7 or So Things You Should Know About the San Francisco Giants

Established in 1883 as the NY Giants, they moved west in 1958 to San Francisco. To fit in with their new town, they considered changing the name to San Francisco Giant Tech Nerds.

The Giants have won more games than any other professional sports team. They are fifth overall in World Series wins with 7 behind NY Yankees who have 27, the St. Louis Cardinals who boast 11, the Oakland A’s who have 9 and the Boston Red Sox who have 8. They have appeared in 19 World Series, but boycotted in 1904. They heard the concession was not going to serve their favorite beer, so they sat out the Series instead. They spent the time playing poker and drinking beer.

Hall of Fame Players

The Giants have more Hall of Fame players in the history of pro baseball than any other team. The long-standing rivalry between the Dodgers and Giants started when each was an East coast team. They moved west to San Francisco after the end of the 1957 season. The rivalry was intense. Here is a famous cheer Dodgers fans yelled from the stands in the Brooklyn days:

Drunk Brooklyn Fan #1: When I say Giants, you say losers!

Drunk Brooklyn Fan #1: Giants!
Group of Drunk Brooklyn Fans: Losers!

Drunk Brooklyn Fan #1: Giants!
Group of Drunk Brooklyn Fans: Losers!

Drunk Brooklyn Fan #1: When I say Giants, you say boozers!

Drunk Brooklyn Fan #1: Giants!
Group of Drunk Brooklyn Fans: Boozers!

Drunk Brooklyn Fan #1: Giants!
Group of Drunk Brooklyn Fans: Boozers!

Drunk Brooklyn Fan #1: When I say Giants, you say … what were we talking about?
Group of Drunk Brooklyn Fans: We have no idea. We’re going to get more beer!

The Giants were originally called the Gothams in 1880s—in those days, each player dressed like Batman. About half of the Gotham players were former members of the defunct Troy Trojans. The other half of the players came from the Durham Durex Magnums. In 1889 they won the World Series by beating the Brooklyn Bridegrooms. One Bridegroom was so upset, he hung himself with his cummerbund.

Willie Mays was one of the most exciting players in Giants history. He was good at all aspects of the game, known in baseball as a “five-tool” player. That means he was good at hitting for power, hitting for average, throwing, fielding and having a cool run when trotting out the bases after a home run. The key is not to go too fast, and not to lollygag it either. You can wave to the crowd, but don’t milk it like you are on a float in the Rose Parade.

The Shot Heard Round The World

The Shot Heard Round The World was in the 1951 pennant race. It was the game that won the pennant for the Giants against archrival Brooklyn. Here is how it happened: It was the bottom of the ninth inning. The score was 4-2. Two men on base.

Bobby Thomson of the Giants did 10 shots of Jaegermeister, followed by 1 shot of Jack Daniels. He slammed the final shot glass on the bar so loudly, it became known as the “Shot Heard Round the World.” He then went out and hit a home run which brought in 3 runs, won the game 5-4 and captured the pennant.

Willie Mays – “The Catch” – in the first game of the 1954 World Series vs. the Cleveland Indians, Willie Mays was walking out to the field under the bleachers. Tony “Little Digger” Sansomeiter of Queens accidentally dropped a brand new hot dog with ketchup, relish and mustard on it over the railing. Willie Mays caught the hot dog over his shoulder, and flung it back up to Mr. Sansomeiter in one smooth move, now known as the famous “The Catch.”

“A lot of people ask me about it, and say it was an unbelievable catch. The thing is, actually catching the hot dog was easy,” Mr. Mays said later in an interview. “The hard part was throwing the hot dog back up high enough to clear the railing without losing any of the relish.”

Favor from The Giants

The Dodgers were told they could not move to Los Angeles unless another California team moved, so the Dodgers encouraged the Giants to leave New York. It was the first and last time the Dodgers would ask a favor from the Giants.

After playing in Seals Stadium when they first moved to the West coast, the Giants relocated to Candlestick Park in 1960. “The Stick” was known for windy, foggy conditions which could suddenly appear during a sunny day. In the 1961 All-Star game, pitcher Stu Miller of the Giants was hit by a gust of wind that forced him off the mound–a balk. Even worse, Miller was lifted by the wind high above the stadium and finally dropped into a winery near Livermore across San Francisco Bay. From the impact of the drop, he couldn’t remember who he was, so he got a job at a local winery, eventually opening his own wine brand called “Miller’s Merlot.”

About Joe Ditzel

Joe Ditzel is a keynote speaker, humor writer, and really bad golfer. You can reach him via email at [email protected] as well as Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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