On August 19, 1957, Horace Stoneham, president of the New York Giants, announced that his board of directors had voted in favor of the Giants moving the team to San Francisco. A few weeks later the Brooklyn Dodgers also announced that they would be following the Giants to the west coast and would set up shop in Los Angeles. The announcement marked the end of the Giants run in New York, which lasted for 74 years.
Stoneham cited “lack of attendance” as the primary reason for the move. The Giants lost money in all but two of their last eight years in New York.
1883 was the first year that New York City had a National League team. They were known as the New York Gothams. In 1885 they became the Giants. They won their first pennant in 1888. In 1954, after won their 16th and last pennant in New York. They also won their fifth World Series that year.
Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds both reached tainted milestones on August 4, 2007. Rodriguez hit his 500th home run and Barry Bonds got his 755th (tying Hank Aaron).
Bonds 755th – boos, cheers, and more boos
Jeff Blair, writing for the Globe and Mail called it “Barry Bonds’s desultory slog to slugger immortality.” He wrote:
Covering Bonds in San Francisco is one thing; it’s like covering a dictator’s political rally. Think Leni Riefenstahl meets This Week In Baseball.
This week, in the Giants’ three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, it was less about the fans (who gave it good to Bonds) than about how the game’s power brokers seemed almost embarrassed to get too close to Bonds. Commissioner Bud Selig was in Los Angeles and left. He essentially says his interest will be “day-to-day” after this weekend’s series in San Diego. Frank Robinson represented the commissioner’s office on Thursday, but nobody saw him. Players union chief Donald Fehr showed up on Wednesday and flew under the radar. He was in Los Angeles, he said, on other business.
For A-Rod on the other hand, it was mostly high praise and accolades. At age 32, he was the youngest player to reach the 500 home run plateau. He was viewed as a serious, legitimate contender who could eventually out-bomb Babe Ruth, Hank Aaraon, and even the disgraced Barry Bonds.
The only nay-sayer was Jose Canseco. A week before at a radio interview in Boston, Canseco said, “he has other stuff” on the Yankees slugger, who he called a hypocrite who “was not all he appeared to be.” Canseco who by that time had already admitted to his own juicing, was slammed by most of the baseball world and was accused of slinging mud at “poor little A-Rod”.
Four months later, The Mitchell Report was released (December 13, 2007). It implicated 89 Major Leaguers as having some involvement with the use of performance enhancing drugs including Bonds, Canseco and Roger Clemens. Rodriguez was not named in the Mitchell Report, but now Canseco’s allegations about him began to seem more legitimate.
December 16, 2007 – In an interview with Katie Couric, A-Rod lies about using Steriods
Willie McCovey hit his first Major League home run on August 2, 1959.
Unlike like his teammate and San Francisco Giants slugging partner, Willie Mays, who was hitless in his first 12 major league at-bats; the other Willie (some other!), Willie McCovey, let the baseball world know from the gitgo that “The New Willie” was anything but, just another Willie.
McCovey made his Major League debut on July 30, facing Phillies Hall of Fame pitcher, Robin Roberts. The 21-year-old McCovey was so intimidated by Roberts that he went four for four, hitting two singles and two triples. On day-one he racked up eight total bases. He would go on to collect another 4,211 total bases to go along with his 521 home runs and 1.550 RBIs, before ending his career in 1980; a career that spanned four decades.
On his second day in the Majors the Giants played the Pirates, and McCovey gave pitcher Harvey Haddix a break, only managing a single in four at bats. On August 1, Giants manager Bill Rigney batted his new phenom third, between Willie Mays and Orlando Cepeda. McCovey did not disappoint. He hit a first inning double off of Red Witt and scored on Cepeda’s single. It was déjà vous for Witt in the third inning, another McCovey double and another Cepeda single knocking him in. Then the Giants brought in Bennie Daniels who was able to strike out McCovey in the fourth. Daniels pitched three scoreless innings, but in the seventh McCovey touched him up for a single. Then Cepeda also singled, moving McCovey to second. At that point Pirates manager Danny Murtaugh decided to bring in Roy Face to pitch to Willie Kirkland (Yes, another Willie. The Giants had three). Kirkland singled and McCovey scored. Before the inning ended the Giants had four more runs.
McCovey didn’t homer unitl his fourth game, but in the three games leading up to it he was 8-13 (.615) and had 14 total bases, giving him a slugging average of 1.077. In the game when McCovey hit his first homer, it was his only hit in five at bats.
He played in a total of 52 games during the 1959 and wound up with an average of .354. He also hit 13 home runs, had 38 RBIs and was named National League Rookie of the Year.
McCovey never hit for average like that again, although he was National League MVP in 1969 when he hit .320, belted 45 home runs and knocked in 126 RBIs. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1986, his first year of eligibility.
In the 1934 All-Star Game, Carl Hubbell struck out five hall-fame-destined batters in a row. Pitching for the National League, in his own ball park, The Polo Grounds, The New York Giants ace got off to a shaky start by giving up a lead off single to Charlie Gehringer and a walk to Heinie Manush.
So now with runners at first and second Hubbell got to face Babe Ruth who was working his way toward 714 career home runs; followed by Lou Gehrig who was on his way toward 49 homers in 1934, and 493 career home runs. Then batting fifth for the American League, Hubbell would have an “oppourtunity” to try his luck with Jimmy Foxx who was going rack up 44 bombs in 1934 along the way to 534 career homers.
Apparantly Hubbell hadn’t read their resumes. He struck out the three of them (with a combined 1,739 career home runs) in succession. But Hubbell wasn’t finished. In the second inning, future Hall of Famer Al Simmons lead off for the National League, and Hubbell struck him out. Future Hall of Famer Joe Cronin was up next, and Hubbell struck him out as well. Finally, Bill Dickey (yes, another Hall of Famer) singled.Hubbell notched one more strikeout in the second inning. This time the victim was pitcher Lefty Gomez, who was also a future Hall of Famer, but not for his hitting prowess.
Completely overshadowed by Hubbell’s incredible pitching heroics, was the American League’s come from behind effort that featured a six run rally in the fifth inning (Hubbell pitched another inning of shutout ball in the third inning, and then watched Lon Warneke and Van Mungo blow the game in relief.)
Bobby Thomson played 15 seasons of Major League baseball.
Between 1946 and 1960 he made 6,305 plate appearances. However, one of those plate appearances, the one he made at the Polo Grounds on October 3, 1951, is more famous than the other 6,304, combined.
Maybe Thomson’s friends and family know and/or care about his other 1,704 hits and 263 home runs, but for the rest of us, Bobby Thomson’s entire legacy is built upon a single swing of the bat; a line drive to left field field; a walk off, season ending, pennant winning, three run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning.
The Echoing Green, Josh Prager