A brief history of the Dodgers and Giants rivalry


It’s a rivalry that defies description.

The animosity between the Dodgers and Giants cannot technically be described as having started as an intra-city feud. When they first clashed in 1889, the Giants were from Manhattan, while the Dodgers (known at the time as Bridegrooms) were based in Brooklyn, which would not be part of New York City. before nine years.

A series of metro? No, this 1889 championship between clubs was 15 years before the existence of the New York subway. To put things in perspective (ridiculous), they had already played each other 757 times when sliced ​​bread was invented in 1928.

But however you choose to characterize their relationship, the long-standing feud, which has spanned more than 2,500 regular-season games, is at its height. Their best-of-five series, in which one of the two most victorious teams in baseball this season will be eliminated, is in its final game with Game 5 winning Thursday night. The advancing club will advance to the National League Championship Series against Atlanta.

To determine if this is the height of the rivalry, you must first consider some of the greatest moments of their relationship over the past 133 seasons (with many other tense moments left on the editing room floor. ).

The first nine games between the clubs were in 1889. Brooklyn, who had been crowned American Association champion, agreed to face the Giants, National League champions, in what some have called the World Series.

Official statistics between the clubs didn’t start until the following season, when Brooklyn joined the NL, but the championship was taken pretty seriously. Games coverage in the New York Times pointed out that Arthur Dixwell, considered by many to be the biggest baseball fan of the day, came from Boston to celebrate the Giants’ six-to-three victory over the Bridegrooms.

“As soon as the New Yorkers won yesterday, he went to the clubhouse and presented each of the players with cute bobby pins,” The Times reported of Dixwell. “In making the presentation, he said he admired the skill, the play and the honesty, and he was sure the New York players had all of those elements. He spoke of the drawbacks the New Yorkers have faced this season, and said that for various reasons the Giants are owed more credit than if they had won under ordinary circumstances.

In January 1934, Bill Terry, the Giants’ player-manager, was asked about his thoughts on the coming season. Among his words was a joke that would come back to haunt him: “What happened to the Dodgers?” He asked. “Are they still in the league? The Terry Giants were formidable in the first half, but a second-half meltdown led to a tie with the St. Louis Cardinals heading into the final two days of the season, and the Giants had to face the Dodgers. twice. Brooklyn fans, looking to play spoilers in an otherwise disappointing season, filled the stands at the Polo Grounds and watched their Dodgers win both games, handing the pennant to St. Louis.

Much has been said about Terry’s comments, but Ed Hughes, a columnist for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, defended the quote because he believed it spiced up a sport that was getting bland.

“Personally, I think it’s a sad thing for baseball that there aren’t more witticisms and repartees like that,†Hughes wrote. “In recent years, the game has become totally too tidy, thoughts and actions too mundane and empirical. There is a preponderance of gold, silver, and paper, and not enough red blood and romance. The result is monotony for the fan and weakened business for the promoter. “

The Dodgers went high, leading the National League by 13 and a half games on August 11. But the wheels started to come off for Brooklyn, and the young Giants continued to improve. The teams ended up tied for first, which required a three-game tiebreaker. They went their separate ways the first two games, and in the third, Bobby Thomson, who has hit 32 home runs this season, crushed one of the most famous in history: the Shot Heard Round the World.

The situation became more complicated decades later when it was revealed that the Giants had used a complicated signaling system to steal signs from other teams, but that day in 1951, Russ Hodges, who was in the Giants radio, blurted out one of the most famous calls in sports broadcasting history.

“There’s a long drive… it’s going to be, I think… The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! Bobby Thomson strikes in the lower deck of the left field stands! The Giants win the pennant and they go crazy! They’re going crazy! I do not believe it ! I do not believe it ! I do not believe it!”

With the Dodgers frustrated with their lack of ability to build a new stadium in Brooklyn and the struggling Giants financially, teams began to explore other opportunities. The owners of the league voted in May 1957 to allow them to move to California, provided they do so together. The Giants make their home at Seals Stadium, previously home of the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League. The Dodgers went much further, moving to the oddly configured (and cavernous) Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which set a regular-season attendance record of 78,672 in the first game there – which the Dodgers played. against the visiting Giants.

After this first game at the LA Memorial in 1958, the reports in the Times were positive:

“Major League Baseball’s unprecedented experience in a large stadium designed for athletics and football seemed like an unwavering success. “

Barely 11 seasons after the Shot Heard Round the World Tour, the West Coast-firmly established Dodgers and Giants once again had to play a three-game tiebreaker to determine a pennant. Once again, the tie in the standings came after the Dodgers passed out on the home stretch. And once again, the Giants triumphed, taking the advantage in the ninth inning to win Game 3 and capture the pennant. The list of parallels wouldn’t have been complete without a subsequent World Series loss to the Yankees, and the Giants delivered it as well. But not before they have humiliated their fiercest rivals.

Arthur Daley’s Sports of The Times Column did not hold back.

“The ignominious Dodgers collapse reached resounding strength today, leaving shattered hopes behind. They had the pennant as they won weeks ago and let the Giants tie them up. They had the last game of the playoffs and won in the last set. They lost it, 6 to 4. “

On August 22, 1965, the Dodgers led the National League with the Giants a game and a half behind them. As emotions ran high, Juan Marichal and Sandy Koufax took turns throwing star players from both teams, and when Marichal hit home plate as a batter in the third inning he expected Koufax to pull him back. . Instead, it was Dodgers wide receiver John Roseboro who returned the ball to Koufax in such a way that it either nicked Marichal’s ear or nearly did. Marichal responded, as a person holding a large piece of wood might do, hitting Roseboro over the head with several times.

Marichal got a heavy suspension and a fine, while the Dodgers won the pennant. Marichal finally explained his side of the story a few days after the incident:

“First of all, I want to apologize for using the bat. I’m sorry I did this, but I was scared of him.

In 1982, the Dodgers and Giants were in a fierce battle with Atlanta for the NL West crown, with the three teams separated by a game. A three-game streak at Candlestick Park in San Francisco proved disastrous for both teams. The Dodgers won the first two games, knocking the Giants out of contention, but the Giants then returned the favor, with help from Joe Morgan’s three-run homer in the eighth inning, beating the Dodgers on the final day of the season and handing the division crown to Atlanta.

Morgan’s role as a spoiler was not lost on him, but the former Reds superstar had a bit more perspective than is typical in this rivalry.

“I know people are going to say how the Giants live to beat the Dodgers,†he said. ” It’s not my case. I’m not jumping up and down because we knocked the Dodgers out of the race. I have learned a little bit of humility in my life.

In 1993, the last year of division singles racing before the introduction of the wild card, the Giants put on a show. The season had been a never-ending battle with Atlanta for the NL West crown (side note: Atlanta was in the NL Where is), and Atlanta had made it much stronger on the home stretch by adding slugger Fred McGriff in a midseason trade. Still, the Giants were a force to be reckoned with thanks to hitters Barry Bonds, Matt Williams and Will Clark.

Atlanta led the division by four games on September 17, but by the end of games on October 2, the penultimate day of the season, the teams were tied for the lead. Atlanta went about its business on October 3, beating the Colorado Rockies 5-3. The Giants, meanwhile, were completely demolished by the Dodgers, who apparently loved playing spoilers against their rivals in a nasty 12-1 game.

Peter Magowan, then part-owner of the Giants, had the line of the day when asked about the upcoming loss on the 42nd anniversary of Bobby Thomson’s home run.

“Oct. 3 is still a historic day in Giant history,†he said. “It’s just that some days in history are bad days.â€


About Rodney Fletcher

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