San Francisco Giants History – The Winningest Team in Baseball

The San Francisco Giants legendary history began in the 19th century on the East Coast. They were originally called the New York Gothams, then the New York Giants, before moving west in 1958 to become one of the most successful baseball teams in America.

The Giants (both New York and San Francisco) have won the most games in the history of American major league baseball. If you're going to San Francisco, we though it might be fun to learn their history before attending a game at AT&T Park.

Essential San Francisco Giants History Facts

San Francisco Giants History Facts

  • They were the first major New York City league team, playing at the legendary Polo Grounds.
  • Collectively, they have won twenty-three National League pennants and twenty World Series competitions. Both of those figure are baseball records.
  • The Giants have played in the World Series twenty times — fourteen times in New York, six in San Francisco. They boycotted the Series in 1904 due to a famous rivalry between Giants manager John McGraw and American League president Ban Johnson.
  • As the Ne York Giants they won fourteen pennants and five World Series championships with managers John McGraw, Bill Terry and players Carl Hubbell, Bobby Thomson, and Willie Mays.
  • The Giants have the most Hall of Fame players in all of professional baseball.
  • The Giants legendary rivalry with the Dodgers is one of the longest-standing and biggest rivalries in American sports.
  • Their rivalry started when they were the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers, before both teams moved west.
  • The Giants have won six pennants and three World Series championships since their arrival in San Francisco — 2010, 2012, and 2014.

San Francisco Giants History – The Beginning

  • The Giants were the second baseball club founded by millionaire John B. Day.
  • They were called the York New Gothams and their first season in the National League was in 1883. Their other club, the New York Metropolitans, played in the American Association.
  • Legend has it that after a major victory over the Philadelphia Phillies, the team's manager exclaimed to his players, "My big fellows! My giants!" Since then, the club was known as the Giants.
  • The Giants were unstoppable in the late 1880s. They won their first two National League Pennants and World Championships, (1888 and 1889). But nearly all of the stars jumped to the Players League in 1890.
  • The new team built a stadium next door to the Polo Grounds. With a decimated team, the Giants finished in sixth place. Attendance fell, and the strain affected founder John B Day.
  • Day sold a minority interest in the team and as a condition of the sale, he fired his star manager. The Giants placed third in 1891. Day's baseball days were over. He sold controlling interest at the end of the season.

The 1950s and the Move to California

AT&T Park

  • The Giants last three years in New York were unmemorable. They reached third place the year after winning the World Series in 1954.
  • They also were in search of a new stadium and a new city. They initially considered Bloomington, Minnesota.
  • During that time, the mayor of San Francisco, George Christopher had an idea of bringing the team to his city. Despite objections, the Giants management entered into negotiations with San Francisco around the same time as the Dodgers considered their move to Los Angeles.
  • In 1957, the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers announced their bold plans to take the teams from New York to California.

AT&T Park

  • After a forty year run at Candlestick Park (1960 – 2000), the team moved to a downtown stadium, AT&T Park.
  • Today, the Giants regularly sell out the 43,000-seat stadium.
  • The stadium's modern design minimizes the wind-chill factor and is easily reachable by public transit. Along with the functionality, it has stunning views of the bay and the San Francisco skyline.

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