The San Francisco Giants are an American professional baseball team based in San Francisco, California. Founded in 1883 as the New York Gothams, and renamed three years later the New York Giants, the team eventually moved to San Francisco in 1958. The Giants compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) West division.
As one of the longest-established and most successful professional baseball teams, the franchise has won the most games of any team in the history of American baseball. The team was the first major league team based in New York City, most memorably playing at the legendary Polo Grounds. They have won 23 NL pennants and have played in 20 World Series competitions – both NL records. The Giants' eight World Series championships rank second in the National League and fifth overall (the New York Yankees are first with 27, then the St. Louis Cardinals (the National League record-holders) with 11, and the Oakland Athletics and the Boston Red Sox both with 9). The Giants have played in the World Series 20 times – 14 times in New York, six in San Francisco – but boycotted the event in 1904.
Playing as the New York Giants, they won 14 pennants and five World Series championships behind managers such as John McGraw and Bill Terry and players such as Christy Mathewson, Carl Hubbell, Mel Ott, Bobby Thomson, and Willie Mays. The Giants' franchise has the most Hall of Fame players in all of professional baseball. The Giants' rivalry with the Dodgers is one of the longest-standing and biggest rivalries in American sports. The teams began their rivalry as the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers, respectively, before both franchises moved west for the 1958 season.
The Giants have won six pennants and three World Series championships since arriving in San Francisco. Those three championships have come in 2010, 2012, and most recently in 2014, having defeated the Kansas City Royals four games to three during the 2014 World Series.
The Giants are the only major professional sports team based in the City and County of San Francisco, following the San Francisco 49ers' relocation to Santa Clara in 2014. They will be joined by the Golden State Warriors once they move to the Chase Center in 2019.
From 1883 to 2018, the Giants' overall win–loss record was 11,088–9,602 (a winning "percentage" of 0.536).
The Giants originated in New York City as the New York Gothams in 1883 and were known as the New York Giants from 1885 until the team relocated to San Francisco after the 1957 season. During most of their 75 seasons in New York City, the Giants played home games at various incarnations of the Polo Grounds in Upper Manhattan.
Numerous inductees of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum played for the New York Giants, including John McGraw, Mel Ott, Bill Terry, Willie Mays, Monte Irvin, and Travis Jackson. During the club's tenure in New York, five of the franchise's eight World Series wins (1905, 1921, 1922, 1933, 1954) and 17 of its 23 National League pennants. Famous moments in the Giants' New York history include the 1922 World Series, in which the Giants swept the Yankees in four games, the 1951 home run known as the "Shot Heard 'Round the World", and the defensive feat by Mays during Game 1 of the 1954 World Series known as "the Catch".
The Giants had intense rivalry with their fellow New York teams, the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Giants faced the Yankees in six World Series and played the league rival Dodgers multiple times per season. Games between any two of these three teams were known collectively as the Subway Series. The Dodgers-Giants rivalry continues, as both teams moved to California after the 1957 season, with the Dodgers relocating to Los Angeles. The New York Giants of the National Football League are named after the team.
The Giants, along with their rival Los Angeles Dodgers, became the first Major League Baseball teams to ever play on the west coast. On April 15, 1958, the Giants played their first game in San Francisco, defeating the former Brooklyn and now Los Angeles Dodgers, 8–0. The Giants played for two seasons at Seals Stadium before moving to Candlestick Park in 1960. The Giants played at Candlestick Park until 1999, before opening Pacific Bell Park (now known as Oracle Park) in 2000, where the Giants currently play.
