ninth, trailing the Dodgers in last game of a three-game playoff, Thomson hit the game winning home run to win the NL pennant for the Giants.
Maintaining a winning record each season from 1958 through 1971, the Giants reached the series just once, losing to the Yankees in seven games. Despite prominent players of the era in Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda, Willie Mays and Juan Marichal, the Giants failed to win another World Series during that time.
Important Players in Giants Baseball History
After 10 losing seasons over the next 13 years, the Giants came back to prominence. With Will Clark, Matt Williams and Kevin Mitchell leading the team, the Giants returned to the World Series in 1989. They faced the Oakland A's in what was known as "The Battle of the Bay".
The Giants were swept in the series, but the series well well known for the earthquake which delayed the start of game three.
Over the next 11 seasons, the Giants remained competitive, finishing second 5 times and second twice, but failed to reach the World Series. Behind manager Dusty Baker and slugger Barry Bonds, the Giants faced the Angels in another all California series in 2002, but lost in seven games.
After moderate success through 2004 the Giants baseball team struggled to four consecutive losing seasons. The arrival or Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey helped propel the team back to the forefront ,winning the 2010 World Series over the Rangers in six games.
Remaining one of the most dominant teams in this era, the Giants won the 2012 series in four over the Tigers and the 2014 series in seven over the Kansas City Royals.
The proud franchise has five members in the Hall of Fame wearing the Giant uniform. Orlando Cepeda hit .308 with 226 home runs in nine seasons with the Giants.
Juan Marichal was a nine-time All-Star who won 238 games in 14 seasons with the Giants. Willie McCovey hit 521 home runs in 22 season. Willie Mays, regarded as many as one of the top few players in Major League history, hit 660 home runs and drove in 1903. Gaylord Perry won 134 games with the Giants and 314 overall.
Retired numbers include Christy Mathewson, John McGraw, Billy Terry, Mel Ott, Carl Hubbell, Monte Irving, Willie Mays, Juan Marichal, Gaylord Perry and Willie McCovey. Other stars that wore the Giants uniform include home run leader Barry Bonds, Will Clark, Jeff Kent, Matt Williams, Vida Blue and Dusty Baker.
Important Draft Picks
The Giants Baseball club have drafted several players since the first draft in 1965 that have had significant impact on the franchise. Will Clark, drafted in 1985, was a five-time All-Star and Gold Glove award winner in eight seasons with the franchise. Matt Williams, selected in 1986, hit 247 home runs in ten seasons with the Giants and was a four time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove award winner.
More recently, Tim Lincecum, drafted in 2006, was a back-to-back Cy Young award winner and four-time All-Star. The next season the Giants picked Madison Bumgarner, who had 104 Major League victories and four All-Star appearances under his belt. Buster Posey, drafted in the first round in 2008, is a Rookie of the Year award winner, MVP and five-time All-Star.
Will all the success, prominent players and dramatic moments in the 134 year existence of the franchise, none of it is possible without great rivalries. One of the great rivalries has to be the New York Yankees, mainly due to proximity until the Giants moved to San Francisco and also due to the seven times they battled in the World Series. The Yankees have a five to two edge in head-to-head World Series play.
Another top rival of the Giants was and still is Dodgers. Overall, the Giants have had the best of the Dodgers, winning more World Series, overall games and head-to-head meetings. However, the Dodgers can boast that they have more NL West titles. The Los Angeles Dodgers have won five World Series to three for the Dodgers, however the Giants have won move overall, going back to when both teams played in New York.
Finally, the A's and the Giants rivalry goes back to the early part of the 1900's, when the two teams met in the World Series three times. The Giants were victorious in 1905, while the A's took the 1911 and 1913 series. The A's also took the 1989 series, holding a 3-1 overall advantage over the Giants in head-to-head World Series play.
Other Giants Baseball Important Notes
Back to the present, the Giants look to rebound in 2018 after a sub par 64-win season in 2017. They finished second three consecutive years from 2013 through 2016. Finishing last in the NL in runs scored, the Giants needs significant improvement offensively.
Among the starting pitchers, only Bumgarner had an ERA under 4. While it's clear that much work needs to be done to get the Giants back into contention, this proud franchise is bound to succeed in the near future.
In January of 2018, San Francisco Giants added two potential Hall of Fame players Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen. This move should improve the Giants Baseball roster for upcoming seasons.