John Supowitz | May 12th, 2020
The San Fransisco Giants have a long and prestigious history that dates back to 1883 when they were known as the New York Gothams. This makes them the first professional baseball team in New York. Two years later, they became the New York Giants and began playing in the historic Polo Grounds. It was known for the shape that was unique for baseball games. Left field was 279 ft, right was 258 ft, and center was 483 ft, the reason was that the stadium was also the home for the New York Titans, now known as the Jets, and the New York Football Giants.
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The Giants won 14 National League pennants and five World Series championships while in New York. The team was relocated to San Francisco for the 1958 season. Since the move to the west coast, they have appeared in six more World Series, winning three of them; their eight championships are second in the National League behind the St. Louis Cardinals with eleven.
The franchise has a total of 25 players that went into the Hall Of Fame with a Giants’ cap, and in the coming years could add more. So it was very difficult to come up with this list of the four best players to wear a Giants uniform, but here it is:
Buster Posey (2009 – )
Poseys has had a great career in his 11 seasons with the Giants; he won the 2010 National League Rookie Of The Year, appeared in six all-star games, winner of four silver sluggers, and a National League MVP.
While his numbers and accolades will make him one of the greats in Giants’ history, what makes Posey more important is his leadership and the impact he has made on this team.
The Giants were arguably the best team of the 2010s, winning championships in 2012, 2014, and 2016. Posey was the commander of those teams.
Those championship teams were known for their dominant pitching with players including Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, and Sergio Romo. Posey as a catcher played a pivotal role and in controlling those games.
He has put up great numbers in a career that’s not over, but it’s the impact he’s made is what puts him on this list
Barry Bonds (1993-2007)
Bonds with Giants was one of the most dominating hitters of his time, probably the most dominating of any time. In his 22 season career, he lead the league in base on balls 12 times. Between 2001-2004 he got on base in 55.9% of his at-bats. During his 15 seasons with San Fran, he made 12 all-star appearances, lead the league in on-base percentage eights, and won five National League MVP Awards. He also hit an MLB record 73 home run in 2001 and broke the all-time home run record, his 762 is the most in MLB history.
Bonds was the face of the franchise the Giants moved from Candlestick Park to the opening of what was then called Pacific Bell Park. The unique design of the park, which includes a 24-foot wall (in honor of Willie Mays‘ number) in right field that lines with the Bay. Bonds would regularly hit the ball over that structure into was known as McCovey’s cove to a gathering of fans in boats waiting for the ball.
Bonds is the all-time Giants leaders in base on balls, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and adjusted OPS while being fourth in games played and plate appearances.
Mel Ott (1926-1948)
Mel Ott has a long and storied career with the Giants, playing 22 years with the team, including six as the player/manager. At 5’9″, he was told that he wouldn’t play professionally because of his size, including his hometown New Orleans Pelicans that did not put him on their team.
During his two-decade career, he was a 12-time all-star and led the National League in home runs six times. Ott’s imprint on Giants’ history can be seen through his production. He has the most RBI in Giants’ history, and ranks second in hits, runs scored, at-bats, total bases, doubles, and walks. He was elected to the Hall Of Fame in 1951.
Willie Mays (1951-1972)
While Mel Ott stands at number two in many categories of Giants’ history, he’s always looking up at Mays. Like Babe Ruth is to the Yankees, Ted Williams is to the Red Sox, Mays is synonymous with New York/San Fransisco Giants. Mays has played the most games of anyone in Giants’ history, same with at-bats. He also leads the team all-time in Offensive WAR, runs scored, hits, doubles, and home runs.
The Say Hey Kid is not just one of the best in Giants history, but one of best to ever play the game. Mays is second all-time behind Hank Aaron in all-star appearances with 24. He was also the 1951 National League Rookie of The Year, two-time National League MVP, a 12-time gold glove winner and he sits fifth all-time in home runs. All of this while missing most of the 1952 and all of the 1953 season due to fighting for the United States Army in the Korean War.
With all of that, he remains in baseball folklore with his infamous catch during game 1 of the 1954 World Series.
This catch is praised and copied by many players over 60 years later. His was elected to the Hall Of Fame in 1979 on his first ballot
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images