San Francisco Giants
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San Francisco Giants
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, winning six – both tied with rival Los Angeles Dodgers for most in the league. The Giants have been invited to the World Series an NL record 19 times, but boycotted the event in 1904.
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.
History of the New York Giants (NL)
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 ever 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, one of the very few pitchers in baseball history to master the screwball (along with Mathewson and Fernando Valenzuela). 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 a single playoff game 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, 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 had been tied 2–2 in the eighth inning. With men on first and second and nobody out, an extra-base hit could have blown the game wide open, and given the Cleveland Indians the momentum to win not only Game One, but perhaps the entire World Series itself. Instead, Mays caught the ball 450 feet 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 Cleveland Indians having won a then-American League record 111 games that year. The Giants subsequently lost the World Series (as the San Francisco Giants) in 1962, 1989, and 2002. Yes, this 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 (now in California).
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 1931–1957. 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 a 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
The Giants' teams of the 1960s were perennial contenders thanks to future Hall of Famers such as first baseman Willie McCovey (1969 MVP), center fielder Willie Mays (600th HR, 1969) and pitchers Gaylord Perry (no-hitter, 1968) and Juan Marichal. Mike McCormick won the 1967 Cy Young Award and, in 1963, the Alou brothers Jesús, Felipe and Matty formed the first all-brother outfield in Major League history.
In 1971, the Giants fell in the League Championship Series to the eventual World Series champion Pittsburgh Pirates. Throughout the decade, the Giants gave up a number of players who became successful elsewhere, such as Garry Maddox, George Foster, Dave Kingman, and Gaylord Perry.
However, the Giants did produce Rookie of the Year winners Gary Matthews Sr. (1973) and John Montefusco (1975). Bob Lurie bought the team in 1976, saving it from being moved to Toronto. The rest of the 1970s was a generally disappointing time for the Giants, as they finished no higher than third place in any season.
The 1981 Giants were the first NL team to hire a black manager, Frank Robinson. His tenure lasted less than four years and was generally unsuccessful. The Giants finished a game over .500 in the strike-shortened 1981 season and hosted the 1984 All-Star Game at Candlestick Park.
1992: Farewell San Francisco?
Following the 1989 World Series, a local ballot initiative to fund a new stadium failed, threatening the franchise's future. After the 1992 season, Lurie put the team up for sale and a group of investors from St. Petersburg reached an agreement to purchase the team and move it to the Tampa Bay area, but National League owners voted that down. Oakland Athletics' owner Wally Haas agreed to grant the Giants exclusive rights to the South Bay so they could explore all potential local sites for a new stadium and remain in the Bay Area. The team was sold to an ownership group including managing general partner Peter Magowan, the former CEO of Safeway, Harmon Burns, and his wife, Sue.
Before gaining official approval as the new owners, Magowan signed free agent Barry Bonds, a move that shaped the franchise's fortunes for more than a decade. MLB initially blocked the move until terms were negotiated to protect Lurie and Bonds in case the sale failed.
The Bonds era began auspiciously as he put up the numbers for the third MVP of his career: 46 homers, 129 runs and 123 RBI), all career highs. Matt Williams was very good (38 HR, 110 RBI, .294 BA), with Robby Thompson and Will Clark 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, leading to a 103–59 record. In his first year as manager, Dusty Baker earned the Manager of the Year award. Despite the Giants' great record, the Atlanta Braves came back from a 10-game deficit to win the NL West by a single game.
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 and denied Matt Williams a chance to beat Roger Maris's single season home run record. Williams had 43 HR and was on pace for 60 when the strike hit with 47 games left to play.
The Giants finished last in both 1995 and 1996, as key injuries and slumps hurt them. 1995 had a strange feeling, with fans unsure if they would come back after the strike. 1996 was highlighted by Bonds joining the 40–40 club (42 HR, 40 SB). 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. He immediately shocked Giants fans by dealing Matt Williams to Cleveland for Jeff Kent, Jose Vizcaino, Julian Tavarez, and Joe Roa, plus $1 million in cash used to sign Darryl Hamilton. A subsequent trade for J.T. Snow helped the Giants win their first NL West division title of the decade. The wildcard Florida Marlins ended the Giants' season with a 3–0 sweep in the first round of the playoffs.
In 1998, the Giants were fueled by good seasons from Kent and Bonds, both with 30+ HR and 100+ RBI. They tied for the NL wild card but lost a one-game playoff against the Chicago Cubs.
In 1999, the Giants finished second in the NL West with an 86–76 record. Bonds' production dropped as he hit .262 with 34 home runs while missing more than one-third of the season due to injury. Snow, Kent, Rich Aurilia, and Ellis Burks, all had 20+ HR and 80+ RBI. After the final game of the season, home plate was ceremoniously removed from Candlestick Park and taken to the new grounds where the downtown stadium was being built.
The 2000 move to AT&T Park (originally Pacific Bell Park and later SBC Park) on the shores of China Basin (often referred to as McCovey Cove by Giants fans) represented an entirely new era for the Giants and their fans. The Giants routinely sell out this nearly 43,000-seat stadium. The Dodgers spoiled the 2000 season opener with a three-HR performance by Kevin Elster. However, the Giants put out a solid effort all season long, culminating with a division title and the best record in the Major Leagues. They lost the 2000 NLDS to the New York Mets, three games to one.
