San Francisco Giants is a San Francisco-based professional baseball franchise. The Giants have won eight World Series championships and 23 NL pennants.
The Gothams were the original name of the franchise that would become the Giants, which was founded in 1883 in New York City. The Giants were formed in 1885, and their name was allegedly inspired by a description of the team given by its jubilant manager after an extra-inning triumph. The Giants won their first pennant in 1888, as well as an unofficial version of the World Series against the American Association winners, and they won it again the following year.
The Giants’ 1889 “World Series” victory was remarkable because it came against the American Association’s Brooklyn Bridegrooms (became the Dodgers, now the Los Angeles Dodgers), who began a famous rivalry with the Giants franchise after joining the National League in 1890.
The Giants quickly fell out of favour and were only able to reclaim first place in the National League when manager John McGraw was hired during the 1902 season. McGraw’s Giants won the National League pennant in his second full season with the organisation, but he refused to play the purportedly inferior American League champion, hence the first formal World Series was not held in 1904.
The following season, the Giants won another pennant and agreed to play in the World Series, which they won in five games thanks to future Hall of Famers Christy Mathewson and Joe McGinnity, who combined to allow no earned runs in the series.
Between 1911 and 1917, McGraw led the Giants to four World Series appearances, all of which they would lose. In 1921, the Giants were the first team to win the World Series, and they did so again the next year.
The Giants had acquired three future Hall of Fame players by the end of the 1920s: first baseman Bill Terry, outfielder Mel Ott, and pitcher Carl Hubbell. McGraw left the team in the middle of the 1932 season, and Terry took over as player-manager until 1936, and then as manager until 1941. Terry led the Giants to a World Series victory in his first full season as manager, as well as losses in the Series to the powerful New York Yankees in 1936 and 1937.
The Giants never finished higher than third in the National League throughout the 1940s. During the 1948 season, the franchise made a risky move by recruiting manager Leo Durocher away from the Dodgers.
His investment paid off with World Series appearances in 1951 and 1954, with the Giants capturing the championship in 1954. Furthermore, those two postseason visits featured two of baseball’s greatest plays: Bobby Thomson’s spectacular pennant-winning home run in 1951 (dubbed “the shot heard ’round the world”) and Willie Mays’ famous over-the-shoulder catch during the 1954 World Series.
Despite these high points, attendance at the Giants’ now-legendary home, the Polo Grounds, dwindled as the team continued to play in the shadow of the Yankees, and the team relocated to San Francisco in 1958, the same year the Dodgers relocated from Brooklyn to Los Angeles.
The San Francisco Giants had several notable young players who attracted large crowds to the team’s new stadium, Candlestick Park. The Giants had a lineup that included first basemen/outfielders Orlando Cepeda and Willie McCovey, as well as pitcher Juan Marichal, in addition to Mays, who is considered one of the finest all-around players in baseball history.
This star-studded roster, however, was not the basis of great on-field success: the Giants only appeared in one World Series (a loss in 1962) during their first 29 years in the Bay Area.
The Giants’ return to the World Series in 1989 was notable for a 7.1-magnitude earthquake that shook the Bay Area soon before game three of the series was set to begin. The tragedy was amplified by the fact that several television stations were broadcasting live from Candlestick Park before the game, allowing images of the earthquake and its aftermath to reach homes throughout the country almost immediately.
In 1989, the Giants’ return to the World Series was marked by a 7.1-magnitude earthquake that struck the Bay Area just before game three of the series was scheduled to begin.
The tragedy was heightened by the fact that numerous television stations broadcasted live from Candlestick Park before the game, allowing images of the earthquake and its aftermath to reach households throughout the country almost instantly.
The Giants made their first postseason appearance since 2003 in 2010, thanks to a strong pitching staff led by emerging sensation Tim Lincecum. The team then progressed to the World Series, where they won in five games against the Texas Rangers to win the franchise’s first championship since moving to California.
The Giants clinched the NL pennant in 2012 by winning six elimination games in the playoffs, rallying from series deficits of 2–0 and 3–1 in the division and championship rounds, respectively, then defeating the Detroit Tigers in four games in the World Series. The team’s performance deteriorated the next season, with the Giants winning 18 fewer games than in 2012 and finishing with a losing record.
The squad bounced back in 2014, winning 88 games to earn an NL Wild Card berth, and the Giants went on to win the World Series after losing just twice in the NL playoffs. The team defeated the Kansas City Royals in a seven-game series, spearheaded by ace Madison Bumgarner’s outstanding pitching: Bumgarner won both of his starts in the series and then came out of the bullpen to deliver five scoreless innings in game seven to secure the title.
The Giants made the playoffs in 2016 (losing in the division series), but a string of injuries led to the team having the poorest record in the National League in 2017. After a string of disappointing seasons, San Francisco shocked the league by winning 107 games in 2021, a franchise record and the most in the league. The Giants made the playoffs for the first time in five years, but the Dodgers eliminated them in the division series.