San Francisco Giants
One of the most storied clubs in American professional sports, the Giants began life as a second baseball club founded by John B. Day and Jim Mutrie. The Gothams (as the Giants were originally known) were their entry to the National League, while their other club, the Metropolitans (the original Mets) played in the American Association. 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.
It is said that after one particularly satisfying victory, 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. Originally located on the corner of 110th Street and Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, the Polo Grounds moved uptown, to 155th Street and 8th Avenue. There the Giants would make it their home in New York City.
Though considered "the worst owner in the world" during his time, Andrew Freeman changed the Giants' fortunes. In 1902, after a series of disastrous moves that left the Giants 53 1/2 games behind, Freedman signed John McGraw as a player-manager. McGraw would go on and manage the Giants for three decades, one of the longest tenures in professional sports. Under McGraw, the Giants would win 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 Monte 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 and Casey Stengel are just a sample of the many players who honed their skills under McGraw.
The Giants under McGraw famously snubbed their first ever modern World Series chance in 1904--an encounter with the 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 concern that the intra-city rival New York Americans or "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.
The ensuing criticism resulted in Giants' owner John T. Brush leading an effort to formalize the rules and format of the World Series. The Giants were back in 1905, winning the Series over the Philadelphia Athletics, with Christy Mathewson nearly winning the Series single-handedly. It would be the last time (as of the beginning of the 2006 season) that the Giants would best the A's in the post-season, as they have since proven to be a nemesis to the Giants on both coasts.
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 (actually a replay of a controversial tied game resulting from Fred Merkle's "boner") which they lost to the Cubs, who would go on to win their second, and so far last 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 to the A's, the Red Sox, then the A's again. After losing the 1917 Series to the Chicago White Sox (the White Sox's last World Series win until 2005), the Giants got it together and 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).
- 3 - Bill Terry (1B)
- 4 - Mel Ott (OF)
- 11 - Carl Hubbell (P)
- 24 - Willie Mays (OF)
- 27 - Juan Marichal (P)
- 30 - Orlando Cepeda (1B)
- 36 - Gaylord Perry (P)
- 44 - Willie McCovey (1B)
- ## - Christy Mathewson (P)
- ## - John McGraw (Manager)
- San Francisco Giants - Baseball-Reference.com