Time to meet the winning-est team in Major League Baseball history!
The San Franciso Giants actually began in 1883 as the New York Gothams, which sounds a bit redundant, and shortly thereafter became the New York Giants. For most of their tenure in NY, the Giants played in the Polo Grounds, a Manhattan stadium that also housed the Yankees and later on the Mets for a brief time. In their 133 years of existence, the Giants have racked up 23 NL pennants and 8 World Series titles – three of those titles in the past decade. The running joke amongst most Giant fans I encounter is that they’re due again in 2016 (they previously won in 2010, 2012, and 2014.)
During their time in NY (around 74 years if you want to get detailed) the Giants saw Hall of Fame talent like Mel Ott and Willy Mays, but are probably most remembered for a player’s home run in 1951. In a game for the NL pennant, Bobby Thomson hit a home run famously known as ‘the shot heard round the world’ to win the game and move the Giants to the World Series. He also shared a backyard fence with the Staten Island home my mother grew up in, so that’s pretty cool too 🙂
The Brooklyn Dodgers helped convince the Giants to make their move west together, and so they became the San Francisco Giants in 1958, playing in Seals Stadium for a couple years before moving to Candlestick Park. Their location is also the basis for their more recent mascot, Lou Seal – please feel free to insert your own Arrested Development memory here. Right after their move, William McCovey began his career with the Giants, and left such a lasting legacy of indomitable power-hitting that the bay outside their current stadium, AT&T Park, is named McCovey Cove. Between their move west and the late 80’s, nothing of huge significance happened with the Giants, besides their being saved from a forced move to Toronto. The 1989 World Series between the Giants and Oakland A’s, however, is something the whole country recalls – not for the games played, but for the massive earthquake that rocked the Bay Area on broadcast tv.
After losing the Earthquake World Series, the Giants were nearly moved again, this time to Florida, but restructured the team for a better chance of success with the purchase of Barry Bonds. Even with limited baseball knowledge, you may recognize his name from his ‘breaking’ the home run record in 2001 with 73, but you may also know the name because he was indicted in a steroid scandal and for lying to a grand jury. Needless to say, much like Sosa and McGwire, I don’t really recognize his record, but even without the drugs, he was a stellar player and racked up 8 gold gloves in the outfield.
The Giants currently play in AT&T Park and are clearly on a World Series tear, but with competitors like the Nationals for the pennant, it’s anyone’s guess what will happen this season!