The San Francisco Giants are a Major League Baseball team based in San Francisco, California that currently play in the National League West Division.
New York Giants History
Early days and the John McGraw era One of the most storied clubs in American professional sports, the Giants began life as the 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 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 recently 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 or 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, 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.
Though considered "the worst owner in the world" during his time, Andrew Freedman changed the Giants' fortunes. In 1902, after a series of disastrous moves that left the Giants 53½ 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 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 Giants' owner John T. 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. It would be the last time (as of the beginning of the 2007 season) that the Giants would best the A's in a post-season series. 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 to the A's, the Red Sox, then the A's again. (The Giants and the A's both won pennants in 1913; two seasons later, both teams finished in 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).