The Giants were unable to sustain success in their first fifty years in San Francisco. They made nine playoff appearances and won three NL pennants between 1958 and 2009. The Giants lost the 1962 World Series in seven games to the New York Yankees. The Giants were swept in the 1989 World Series by their cross-town rival Oakland Athletics, a series best known for the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake causing a 10-day delay between Games 2 and 3. The Giants also lost the 2002 World Series to the Anaheim Angels. One of the team's biggest highlights during this time was the 2001 season, in which OF Barry Bonds hit 73 home runs, breaking the record for most home runs in a season. In 2007, Bonds would surpass Hank Aaron's career record of 755 home runs. Bonds finished his career with 762 home runs (586 hit with the Giants), still the MLB record.
The Giants won three World Series championships in 2010, 2012, and 2014, giving the team eight total World Series titles, including the five won as the New York Giants.
Players inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum as San Francisco Giants include 1B Orlando Cepeda P Juan Marichal, 1B Willie McCovey, and P Gaylord Perry.
The Giants' rivalry with the Los Angeles Dodgers dates back to when the two teams were based in New York, as does their rivalry with the New York Yankees. Their rivalry with the Oakland Athletics dates back to when the Giants were in New York and the A's were in Philadelphia and played each other in the 1905, 1911, & 1913 World Series, and was renewed in 1968 when the Athletics moved from Kansas City and the teams again played each other in the earthquake-interrupted 1989 Bay Bridge World Series. The 2010 NLCS inaugurated a Giants rivalry with the Philadelphia Phillies after confrontations between Jonathan Sánchez and Chase Utley, and between Ramón Ramírez and Shane Victorino. However, with the Philadelphia Phillies dropping off as one of the premier teams of the National League, this rivalry has died down since 2010 and 2011. Another rivalry that has intensified recently is with the St. Louis Cardinals, whom the team has faced 4 times in the NLCS.
The rivalry between the New York Giants and Chicago Cubs in the early 20th century was once regarded as one of the most heated in baseball, with Merkle's Boner leading to a 1908 season-ending matchup in New York of particular note. That historical rivalry was revisited when the Giants beat the Cubs in the 1989 NL playoffs, in their tiebreaker game in Chicago at the end of the 1998 season, and on June 6, 2012 in a "Turn Back The Century" game in which both teams wore replica 1912 uniforms.
The Giants-Dodgers rivalry is one of the greatest and longest-standing rivalries in team sports, and has been regarded as the most intense in American baseball.
The Giants-Dodgers feud began in the late 19th century when both clubs were based in New York City, with the Dodgers based in Brooklyn and the Giants playing at the Polo Grounds in upper Manhattan. After the 1957 season, Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley decided to move the team to Los Angeles primarily for financial reasons. Along the way, he managed to convince Giants owner Horace Stoneham (who was considering moving his team to Minnesota) to preserve the rivalry by taking his team to San Francisco 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, their new California venues became fertile ground for transplantation of the ancient rivalry.
Both teams' having endured for over a century while leaping across an entire continent, as well as the rivalry's growth from cross-city to cross-state, have led to its being considered one of the greatest in sports history.
The Giants-Dodgers rivalry has been marked by the Giants' slightly better success. While the Giants have more total wins, head-to-head wins, National League pennants and World Series titles in their franchise histories, the Dodgers have won the National League West 5 more times than the Giants since the start of division play in 1969. Both teams have made the postseason as a National League wild card twice. The Giants won their first world championship in California in 2010, while the Dodgers won their last world title in 1988. As of the end of the 2014 baseball season, the Los Angeles Dodgers lead the San Francisco Giants in California World Series triumphs, 5–3, whereas in 20th century New York, the Giants led the Dodgers in World Series championships, 5–1. The combined franchise histories give the Giants an 8–6 edge in MLB championships, overall.