The 2001 Giants were eliminated from playoff contention on the second to last day of the season. Bonds hit 73 home runs, setting a new single-season record.
In 2002, the Giants finished second in the NL West behind the Arizona Diamondbacks, bolstered by another MVP season for Bonds (46 HR, 110 RBI, .370 BA, a record 198 walks) and Kent (37 HR, 108 RBI and .313 BA). Closer Robb Nen had 43 saves and a 2.20 ERA. The Giants made the playoffs as the NL wildcard and defeated the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS, three games to two, and St. Louis in the NLCS, four games to one.
The Giants faced the Anaheim Angels in the first World Series between two wildcard teams. Leading, three games to two and with a 5-0 lead in in the seventh inning of Game Six, momentum changed when manager Dusty Baker removed starter Russ Ortiz and handed him the "game" ball as he left the mound. Moments later, the Angels' Scott Spiezio hit a three-run home run. The Angels went on to win the game, 6–5, and then the Series with a 7-4 Game Seven win. After 10 seasons, Baker did not have his contract renewed.
After two consecutive second-place finishes, the 2003 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). The pitching staff was led by Jason Schmidt (17–5, 2.34 ERA) and Kirk Rueter (10–5, 4.53). The Giants fell to the Florida Marlins in the NLDS, three games to one.
The 2004 season saw Bonds win his seventh and last NL MVP award. The Giants avoided elimination from playoff contention until the final weekend of the season but still finished two games behind the division-winning Los Angeles Dodgers.
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. On May 25, the Giants dedicated a statue of Hall of Famer Juan Marichal on the plaza outside of the ballpark. On July 14, the franchise won its 10,000th contest, the first professional sports franchise to reach that total.
The 2006 Giants were expected to contend. Despite a losing streak in May, and the worst performance by Bonds in about 15 years, the Giants were in first place on July 23. On that day, Armando Benitez blew a save and the Giants lost in extra innings, the first loss of a horrendous three-week stretch that saw San Francisco go 3–16, losing nine games by one run. The Giants recovered to again contend for both the division crown and the Wild Card but lost eight of nine games on their final road trip to fall out of all contention. The Giants did not renew the contract of manager Felipe Alou.
2007: End of the Bonds era
With 11 free agents, new manager Bruce Bochy coming from San Diego, and the loss of veteran catcher Mike Matheny due to concussions, the Giants' prospects for 2007 were less than favorable going into the off-season. 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. The season did have memorable action, such as the Giants playing the Red Sox in Boston for the first time since 1912.
Most notable was Bonds' march toward Hank Aaron's career home run record of 755. He tied the record against San Diego at PETCO Park. In the bottom of the fifth inning at home against the Nationals on August 7, 2007 Bonds hit his 756th home run and Aaron appeared on the big screen and congratulated Bonds. On September 22, the Giants officially announced the team would not re-sign Bonds for 2008. He played his last game as a Giant on September 26.
2008: Without Bonds
Pitcher Tim Lincecum exploded onto the scene in 2008 and went on to win the 2008 NL Cy Young Award, finishing at 18-5. The Giants finished fourth in the NL West with a record of 72–90.
Heading into 2009, the Giants strengthened their pitching staff by acquiring veteran starting pitcher Randy Johnson and relievers Bobby Howry and Jeremy Affeldt. They also signed infielders Edgar Renteria and Juan Uribe. The team compiled a 49–39 record by the All-Star Game. Johnson earned his 300th career win, Jonathan Sanchez tossed a no-hitter against San Diego on July 10 and pitchers Matt Cain and Lincecum were both chosen for the All-Star Game. The Giants finished 88-74, third in the NL West.
2010: Fear the Beard
In 2010, the Giants won the National League Western Division title for the first time since 2003 after trailing the San Diego Padres most of the season. The Giants' 18–8 September record vaulted them 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. Closer Brian Wilson finished with a franchise record-tying and major league-leading 48 saves and the Giants went 51–30 in the second half of the season.
In September, the slogan for the Giants became "Fear the Beard" as they made their push for the playoffs. Wilson and Sergio Romo grew out their facial hair, AT&T Park filled with "Fear the Beard" signs, and "Fear the Beard" slogan took the place of the one from the previous season, "Yes We Can".
The Giants defeated the Atlanta Braves three games to one in the NLDS. Lincecum won Game One with a record-setting 14-strikeout, two-hit shutout. The series clinching game was notable as the final game of Atlanta's highly successful manager Bobby Cox.
In the ensuing NLCS, the Giants ousted the Philadelphia Phillies in six games to advance to the World Series against the Texas Rangers. The Giants prevailed in five games with Edgar Renteria blasting a decivise three-run homer off Texas ace Cliff Lee in Game Five, a 3-1 win. Following an 11-7 Giants' win in the opener, Lincicum, Cain and Madison Bumgarner combined to limit the Rangers to a single run in Games Two, Four and Five.
On November 15, 2010, Giants catcher Buster Posey was named NL Rookie of the Year.
Los Angeles Dodgers rivalry
The rivalry with the Los Angeles Dodgers is the longest-standing and one of the most storied rivalries in the history of baseball.
The feud 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 have each won eighteen National League Pennants, more than any other franchise, and 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.
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