Between 1883 and 1958, the New York Giants were located in Manhattan, New York and played at the famous Polo Grounds. In their tenure in New York, the team compiled 14 National League pennants and five World Championships. Those early teams featured players such as Myron Allen, Buck Becannon, Ed Crane, Frank Hankinson, Cannonball Titcomb, Red Ames, Lore Bader, Eric Erickson, John McGraw and Willie Mays.
Following their 1954 World Series Championship, the Giants attendance had dwindled and the Polo Grounds were falling into disrepair. By 1956, rumors were swirling about the club moving after the Brooklyn Dodgers were told that they would not be allowed to move to Los Angles unless another team also moved to California. In 1957, both the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants moved to California; the Giants to San Francisco and the Dodgers to Los Angeles both to start the 1958 season on the West Coast.
The San Francisco Giants began their West Coast play at Seals Stadium, the former home of the PCL San Francisco Seals. They would only stay there for two seasons then, in 1960, moved into Candlestick Park (commonly referred to as “The Stick”) located in the Bayview Heights area of San Francisco. It would not be until 1971 that the Giants would share their stadium with the new NFL team San Francisco 49ers.
The move into the new park would do little for the quality of the team and it would not be until 1962 that the Giants. Although both prior seasons were winning seasons, the 1962 Giants featured a number of future Hall of Fame players to include Felipe Alou, Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda and Gaylord Perry. Led by manager Alvin Dark, the ’62 team is considered the finest in San Francisco Giants history. Battling with the Los Angeles Dodgers all season, the two came to a three game playoff in order to capture the NLCS. The Giants would matchup against the New York Yankees in the World Series but many felt that the real series was between the Giants and the Dodgers. Still, New York came out ready and took game one 6-2 but the Giants rebounded and took game 2. So it went, back and forth for six games leading to a definitive game 7. Game 7 at Candlestick had nearly 44,000 fans in attendance who witnessed one of the best pitching duels with New York getting 7 hits and San Francisco 4. But it would come down to the ninth inning with Matty Alou on 3rd and the Giants speedster Willie Mays on 2nd, Willie McCovey stepped up to the plate and the Giants could taste their first World Series on the bay. But instead of pitching away from McCovey to get to Orlando Cepeda, Yanks pitcher Ralph Terry threw right at McCovey. McCovey swung and with a loud crack, brought the Giants faithful to their feet. But Yankee outfielder Bobby Richardson snagged the ball and in that instant took the Giants out of the game to win their 20th World Series Championship 1-0.
It would not be until 1989, 27 seasons later, that the Giants would again compete for and win the National League Pennant. Led by the pitching of Rick Reuschel and Scott Garrelts and hitters Kevin Mitchell and Will Clark (Mitchell was the 1989 NL MVP) the Giants managed to win the pennant. In the NLCS, the Giants faced off against the Chicago Cubs, taking them in five games. The Giants went on to face the Oakland Athletics in what was dubbed the “Bay Bridge Series”. Just before game 3, a massive 6.9 earthquake struck the San Andreas Fault during warm-ups. 63 people were killed and nearly 4,000 injured during the 15 second quake. With the Yankees up 3 games to none, the series was delayed 10-days after which the Athletics continued their sweep of the Giants. It would be another 13 seasons before the Giants would again challenge for the NL Pennant.
At the opening of the 21st century, the Giants left their home of 40 years and moved into a new facility, Pacific Bell Park which sat on the shores of China Basin. The team made it into the NLDS against the NY Mets, taking game one. But the Mets would bounce back and take the series 4-1. The Giants would fail to make the playoffs in 2001, falling out of contention 2-days before the end of the season.
The 2002 team, led by Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent finished in 2nd place in the National League West and went into the playoffs as a Wild Card team where they defeated the Atlanta Braves in five games winning the NLDS. In the NLCS, the Giants went up against the St. Louis Cardinals and nearly swept them in route to a 4-1 series win. The 2002 World Series featured the NL Wildcard San Francisco Giants against the AL Wildcard Anaheim Angels. This was the first time in MLB history that two wildcard teams met for baseballs top prize. The series would go down to a final game seven but the Giants could not overcome the pitching of John Lackey and the swing of Garret Anderson who delivered the deciding double which resulted in three runs. Anaheim won game seven 4-1. The 3-time Manager of the Year Dusty Baker did have his contract renewed.
The 2003 season picked up much were the ’02 season left off with Barry Bonds having another stellar year. The team would post 100 wins for just the seventh in franchise history and throughout the season, were never out of first place. After sewing up the NL West, the Giants faced the Florida Marlins in the NLDS but found it nearly impossible to stop the bats with the Marlins getting 37 hits in the series. Barry Bonds would retire at the end of the season and the series would be the last until 2010 that when the Giants again found themselves in the playoffs.
By the midway point of the 2010 season, the Giants were a game above .500 (41-40). A new team slogan “Fear the Beard,” began circulating as Brian Wilson and Sergio Romo declined so to shave for the remainder of the season. The team would go 51-30 in the second half of the season and march into the NLDS against the Atlanta Braves with a certain swagger. After disposing of the Giants 3 games to 1, the Giants turned their sites on the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLCS. The Giants would split the opening two games in Philly but would win their first two homes games. The series would come down to game six as Roy Halladay led the Phillies to 4-2 game five. The final score of games six ended up being 4-3 and the Giants emerged the NLCS Champions, earning the right to play the Texas Rangers in the World Series. This would be the very first time for the Texas Rangers in the World Series and the first time since the 2002 series. The best of seven series opened in San Francisco with the Giants taking games 1 & 2 with a combined score of 20-7. The Rangers would win game 3 to keep the series alive but were unprepared for 21-year old rookie pitcher Madison Bumgarner who torched the Rangers for eight shutout innings while allowing only three hits in game four as the Giants blanked the Rangers 4-0. The Rangers finally succumbed to the Giants in game five losing the game 3-1 and the series 4-1. The Giants finally won their first championship since moving to San Francisco and their first overall since 1954 and the first championship for the city of San Francisco since 1995 and Super Bowl XXIX.
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