A geographic rivalry with the cross-Bay American League Athletics greatly increased with the 1989 World Series, nicknamed the "Battle of the Bay", which Oakland swept (and which was interrupted by the Loma Prieta earthquake moments before the scheduled start of Game 3 in San Francisco). In addition, the introduction of interleague play in 1997 has pitted the two teams against each other for usually six games every season since 1997, three in each city (but only four in 2013, two in each city). Before 1997, they played each other only in Cactus League spring training. Their interleague play wins and losses (63–57 in favor of the A's) have been fairly evenly divided despite differences in league, style of play, stadium, payroll, fan base stereotypes, media coverage and World Series records, all of which have heightened the rivalry in recent years. The intensity of the rivalry and how it is understood varies among Bay Area fans. A's fans generally view the Giants as a hated rival, while Giants fans generally view the A's as a friendly rival much lower on the scale. This is most likely due to the A's lack of a historical rival, while the Giants have their heated rivalry with the Dodgers. Some Bay Area fans are fans of both teams. The "split hats" that feature the logos of both teams best embodies the shared fan base. Other Bay Area fans view the competition between the two teams as a "friendly rivalry", with little actual hatred compared to similar ones such as the Subway Series (New York Mets vs. New York Yankees), the Red Line Series (Chicago Cubs vs. Chicago White Sox) and the Freeway Series (Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim).
The Giants and A's enjoyed a limited rivalry at the start of the 20th century before the Yankees began to dominate after the acquisition of Babe Ruth in 1920, when the Giants were in New York and the A's were in Philadelphia. The teams were managed by legendary leaders John McGraw and Connie Mack, who were considered not only friendly rivals but the premier managers during that era, especially in view of their longevity (Mack for 50 years, McGraw for 30) since both were majority owners. Each team played in five of the first 15 World Series (tying them with the Red Sox and Cubs for most World Series appearances during that time period). As the New York Giants and the Philadelphia A's, they met in three World Series, with the Giants winning in 1905 and the A's in 1911 & 1913. After becoming the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A's, they met in a fourth Series in 1989 resulting in the A's last world championship (as of 2018).
Though in different leagues, the Giants have also been historical rivals of the Yankees, starting in New York before the Giants moved to the West Coast. Before the institution of interleague play in 1997, the two teams had little opportunity to play each other except in seven World Series: 1921, 1922, 1923, 1936, 1937, 1951 and 1962, the Yankees winning last five of the seven Series. The teams have met five times in regular season interleague play: In 2002 at the old Yankee Stadium, in 2007 at Oracle Park (then known as AT&T Park), in 2013 and 2016 at the current Yankee Stadium, and in 2019 at Oracle Park. The teams' next regular season meetings will occur in 2022.
In a September 2013 meeting, Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez hit a grand slam, breaking Lou Gehrig's grand slam record.
In his July 4, 1939 farewell speech ending with the renowned "Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth", Yankee slugger Lou Gehrig, who played in 2,130 consecutive games, declared that the Giants were a team he "would give his right arm to beat, and vice versa."
Baseball Hall of Famers
As of 2012, the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame has inducted 66 representatives of the Giants (55 players and 11 managers) into the Hall of Fame, more than any other team in the history of baseball.
The following inducted members of the Hall of Fame played or managed for the Giants, but either played for the Giants and were inducted as a manager having never managed the Giants, or managed the Giants and were inducted as a player having never played for the Giants:
- Cap Anson – inducted as player, managed Giants in 1898.
- Hughie Jennings – inducted as player, managed Giants from 1924 to 1925.
- Bill McKechnie – inducted as manager, played for Giants in 1916.
- Frank Robinson – inducted as player, managed Giants from 1981 to 1984.
- Casey Stengel – inducted as manager, played for Giants from 1921 to 1923.
Broadcasters Russ Hodges, Lon Simmons, and Jon Miller are permanently honored in the Hall's "Scribes & Mikemen" exhibit as a result of winning the Ford C. Frick Award in 1980, 2004, and 2010 respectively. As with all Frick Award winners, none are officially recognized as an inducted member of the Hall of Fame.
San Francisco Giants Wall of Famers
The Giants Wall of Fame recognizes retired players whose records stand highest among their teammates on the basis of longevity and achievements.
Those honored have played a minimum of nine seasons for the San Francisco Giants, or five seasons with at least one All-Star selection as a Giant.
The Giants have retired 11 numbers in the history of the franchise, most recently Barry Bonds' number 25 in 2018.
Retired throughout the major leagues; Robinson actually was traded to the Giants, but retired before playing a game for them.
Of the Giants whose numbers have been retired, all but Bonds have been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. In 1944, Carl Hubbell (#11) became the first National Leaguer to have his number retired by his team. Bill Terry (#3), Mel Ott (#4), and Hubbell played and/or managed their entire careers for the New York Giants. Willie Mays (#24) began his career in New York, moving with the Giants to San Francisco in 1958; he did not play in most of 1952 and all of 1953 due to his service in the Korean War.
It was announced on August 11, 2019 that the Giants would retire Will Clark's #22 during the 2020 season.
John McGraw (3B, 1902–06; manager, 1902–32) and Christy Mathewson (P, 1900–16), who were members of the New York Giants before the introduction of uniform numbers, have the letters "NY" displayed in place of a number.
Broadcasters Lon Simmons (1958–73, 1976–78, 1996–2002 & 2006), Russ Hodges (1949–70), and Jon Miller (1997–current) are each represented by an old-style radio microphone displayed in place of a number.
The Giants present the Willie Mac Award annually to the player that best exemplifies the spirit and leadership shown by Willie McCovey throughout his career.
The Giants have had a number of captains over the years:
- Jack Doyle 1902
- Dan McGann 1903–1907
- Larry Doyle 1908–1916
- Gus Mancuso 1937–1938
- Mel Ott 1939–1947
- Alvin Dark 1950–1956
- Willie Mays 1961–1972
- Willie McCovey 1977–1980
- Darrell Evans 1980–1983
- Jack Clark 1984
All-time regular season record: 11,088–9,602 (.536) (through 2018 season)
Minor league affiliations
Radio and television
Giants' television telecasts are split between NBC-owned KNTV (broadcast) and NBC Sports Bay Area (cable). KNTV's broadcast contract with the Giants began in 2008, one year after the team and KTVU mutually ended a relationship that dated to 1961. Jon Miller regularly calls the action on KNTV, while the announcing team for NBCSBA telecasts is Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper, affectionately known as "Kruk and Kuip" (pronounced "Kruke" and "Kype"). During the 2016 season, the Giants had an average 4.71 rating and 117,000 viewers on primetime TV broadcasts.
The Giants' flagship radio station is KNBR (680 AM). KNBR's owner, Cumulus Media, is a limited partner in San Francisco Baseball Associates LP, the owner of the team. Jon Miller and Dave Flemming are the regular play-by-play announcers. In addition to KNBR, the Giants can be heard throughout Northern California and parts of Nevada, Oregon, and Hawaii on the Giants Radio Network. When games are televised on KNTV, Kuiper replaces Miller on the radio, and Miller goes to television. Erwin Higueros and Tito Fuentes handle Spanish-language radio broadcasts on KXZM (93.7 FM).
On May 28, 2006, Flemming called the 715th career home run of Barry Bonds, which moved Bonds into second on the all-time home run list. Unfortunately, the power from Flemming's microphone to the transmitter cut off while the ball was in flight, so the radio audience heard only crowd noise. Greg Papa took over the broadcast and apologized to listeners. Kuiper's TV call was submitted to the Baseball Hall of Fame as an artifact, instead of the usual radio call.
Fight song and other music
First used for Giants radio broadcasts on KSFO, the team's fight song "Bye, Bye Baby!" is currently used following any Giants home run. The song is played in the stadium, and an instrumental version is played on telecasts when the inning in which the home run was hit concludes. The title and chorus "Bye bye baby!" coming from famed former Giants broadcaster Russ Hodges, which was his home run call.
Following a Giants home win, Tony Bennett's I Left My Heart in San Francisco is played in Oracle Park in celebration.